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HP Wins Out against Lunatic in Customer Test from Hell

HP Support today won out over a customer from hell as Windows User launched a series of military strength strikes against Hewlett Packard's new Customer Support Centre.

HP Support today won out over a customer from hell as Windows User launched a series of military strength strikes against Hewlett Packard's (HP) new, "state of the art", Customer Support Centre to test how committed the company really is to Middle East business and consumers.

Over a grueling 24 minutes torture test, the Windows Editor bombarded an unwitting Telephone Support Engineer with a series of argumentative questions about an imaginary USB problem.

The aim was to test the knowledge of HP staff, and their ability to remain professional when faced with the worst possible scenario: A vexatious, time-wasting customer, hell-bent on being as obnoxious as possible.

The result was a perfect 10/10 for HP and, not least, for the exemplary patience and professionalism shown by the HP Support Engineer under fire from a customer from hell.


HP opened its new telephone-based Customer Care Centre on the 22nd of June 2000 and has already received more than 150 calls. The Centre aims to provide all customers, business and consumer, with speedy resolution of product related difficulties ranging from initial configuration issues to more complex hardware troubleshooting.

Initially, the support lines are designed to resolve printer, CD-writer, Scanner, PC and small to medium size network issues. HP is expecting up to 7000 calls per day within 3 months.

Windows User tested the claims of HP by measuring the time it took to answer our call (22 seconds) to being placed through to a relevant Service Engineer (97 seconds).

Windows invented an imaginary USB problem and measured the technical knowledge of the Engineer by registering the relevance of the questions asked, to the imaginary problems presented by the "mystery" customer.

Customer From Hell

Questions were answered with a series of confused and inarticulate responses including:

HP Support Engineer: "Please could you tell me your name?"
Windows: "Fred Flintstone, I think."

HP Support Engineer: "Please can you tell me the problem you are facing?"
Windows: "Everything. Everything is broken."

HP Support Engineer: "Please re-start Windows."
Windows: "What is Windows?"

HP Support Engineer: "Please ensure that the USB cable is properly connected to the USB Port to the rear of the PC."
Windows: "Is that the grey wire with a thing on it?"

HP Support Engineer: "Is Windows working now?"
Windows: "It has pictures on it."

HP's Support Line is operational Saturday to Wednesday, 08:00 to 19:00 on (009714) 8838454, and will call-back customers on request. On being told of Windows concerns that these opening hours disproportionately favoured business calls over those of the consumer, Peter Neidecker, Product Support Manager, HP, Europe, Middle East and Africa responded that: "Purchasing a product is no longer the only expectation of any customer. Today, after-sales service and support are critical. I take on board your concern over opening hours and we will examine the issue of local timings as a matter of urgency."

HP also promised to expand the number of Service Engineers in proportion to the volume of calls according to strict minimum service levels. Watch this space.

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