Dear Tech Support,
My Gizmo used to run fine on Red or Blue but I usually ran it on Red. This morning my computer booted up normally, but my Gizmo wouldn't run. I tried setting it to Blue, but it still wouldn't run. I did a complete format of my hard drive and fresh install of Windows, then added only my Gizmo, nothing else, and installed your latest drivers (version 00.1064.222.77.345.1998-Rev a). It still wouldn't work. I think my Gizmo is gonzo. Can you help?
This is an automated response to your request for tech support. We have a backlog of mail because we only hire idiots that we can pay minimum wage. You'll hear from one of these tech support experts within 2 weeks.
The Gizmo Company
"Customer support is our priority"
Dear Valued Customer,
Please to try Gizmo on Blue. If Gizmo no is working still you should be installing freshly Windows and freshly current drivers. This fix all problem on Gizmo everywhere.
Tech Support Supervisor
"Customer support is our priority"
These are the companies many of us have bought products from at one time or another. We use their products every day. Once we've increased their profits and believed their sales pitch, how are we rewarded? Let's see how they stack up when we need help from them?
The ratings are from 0 to10. The fact that a company will do what's expected will earn it a rating of 5. I think that a company should have drivers available for download on it's website. Also, a company that honors a warranty on a defective product by having you return it with a sales receipt is NOT doing anything special, but points may be added or subtracted depending on the turn-around time. Finally, I expect a company to answer email within 24 hours with a real answer, not an automated reply telling you to wait for a real reply in 7 days. If you phone for support, a minimal wait and number of menus is expected. Points may be added or subtracted for other reasons as well. Attitude and product knowledge do count.
It'll be nearly impossible for a company to earn a rating of 0. Conversely, to earn a 10 a company would have to stock all parts and offer cross-shipping as well as a host of other things. (Cross-shipping is when a company offers to send you an item before they receive your return. They'll often take your credit card number, then discard it when they receive the return. This is handy if you have a product that works somewhat, but isn't fully functional. It allows you to use the product until the replacement arrives.)
These scores are mostly based on my own experience. On this alone I am lenient. Information passed on to me by others may add or subtract from my initial score. I am always polite to tech and customer support, and fully describe the problem and what I did to attempt to solve it.
A score of is average and what you should expect.
Best Known For
|Game input devices||9.5||10? No way. There was one time when they didn't answer an email within the hour. Hey, if you're looking for a reason for not giving a 10, you'll dig up anything. [more]|
|Creative Labs||Video and Multimedia||9||How about customer support that answers the phone on the first ring, and it's not an automated menu. [more]|
|SMC||Network cards and hubs||8||You don't have your receipt? Who cares. Our products have a lifetime warranty, just send it back for a replacement.|
|Guillemot||Game/video/sound devices||8||A year ago, after the Christmas rush, I would have given them a 5, but these people have a new dedication to customer service. [more]|
|CH Products||Gaming devices||7||I asked for a potentiometer and they sent me 2, no charge. My buddy asked for one and they sent him a new set of pedals. Quick response.|
|Quantum||Hard disk drives||5||Honored warranty on an item that was just past it's warranty period. Sent a new unit.|
|MadCatz||Gaming devices||5||Quick response. Honored warranty with replacement item.|
|Abit||Motherboards/video||5||They do what they're supposed to do and have drivers on their site. But if you help them out and save the company thousands of dollars, don't expect them to say thanks.|
|Diamond Multimedia||video/sound cards||4||Yes, I know they're gone now and part of S3, but I had to rate them anyway. They actually answered one of my emails 6 months after I sent it.|
|Microsoft||Everything||3||If you can figure out how to use their "Knowledge Base", you probably don't need it. The most complicated customer support I've ever seen. [more]|
|AOL||America On Line||1||Apparently they need my money more than I do. But do they need to lie? [more]|
|Logitech||Keyboard/mice/joysticks||0||I know, I know. The fact is, I like their products. But these guys hit rock bottom in every category. No points were added, but I got to zero before I was even finished subtracting everything. I didn't think this score was possible, but at least I didn't let it run into negative numbers. [more]|
|Sega||Games/software||0||I almost forgot about this one. I had to give them a zero, too. I never got my $20 rebate, and several emails about it were never answered.|
|Hawker Technology||Network cards and hubs||???||I'll let you know on this one. My hub went bad. I had a hard time finding a web site for them.|
Starting with 5 points for normal customer service, no points were deducted. However, points were added for:
Giving the customer the opportunity to open the wheel to check out and/or fix simple problems so the wheel doesn't always have to be sent back for service.
