HP Live Chat Experience – Part 2 of 2

Yesterday I talked about my experience using the HP Live Chat. Overall, it was an acceptable experience. I wouldn’t consider it great, but it certainly wasn’t bad.

Here is what I think HP could have done better:

Warn me about popups.
I probably should have expected this, but after I put in my name and email address, I got two popup windows, which were blocked by my browser. I had to go back and disable my popup browser and then try again.

Make it work with Macs.
I don’t use a Mac computer, but I know a lot of people who do. In terms of market share, they are getting more popular and more and more people are starting to use Macs. There are live chat systems that work with Macs and I’m sure HP has the resources to develop one if necessary. On a related note, HP should strive to get their live chat system (as well as the rest of their web site) to work with Linux, less known browsers, etc.

Verify first.
If they ask me for my phone number during the chat, why not ask for it when I put in my name and email address? That way, HP’s system can automatically verify it. If it doesn’t match, then the system can let the representative know.

Explain why we are doing something.
I still have no idea what unplugging and plugging my printer in three times did. I can’t see how it would fix a carriage error, but I went along with it anyways. He could have said “[instructions]. This will help [reason].” That way I would have gone “Oh! That makes sense!” Since I’m assuming 80%+ of the messages I was sent were pre-defined – it wouldn’t be that much extra work for the agent.

Make the serial number easy to find.
Make the serial number easy to find. In the back is not a good place to put it and on the bottom is even worse. Try putting it on the side or in an easy to find place (but still somewhat concealed) on the front. Consider putting it under the paper tray – somewhere? Product designers can find a good place to put it where it still functional and easy to access. Product designers should also make the serial number in larger, easy to see, print.

Don’t sell me.
Trying to sell a customer on a repair or a new product after a few steps of seemingly worthless troubleshooting steps is not a good way to make the customer happy. You should troubleshoot the printer to death.

The representative should have told me something like: “This appears to be a hardware problem. The printer will probably require repair. However, if you would like to try to forcibly move the carriage along the track and see if that helps, you can do that.” Most customers will understand they probably don’t have much to lose and go ahead and try it.

There are a few tips for HP. Hopefully they’ll keep them in mind with future revisions to their live chat systems and procedures. Hopefully you will keep them in mind when designing and supporting products as well.