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Shack Attack
What happens when the one company you could always count on falters?
For the rest of the November 2002 issue of CRM magazine please click here
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There are two laptops on my desk in my home office. One belongs to the company that sends my paycheck. The other I bought with several of those hard-earned paychecks.

My corporate laptop is serviced by a personable staff of IT professionals. My personal laptop is two years past its warranty from Compaq, a company that technically no longer exists.

My work system has business contacts and work-related data. The other laptop is chock-a-block with my personal diary, my family's birthdays and gift lists, 10 years worth of infamous and incriminating emails, and essentially my whole life.

I'll give you one guess which laptop got soaked by a 12-ounce tidal wave of Diet Coke.

Luckily the damage to the machine and my wallet was minimal--a shorted out keyboard that will cost about $200 to repair. But what may end up beyond repair is my previously blissful relationship with Radio Shack.
I chose to have my laptop serviced by Radio Shack rather than a local independent computer repair shop, because Radio Shack is an authorized Compaq repair center that specializes in systems that are no longer under warranty. But mostly I chose the Shack because I am in love with it. My customer experience with the retail arm of Radio Shack had been so positive that it seemed only natural for me to trust my precious laptop to company's Tandy service arm.

When I dropped off my laptop I was told it would likely require a new keyboard and should be fixed within two weeks. Perfect. Time was of the essence. I was trying to set up a wireless LAN at my home in that same time frame, so I would have it back before my husband returned to college. After more than 30 hours of technical labor, advice from two IT friends, and an uncooperative corporate laptop, I realized I needed my personal laptop to get the wireless ball rolling. So I was anxious to get my system back.

A week after dropping off my laptop, I phoned the customer service number printed on my receipt to check the status of my computer. The evaluation was completed and they needed my approval to make the repairs. I wondered why they hadn't called to tell me. I also wondered when or if they had planned to call at all. I gave my approval and left for vacation.

When I return from vacation and discovered that my many messages did not include a single one about my computer, I called customer service again. The agent explained that my laptop was not yet fixed. I asked to speak with a supervisor.

The service center manager told me the hold up was, in fact, on my end. The evaluation of the system had been completed for more than a week, but work could not begin until I gave my approval based on the estimate sent to me via a postcard.

I never received that postcard, and it seems the approval I gave weeks before to the call center agent somehow was never relayed to the service center. This boggled my self-confessed CRM junkie mind.
How could this be happening? I had stood by the Shack despite those annoying Howie and Teri commercials. Sixteen days after dropping off my system repair work had yet to begin. But that was not the end. Back ordering of parts caused further delays.

It has now been five weeks and I am still without my laptop--and my wireless LAN. What I have gained, however, is a husband who constantly needs to use my work computer for research, and a new meaning for the term Shack Attack.

Contact Lisa Picarille at lpicarille@destinationCRM.com

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