Every So Often You are Surprised, Not Bad HP… or Exporting US Tech Jobs to India? Fine by Me.

After having some technical difficulties with my HP873N Media Center PC, I phoned HP Technical Support for assistance. A couple of nice improvements. First I was able to speak my product model number into the voice response unit as well as my home phone number and my call was routed to an actual tech support agent and not to a sales department to sell me an upgrade that I’ve already previously purchased from HP. In the past I always had to go through this annoying step and it was nice to find this evening that this appears to be fixed.

The voice response unit seemed to be able to track my telephone number (I assume) to the fact that I already had purchased an extended warranty from HP and put me straight through. A nice improvement.

My first technical support chap was not very helpful. His first suggestion was that I call back tomorrow. He didn’t offer an explanation on why. It was a confusing call and I could tell that as my issue was complicated that he had no patience or interest in it. His accent was American. I explained to him that I would not be home tomorrow and rather than try to help me this evening he asked me what I was doing tomorrow that was so important that I couldn’t be at home to call back then. Pretty unprofessional. He said that to fix my problem it was going to take at least 2 hours. After telling him that was fine that we could stay up and work on it together this evening he hung up on me. Maybe he was only on the clock for another 15 minutes. Who knows. So I was pretty pissed about being hung up on when I called back.

Being hung up on by a technical support rep (and it happens frequently) is one of my most hated actions. It wasn’t so bad tonight because I did not have to wait on hold to get to speak to someone, but when you have to wait on hold for 40 minutes or so before getting someone to hang up on you that can be infuriating. Personally I think that there should be more random sampling and monitoring of these types of calls or at least an immediate record by the person answering the phone that ties the call to them. Without this there is no accountability for your bad reps who do things like this and tarnish the brand and image of the company in the mind of the consumer and end user.

So anyway. I was pissed when I called HP back a second time. This time the call was taken by what sounded to be an international call by a guy with a slight, I suspected Indian, accent. The guy was amazingly polite. Although his accent was faint, he started the call of welcoming me to the call and suggesting that if I needed him to slow down or repeat anything to not hesitate to ask. The individual walked me through creating a boot disk to clean my drive on my media center PC and I’m attempting a system recovery as we speak. It turns out the guy was from New Delhi, India. VOIP must indeed be getting very cheap these days. In any event this guy on my second call was about the most helpful, kind, nice and polite tech support person I’ve ever spoken with. He went out of his way and above and beyond, even offering to sit on the phone with me for the 2 hours or so that a recovery could take.

I told him that this was not necessary and I’d call back if I had problems.

In any event I find that so often in the tech world I get really lousy tech support service, but every so often you are reminded that so much of what makes good tech support comes down to individual people plain and simple.

The calls this evening also have me reflecting on all of the bitching that I’ve heard over the past few years about American tech jobs being exported to India. HP has obviously seen the value here. My anecdotal response to all this bitching is that if the two calls (I’m not sure the first was to the US, but I’m assuming) that I experienced this evening are in any way representative of the difference in quality between US tech support and Indian tech support then export away baby. Keep sending those jobs offshore.

It really was a pleasant experience with that second call this evening and turned some pretty negative interaction with HP into a curiously positive experience. Feel free to route all of my calls to New Delhi in the future.