Stocking all or most parts for their products.
Sending parts out quickly.
Sending parts for no charge even when the unit is out of warranty.
Having a forum where they actively participate.
Having knowledgeable tech support.
Listening to customer ideas and pursuing them.
Offering lost cost upgrades to products so your equipment is never outdated.
Being involved with the gaming community and having a sense of humor.
Actually, I should take off a point. Raymond's picture still isn't posted with the rest of them. I have to assume they took a vote and decided that posting his picture would have an adverse effect on sales. Some of you bright little stars may have noticed that they have a total of 14 points, but I only gave them a 9.5. Well, you're right. The score only goes to 10, and if I give a 10, there's no room for improvement ; ) I sincerely hope that, as the company grows, it can keep up this kind of personal touch.
How about customer service that answers the phone on the first ring, and it's a real person. I needed an adaptor cable for my speakers and sound card. My older speakers came with the older style cable. They took down my information and asked for a serial number of the latest CL product. I didn't have it with me at work, so they processed the order with a 'hold' on it until I called them back with a number (so they wouldn't have to charge me). I called back later and the phone was again answered in one ring. Gave them the serial number and a week later I had the part. So they got extra points for stocking parts, speedy phone and email, quick delivery, product knowledge, extra customer assistance, and an overall good experience. I've had other dealings with their tech and customer service, and all have been positive.
Here's another little bit of information. Creative's product packaging has to be about the best in the business. I'm not just talking about good manuals and easy driver upgrades, but the actual packaging of the products. I've generally found that everything you need is there, and then some. On my FPS2000 speakers, they even included the screws in case you want to mount them to a wall. The speaker wires were stripped, tinned, and then the stripped casing was put back on to protect the ends. I've found similar amazing detail taken in other products I have from them. They include a SB Live Xgamer that just replaced my Diamond MX300 sound card, the FPS2000 speakers (truly excellent sound and great imaging, and I'm hard to please in this department), a CD-RW and a DVD player. My rule of thumb is, if I'm unsure which product to buy, and CL offers it, get it.
They stock some parts, but not all, offer upgrade products, and in some cases let you open your product to check out and/or fix simple problems. They also have a forum in which they participate often. If I had a category for 'Most Improved' customer service, they'd get the prize. They've gone from a 5 during the Christmas rush to an 8 now. I've had experience with both tech and customer support, and both have been very good.
The saving grace here is that you can get on some MS newsgroups and solve many problems with the help of individuals, many from the massive Microsoft team. Then again, I can't give credit to MS for this. Their customer support options are plentiful, if you can figure them out, and I have yet to get an accurate response from tech support. As far as product information, forget it. You can't ask a question without a serial number, and you don't get a serial number until you but the product. I tried to get information for days when I was considering a pair of their digital speakers, and finally gave up on the product. You can try calling them if you don't mind going through several menus and then waiting for what seems like hours. The one positive note was MSN. When I was trying several free offers on dial up (I now have cable modem), Microsoft Network was the only one that didn't try to stiff me for money at the end of the trial period and in fact, they were very polite. I also got my fastest dial up connections with them. Finally, though no points were awarded for this, I believe that as much as we complain about Microsoft, most of the computer advancements we've had in the last 15 years wouldn't have happened without them and their vision for standardization. Do you remember when you needed a special printer driver for each program?
