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Robert A. Harris BITS column discussion thread


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24 replies to this topic

#1 of 25 Ronald Epstein

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Posted February 04 2008 - 01:39 AM

Hello, Manila! (or, The Firmware Update Customer Service Blues)

Please discuss here!

Ronald J Epstein
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#2 of 25 Matt_A

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Posted February 04 2008 - 05:52 AM

As someone who has lost a job doing tech support and working backwards through the ranks trying to find a job that pays 75% as much as I was making, I can totally understand where you are coming from. It's rediculous that companies can just send their jobs overseas without a care as to what happens at home. The economy is hurting because the guy in the middle who buys all the toys doesn't have a good paying job anymore.

Glad you finally got your firmware upgrade, though. There's something to be said for blind luck.

#3 of 25 Dave Vaughn

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Posted February 04 2008 - 10:03 AM

Robert,

Sorry for your troubles, but it made one hell of a story and made me laugh out loud many times. Even my wife chuckled a time or two, especially this line:
"It's certainly not like the old days when foreign labor was easily accessed, but I've got to believe that getting tech support from a seven year old girl chained to a phone, and fed every other day won't work either."

Now I have to go and wipe the tears from my eyes from laughing so hard!
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#4 of 25 Michael Osadciw

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Posted February 04 2008 - 10:44 AM

Robert...

I'm sorry to hear, but I couldn't help but laugh because you explained a situation I'm sure many of us have been in one time or another with such detail.

You are a patient man!!

Mike

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#5 of 25 Bradley Newton

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Posted February 04 2008 - 12:24 PM

This whole situation is one of the main reasons I am hesitant to upgrade to Blu-Ray, even though I own a 50" HDTV and this format war appears to be nearing an end. Well, that and the fact that Blu-Ray players are $400.00 or more. My standard DVD player looks pretty good on my TV...not HD quality, but very good, and here's the part that's really important to me: like most folks, I work all day long. At the end of the day or week, when I want to watch a movie, I want to put it in and hit "play". Never, in all the time that I have owned a DVD player, or even my DVD recorder, have I ever had to perform a "firmware update". When, dear God, when, will we get a reasonably priced Hi-Def player (under $200.00), that will play the majority of Hi-Def software on the market, and that you can pull out of the box, hook to your TV and enjoy without needing internet connections or tech support?!? Am I asking too much here? Am I missing something? Boy Howdy, the studios have really screwed the pooch on this whole Hi-Def thing and have left a really, really nasty taste in the mouth of some of us consumers. Yep, I think I'll stick to standard DVD for some time to come and enjoy the HD programming I can record on my HD-DVR. For example, last night I watched Superman The Movie and Close Encounters of The Third Kind in HD without spending $400.00 on a player, $20.00 on each disc, and without any "firmware updates".

#6 of 25 dk61

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Posted February 04 2008 - 12:58 PM

As a Mac user I just have to point out that you went through all that trouble for nothing. The first support person was right in a way. Most exe files of that sort are self-extracting zip archives and you can unzip them using any tools for Mac. As a matter of fact, a lot of Mac users have it set up that exe files get opened by an unzipping utility by double-clicking it. If it is an archive, that extracts the content. If not, that means the file is useless to us.

At any rate, if you unzip the file you downloaded, you can burn it on a disc using any of Mac burning utilities and update your Panasonic. I did without any problems.

#7 of 25 Robert Harris

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Posted February 04 2008 - 01:24 PM

Dan,

What utility would you suggest for extracting the info from the zip?

As noted, when performed "automatically" it merely opened Excel.

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#8 of 25 RickER

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Posted February 04 2008 - 02:00 PM

In my first call to Sony CS to get a firmware update disc months back, i had an interesting conversation with a guy, who told me he wanted his job so he could talk to Americans. He hoped to come to out country someday. He was on a Pacific Island , but i dont remember what one, and no it wasnt Japan. Course he talked about the weather, and asked me about Oklahoma, he told me it was 3AM in his country, and yea, i figure it would be since it was about 3 of 4 PM here in Oklahoma. Anyway, he went on and on, only because they had a power failure, and the computers were booting back up. I had to spell Tulsa, and Oklahoma. I had to spell the name of the street i live on, and so on. I did get my disc, in about 5 days, and thats about how long the call felt like. Now i just order them online. Much faster.

#9 of 25 Jayson Wall

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Posted February 04 2008 - 02:00 PM

Amazing, Robert! I have to wonder if this is the same “great” customer service company as United Airlines, Bark of America, Citibank, Standard Oil, and many other businesses use?

JW

#10 of 25 dk61

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Posted February 04 2008 - 02:55 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Harris
Dan,

What utility would you suggest for extracting the info from the zip?

As noted, when performed "automatically" it merely opened Excel.

Yes, you have to set it up to open automatically. Control (right) click on it, and choose Unarchiver or Stuffit Expander if you have either installed and check the "use always" box for it to work the next time you download a self-extracting Windows archive.

Alternatively, change the "exe" to "zip" and double-click on it and the OS will unzip it. You will get the PANA_DVD.FRM file that you can burn using either the OS or Toast (I used Toast, with the "Windows and Mac CD" setting). My BD-10A got upgraded to 2.4 without a glitch.

