Janice Liu of HP – Part 2 of 2

This is the second part of the interview with Janice Liu of HP. Click More to read the questions and answers.

Question 9: What methods or processes has HP found most effective when it comes to training customer service representatives/agents?
Answer: A couple of areas. We have agents go through a standard curriculum. The most effective is the mock customer calls from “customers” who are nice and pleasant, but also from customers who are irate and difficult and with harder problems. Call mentoring, so they actually do real calls and get mentoring on those calls. We also do call monitoring in general so we take sets of calls and listen to them and make sure they are to our standards. Those are some of the training activities for the agents to improve their skill sets.

Question 9: What new technology is HP using or going to use soon that will affect (hopefully positively) the customer service experience?
Answer: I’d like to tell you, but then I’d have to shoot you. Ha, ha. But really, we do have new things coming out all the time, and you’ll have to wait until late September until we announce something that will definitely make the customer service with HP even better.

Question 10: You already mentioned some of this, but what does HP do to ensure quality customer service?
Answer:  We mentioned all of the agent-based stuff. We also use customer feedback. I know you write a blog and we actually monitor blogs on a monthly basis and we also leverage our customer feedback to improve our processes. In fact, HP won an award from the SSPA for our robust customer feedback process. HP.com has a method in which a customer has a compliment as well as complaints, customers can send those in and we can track them, take them back to the responsible organization, and work on a resolution if necessary. We have daily customer satisfaction core tracking. We have a customer satisfaction survey that goes out to customers and we track that on a daily basis so we can see and act upon any problem areas as quickly as possible. The key point here is HP hasn’t wavered on the level of support we provide to customers in order to cut costs. In fact, we’ve improved our level of customer support.

Question 11: Dell recently started a blog where they talk about customer service and the challenges they have faced, among other things. Does HP have any intentions to start such a blog?
Answer: As I mentioned, HP has always had a way for customers to give positive feedback and complaints via HP.com. As I also mentioned, we take complaints very seriously and act on the ones where customers need resolution. In terms of a blog, I personally don’t know if we’ll start one, but I know it’s very popular and a growing medium. I think one of the reasons we use HP.com is that if a customer really is irate and they need resolution, this actually gives the customer a way to get resolution as opposed to just a complaint form. As I also mentioned, we definitely watch it, we gain good insight into problems we may not be seeing, but customers are complaining, and we take that back to our operations to try and address them. Blogs to us are definitely a very important medium to watch.

Question 12: What parts of the customer service experience do you think HP still has room to improve upon?
Answer: A couple of areas. One is solving the customer’s problem quickly and effectively the first time. That is always a big challenge. We want to solve it quickly, but then you want to be able fix it the first time so the customer doesn’t have to come back. The second area, which has kind of been the theme throughout this interview, is improving the effectiveness of agent skills as well as the content we provide them so that they can help resolve issues quickly and effectively the first time.

Question 13: What, if anything, is it doing to improve upon these parts of the customer service experience?
Answer: We look at the end-to-end support experience. This includes product quality, the content we create on our web site that is available to the customer as well as our agent population, so it is a long line of different pieces of the experience. What we do is look at each piece of the value chain to ensure that the customer has the best support experience possible at HP. We take it very seriously and we have different groups that will look at each one to optimize that particular part of the experience while working with other parts of the value chain.

Question 14: I recently interviewed Paul English of GetHuman.com. What is HP doing to improve its IVR?
Answer: We have made improvements. We had multiple phone numbers in the past, we now have HP-INVENT, so it is easier for the customer to access HP toll free. In addition, we have voice activation in case a customer only has rotary or for some reason can’t punch in the numbers. We do continue to simplify it as we get feedback both internally and externally from our customers around problem areas.

Question 15: What is the difference between business and consumer customer service?
Answer: Consumers tend to want more flexibility in the time that they call. HP’s consumer division has more 24/7 call centers, whereas on the business side it may be more business hours given the time zone differences. The consumer side also has more varying levels of technology expertise. On the business side, you tend to talk to more IT experts, so there may be some differences in that respect. The third area, of course, is the actual products. The consumer side has a whole set of consumer products and appliances whereas the business side has more of the heavy duty cycle all the way to the enterprise servers. The business side of the house takes customer service and product quality just as serious as the consumer side does in terms of making improvements to the processes, skill sets, etc.

Question 16: What is the difference between standard warranty and the plus or expand service plans?
Answer: We have a standard warranty, which covers manufacturer defects, we also give troubleshooting and diagnostics for problems, and those are generally 1 year from the time of purchase. Our extended plans generally cover up to a full 2 or 3 years and they usually, depending on the plan you purchase. For instance, if you buy a notebook, you may want to have accidental damage protection in case you drop it or spill something on it. In addition, they have next day exchange. Instead of a several day turnaround for a repair, you might get a replacement the next day.  The other big advantage of an extended service plan is that a customer would get spyware and virus removal assistance, which is obviously a very big issue now. With the extended service plan, you can get that coverage up to three years after the first day you purchased the hardware.

We have two other services I mentioned called SmartFriend by HP. It is a more personalized service on specific how-to questions. It could be as simple as, “how do I create a macro in Excel” to, “can you help me setup my home networking over the phone?” or Internet access questions.

PC TuneUp is another very personalized service that helps customers optimize their PC. If a customer has a product and they notice it is running very slow, the agent takes the customer through a step by step process.

Those are services beyond the standard warranty.

Question 17: What do these generally cost?
Answer: Extended service plans will run from, depending on what the product is, anywhere from $29.99 for a camera all the way to $349 for a notebook, 3 year plan, with accidental damage protection. There is a gamut of prices depending on which product you actually have. The SmartFriend by HP – we have two versions available: $59.99 for 45 minutes and $99.99 for 75 minutes. You can call as many times as you want about different subjects within the minutes that you purchase. PC TuneUp is available for $99.

2 Responses to “Janice Liu of HP – Part 2 of 2”

  1. Service Untitled » Support.com Experience - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Jul 19, 07 at 1:54 pm

    […] The service competes with extra services provided by computer manufactures (see this interview with Janice Liu from HP for details about their offerings) and of course the services that the Geek Squad provides (interviews here). Support.com is strictly phone / Internet based, so they can’t really fix hardware issues. […]

  2. LauraF said:

    Apr 25, 08 at 1:52 pm

    Four months of having customers fight with HP Customer Support and not get problems resolved is a definite way to make unhappy HP customers and loose customer loyalty.

    Check out:
    complaints.com
    ripoff.com
    unhappyHPcustomers.blogspot.com
    etc, etc, etc