Fri, 2006-09-15 16:01 — mja
I have a Palm LifeDrive that is, quite honestly, a useless brick. I've only had the thing a couple of months and it regularly resets (losing its entire memory). A couple of days ago, it failed to boot but repeatedly keeps trying until the battery dies - this will probably be familiar to the vast majority of Palm users. Anyhow, I tried to do a hard reset and all that happened was that the screen went dead.
After a couple of attempts to resolve the problem via Palm's e-mail support (which was a total waste of time - all they do is send you a stock form with boringly detailed instructions on how to do something that you've already told them does not work), I tried their telephone support line. They forced me to go through the same steps all over again. (Ever feel like you're banging your head against a brick wall?) They seem to be another outfit that uses off-shore support centers - so I spent half my time repeating my problem, ever more slowly, so that they could understand what I was saying, but they kept writing all my details down wrong. I'm still waiting for the e-mail telling me how to send my device in for repair. (BTW: I've got nothing against these people - they're just trying to do their job, and good luck to them - but even though they speak English, there are significant differences in pronunciation and use of idioms that the overall quality of support, IMHO, is worse than speaking to someone from your own country.)
On my second call (to find out why I hadn't received the promised e-mail instructions), I was put on hold for ten minutes whilst the support person looked up my details. I don't mind being put on hold - for a minute or two - but I detest being forced to listen to what sounds like a badly-tuned radio, with dodgy music fading up and down in volume interspersed with bursts of static. I've heard enough of these - and been put on hold long enough - to know that the static is on the recordings, not something that happens randomly during playback. I can even predict when the static is going to cut in. I've even heard one "music for violin and static" track played by a number of different telephone support centers.
This leads me to an obvious conclusion: there is a company (at least one) out there, somewhere, whose products are tapes of badly-tuned radios for use by telephone call centers. How do they market this stuff? "For only $5,000 per month, you can significantly reduce your call center costs - and raise your customers' blood pressure - by playing our too-annoying-to-listen-to-for-long "customer appreciation music" to your most difficult customers." It's also difficult to escape the conclusion that the company you're calling really doesn't value your business at all, despite the many "Thank you for holding. We love you and really value your business. A customer support operative will be with you shortly" messages that they keep playing.
Well, I definitely will not be buying a Palm product again, but I fear that the quality of their offering means that I will be calling their nauseous call center many more times. Maybe I should just bin the thing and move on...