I first had AOL years ago, when it was new and almost nobody was on the regular internet. When I stopped the service they continued to bill me. Finally after a year I got them to stop. My customer service rep checked and saw that indeed, I hadn't used the service for that length of time. But he could only give me a credit for 3 months, and a contact to someone else who could resolve the issues from beyond that date. Well, the other contact never replied to my calls, and I never got credit for the most current 3 months, either. More recently I tried their free offer. When I called to cancel, the customer service rep pleaded with me to try another free trial. When I called to cancel the second time, I was told that I need to give a 3 day notice, that it takes that long to get cancelled, and that would bring me beyond the trial period and I'd have to pay. She then said that since I would be charged anyway, I should wait until the next month is up and cancel then. She told me the 3 day notice was in my contract. I had the contract in front of me, and it specifically said 'no advance notice' is required before cancellation. That didn't change her mind, though, so I told her I wanted to cancel now, not next month. Five minutes later, I tried to log onto AOL again, but I was already cancelled. So, they got my $120 from the first experience, and my $20 for the free trial. She lied about the 3 day advance notice and lied about it taking 3 days for the cancellation to go through. If I was giving points for product quality, I would have deducted for connection speed and general incompatibility as well. Although this was my worst experience with ISPs, Prodogy, and even Earthlink, tried to charge me for the free trail. AOL got points for ease of contact and generally good product knowledge.
A little side note here. I couldn't get my credit card company to back me up on the $20 AOL charge, even though AOL was being sued for similar things at the time. The credit card company said AOL is a big company and wouldn't do that. So, I cancelled the credit card as well.
It's beyond me how any company with such generally fine products can allow itself to get a score like this in customer support. Defying the normal concepts I learned in marketing in college, a Logitech customer service rep summed up the truth pretty well when he said that unhappy customers don't seem to matter and that people will buy their products on name alone. Being the owner of several Logitech products myself, I seem to be validating this opinion. Starting with a base of 5, Logitech earned no points. They do take care of in-warranty problems by letting you send in your product, along with a sales receipt, for a replacement. And here's where the first point was deducted. There were 2 floppy disks for setup and drivers of a mouse. Although my disks were labeled A and B, I actually had 2 disk A's. Keeping with their policy, I was told to send in my disk B and they'd send me a replacement. Now, knowing that a floppy disk costs them about 5 cents and that, given an average hourly wage, it would probably cost them $15 to receive my disk, process to the right department, examine the request and send out a new disk, wouldn't it make more sense to have the guy on the phone just send me a disk? Hasn't his time already been taken up by my request anyway? Plus, I'm stuck with a product I can't use without the disk. Another point had to be taken off because they didn't have the software available for download. The updated drivers were there, but they had to be used with the core software on the disk. Well, we're down 3 points already - software not available for download, pushing the 'return item first' to the point of being ridiculous, and a very poor customer service attitude. I'll deduct another point for sub-par product knowledge. That only brings the score down to 1, so I'll go on a bit more. I had a defective pot in a LWFF wheel. It wasn't aligned right while centered. So I took the wheel apart and measured the potentiometer. I told them I had taken it apart and probably voided my warranty. I said this for 2 reasons. I'm willing to play by the rules and won't lie about it. I was quite willing to pay for the part. Also, I didn't want to go through the routine of trying out all kinds of things (that I'd already done) to fix the problem. Well, he said that I did indeed void my warranty by taking it apart. Logitech doesn't stock any parts, so they couldn't even sell me one. Deduct a point for not stocking parts, and now the score is zero. Now, to get below that I'll continue the story a little more. Here's the offer I got from Logitech. I could package up the wheel and send it back to them, along with $100, and they'd send me a new one. So, if I was willing to spend another $110 to $115 I could have another wheel. Wow, that's an expensive potentiometer. Wouldn't it make more sense for me to keep my wheel and just buy a new one for $110? Or, buy the non-FF version for $50 and take the pot out of that. Either way, I'd have my old wheel or a new one for spare parts. Since the score is now below 0, I won't go on, but be assured there is more.