#11 of 25 Robert Harris

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Posted February 04 2008 - 03:17 PM

Nice to have a computer whiz in the group.

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#12 of 25 Stephen_J_H

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Posted February 04 2008 - 05:06 PM

The outsourcing of tech support is the bane of our existence. Dell built a call centre in Edmonton a little over 3 years ago and is now shuttering it to reduce costs. Times like this, I'm glad I don't own a Dell.
"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#13 of 25 Charles J P

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Posted February 04 2008 - 11:34 PM

Interesting observation about tech support but one bit of short-sightedness IMO
Quote:
Call Apple, and you're routed through to someone who can help you better than 95% of the time. When they can't, they find someone who can.

So what is Apple doing that others can't quite seem to figure out?
Uhm, building tech support into the product price, whether you need it or not. There's a reason an entry level Mac costs 3x as much as an entry level PC and a nicer one costs 5x as much as a mid-level PC. Its one of the reasons I don't buy Macs. I don't want to subsidize someone else's PC illiteracy.

But generally, the problem is that the American consumer wants everything dirt cheap. We buy at WalMart, shop on the internet, and drive out local businesses that would have supported you at a PHYSICAL location (even better than a phone call to Virginia). Manufacturers have almost no margin left. They can't AFFORD to offer good customer service, that costs money. Why can Apple? Again, they build it into the cost.

#14 of 25 Robert Harris

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Posted February 05 2008 - 12:33 AM

Continuing with the example of Apple, many people choose to continue the quality support and product protection via AppleCare.

The difference is that the quality of the AppleCare personnel are a cut above.

Also, while Apple products are more expensive than their PC counterparts, everything from external boxing to internal structure are more like a fine watch than a generic PC.

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#15 of 25 kulugo

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Posted February 05 2008 - 03:33 AM

1. the guy you talked to was not hired because he was a tech whiz but because he can converse with you on your language
2. he was only following guide provided to him by the company/account who hired him and at times following it step by step is indeed tedious (and at times nonsensical)
3. he didn't take note that you were using a mac probably because he was busy doing something else or his mind was wandering off (just imagine doing his job 8-10 hours a day talking about the same thing over and over again)
4. there should have been an option on his screen which he can click on when the customer says they are on a MAC or any other OS than Windows which will direct him to a different path or course of solutions. he might have missed that.
5. only the privileged few are able to buy or even use a MAC computer and most people are using Windows thus familiarity is really bad.

sorry 4 the bad exp but not all TS (tech support) agents in Manila are that bad. there are exceptional people here as evidenced by the increasing number of "call centers" in place (Dell already has 3-4 buildings here put up in the last 3 years). like in all fields of work, not everyone will be able to please. good day!

all the way from manila~

j2valdes

#16 of 25 Steve Armbrust

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Posted February 05 2008 - 04:24 AM

Robert, your experience was painfully familiar to me. I volunteer for a radio reading service for the blind. They have very little money and scrounge for the computers they get. And, of course, since they know I used to work in the computer industry, I get asked to do a lot of computer work -- replacing hard drives, adding DVD drives, memory upgrades, etc. Usually on computers for which there are no manuals or driver CDs, etc. Which sometimes means calling tech support. For me, HP was the absolute worst. I was transferred between India and Mexico at least five times on one call when two separate organizations within HP couldn't decide who was responsible for helping me. They'd just say, "Oh, you need to talk to xyz. Let me transfer you..." and before I could say I was just talking to xyz, off I'd be back in Mexico again. Then back to India again. It was only when by chance I got transferred to someone based in the US that I actually got real assistance. Maybe all electronics companies are like that now, but based on my experience, I tell people to avoid buying Compaq/HP products.

Living in the Baseball Wasteland.

 


#17 of 25 Charles J P

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Posted February 05 2008 - 06:15 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Harris
Continuing with the example of Apple, many people choose to continue the quality support and product protection via AppleCare.

The difference is that the quality of the AppleCare personnel are a cut above.

Also, while Apple products are more expensive than their PC counterparts, everything from external boxing to internal structure are more like a fine watch than a generic PC.
COMPLETELY agree! I'm just commenting that you get better tech support from Apple because you paid for it. Its built into the price of the computer. If apple had to hit a $350 price point, I'd bet the service wouldn't be good. Its simple economics.

#18 of 25 Robert Harris

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Posted February 05 2008 - 06:23 AM

To be clear, the entire conversation with Panasonic was not made for technical support of any kind.

What I was seeking was an upgrade firmware disc.

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#19 of 25 Charles J P

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Posted February 05 2008 - 07:00 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Harris
To be clear, the entire conversation with Panasonic was not made for technical support of any kind.

What I was seeking was an upgrade firmware disc.
No no, I understood that, though apparently the other guy didn't Posted Image

#20 of 25 Steve Armbrust

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Posted February 08 2008 - 09:07 AM

I think getting an upgrade firmware disc IS dealing with customer support.

Living in the Baseball Wasteland.

 



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