Palm Canada Support…. Arrgh!!!!!

I must be living in the Twilight Zone of customer service or something as this stuff just keeps happening to me.

Today I had the “pleasure” of calling Palm Canada technical support as my wife’s Centro lost all the data while on a run (but she backs it up daily so it’s not a big deal) and would no longer connect to the Internet over GPRS nor would it Hotsync properly. I got the Hotsync issues sorted, but couldn’t get it to connect to the Internet. Thus the call to support, and the start of my “fun.” After navigating through their “press 1 for English, press 2 for whatever” menu, I got a woman who while looking up my info hung up on me.

Charming.

I called back and got a different woman who asked for the same info, then put me on hold for almost five minutes (4:20 to be exact… I timed it). She then said that she couldn’t find the serial number of the device and I would have to provide proof of purchase before she could talk to me via fax (she wouldn’t accept a PDF via e-mail). That wasn’t exactly a welcome answer, but I needed this fixed so I offered to whip out my credit card and pay for support (as I’d sort it out after the fact). She refused saying that I would have to fax in my proof of purchase and someone will call me back in a day or two.

So let’s get this straight. I am offering her money to assist me with an issue with one of their products which the recordings on the support line said that I had the option of doing, and she refused my money? WTF?

I admit that I got a bit frustrated (which by the way I tell customers not to do and I should really follow my own advice) at this point and told her that this is really lame and that I was tempted to replace the Centro (which I got my wife for Christmas) with a Blackberry (even though she despises them). The woman told me flat out that “that is your choice.” No apology, no trying to placate me, nothing.

Even Bell Canada is better than that.

One of the things that she did do is point me to a web based chat support system. So I gave that a try. The tech on the other end got right down to work and solved my issue in 10 minutes flat.

So from where I sit, two parts of the same organization have two completely different responses to customers. That is bizarre.

Now I’ve set up call centers and coached people in customer service. In fact I’ve done this for a significant portion of my life. If I were the person at the other end of the phone, here’s how I would have dealt with the situation:

  • Gather the information about the customer and the issue.
  • Confirm the information if possible. If you can’t do that, offer the customer options that allows the customer to solve the issue on the spot and not in a day or two (by offering me the online chat based support, she at least did that part right). Or simply solve the issue and deal with the back end stuff after the fact.
  • If the customer becomes difficult, show some empathy and try to go out of your way to assist them. In no way, shape or form should you have the customer leave the call without their issue being resolved.

Clearly that’s not how things work at Palm Canada. That’s not going to help them sell Pre or Pixie smartphones as customer service is not only what keeps customers coming back to you, but it helps you to sell products as well. So Palm Canada may want to look at their customer service processes and make whatever adjustments needed to have happy customers. Otherwise they will start losing customers. After all, they made life difficult enough for me that I am unlikely to buy one of their products in the future or recommend them to friends and customers.

See how it works Palm?

One Response to “Palm Canada Support…. Arrgh!!!!!”

  1. Shame that Palm hasn’t gotten their act together. We had nightmares dealing with them years ago when we got a bad batch of Treos for our directors. After 8 months(!!!) of them failing to fully resolve the problem (at one point, it was suggested that the directors actually *share* the working phones as a long-term solution!!) we moved to RIM.

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