Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. ~Abraham Lincoln
There are two things you should never do when angry. Open your mouth, or post a blog. It seems that anger intensifies every negative feeling and distorts some of the facts to the point where one can easily say the wrong thing and make matters worse.
So, wise as I am, I have chosen to ignore this sage advice and post this blog about HP printers! I hate HP printers, and I don’t believe I am the only one. Check out this rant from a lawyer about HP printers and their call centres.
Let me give you the back story on this blog posting. I purchased, about three years ago, an HP Officejet Pro 8500A “All-in-one” wireless printer. So many neat capabilities; fax, print in B&W or colour, scan, copy, and best of all, work either through a network cable or Wifi. What’s not to love about all of those? And Wifi was the real sales clincher.
And they all work really well, except the wifi. It seems that there is a bug in the internal software of these models that when the machine is not used for a little while, it goes to sleep, thus dropping the Wifi connection. Okay, sounds reasonable to save energy. But it is supposed to wake up when called (sent a signal by the computer through the Wifi) and get into the act of printing. Only thing is, it doesn’t wake up. Nothing. Zip. No Communicado!
After hours and hours of trying to find the problem, I resorted to rebooting both my computer and the printer. It worked. Wifi connection restored and printing successful. Only the next time I wanted to print something over the Wifi, the same time consuming and laborious process was required. Basically, the claim of this being a Wifi printer was false; it didn’t work. Now I could very easily put in an ethernet cable between computer and printer and go direct, but then the other two computers in my household couldn’t print.
Okay, it sounds like I’ve got a bad machine and need to swap it out for a new one. Things happen during the manufacturing process and not all quality checks are successful. I get that. But after trolling the internet looking at reviews by users (not the magazine reviews but real users), I found about a gazillion comments on how this HP printer model drops the Wifi connection and doesn’t pick it up again. I am too modest to print some of the more colourful comments made by those who were fed up with the whole process, but believe me, I am not a lone voice on this one. The basic sentiment? I will never buy another HP printer again!
And, here comes the real interesting part, after trolling all the reviews and comments, of which there are hundreds upon hundreds, not one comment from HP can be found on this “problem”. Total silence. No communication to customers who paid real money to purchase this model on the strength of the offering and the positive brand equity of HP.
You don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.” ~ Edwin Louis Cole
As one who has written books and dozens of articles on corporate culture and the importance of process improvement and customer satisfaction, I find the behaviour of HP in this case not only appalling, but somewhat sad. And here is the saddest part. Hiring a high-profile CEO (okay, three in a row: Carly Fiorina, Marc Hurd, Meg Whitman) isn’t the answer. The answer doesn’t lie in a grand new strategy or fixing the balance sheet. The answer lies in listening and responding to the customer, fixing issues, openly acknowledging problems and making them right.
That’s not strategic. That’s not the sexy part. That’s not front page news. That’s not Davos material. No, that’s just good business conducted by good management under the thoughtful eye of good leadership.
When HP decides to abandon the quest for “charismatic” and high-profile executives and gets back to the business of fulfilling customer promises and making things that work like they are supposed to, the stock and fortunes of a once great brand will begin to recover.
What’s so hard about fixing a Wifi problem in a very popular printer?
“The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year.” ~ John Foster Dulles
When I started out in business in the late 1970′s, Hewlett-Packard was one of the top brands and also was lauded for its strong corporate culture. Today it’s on the verge of extinction. It’s the little things that eventually make the biggest difference.
Tight Lines . . .
John R Childress