Sometimes you work hard but are no further ahead

Most of the last week was spent attempting to get a new computer at the heart of Maine outdoors. It was fascinating because of my interactions with various customer service entities. I am also renewing my U.S. Coast guard license a once every 5 year activity. All with a range of customer service contact and positive feeling.

The Coast Guard has completely automated the licensing system there's not even really any way to get in touch with a person you determine what you need, gather it, scan it (25 pages in my case) and email it in. To their credit the system generates an auto email every time your application moves through a step in their process. Pretty good in terms of efficiency but frustrating if you have a question or need more information about something.

A new computer was ordered from Dell as an upgrade to my operations a once every five year event. My desktop computer is at the heart of Maine outdoors day-to-day operations and customer interaction. I purchased a package from Dell that would move my data from the old machine to the new one. At first all seemed great, the new machine was smaller faster and the screen was better a nice improvement the first time I contacted Dell to have the data migrated I discovered much to my chagrin that I had purchased hard drive not big enough to accommodate all of my files. No problems simply go to staples purchase another hard drive and get back in touch. Simple enough went to staples the tech was efficient and quick I had the new solid state hard drive in less than an hour.

Got back in touch with the Dell transfer folks and they were able to complete the transfer and get my Microsoft products up and running. Additionally, I discovered that the Microsoft small business package I purchase did not include what it says it does on the website or even in my account online. Almost like the Coast Guard, it is hard to get in touch with a person who can explain why they charge more than they should for the service they're providing. That is a battle for another day.

All good up until Thursday morning. I got up early assuming that I would simply install QuickBooks move the machine to its location on my desk and everything would be hunky dory. Needless to say after working with customer service and tech support from QuickBooks and Dell and 10 hours. The Dell tech finally decided that in fact there was a flaw in the machine internally; had me remove all of my programs and data and plan to start over with a new machine. He told me that they would take the machine back and either offer me a credit or replace the machine. As of this morning it is boxed up and on its way back to Dell. At the least I am out about a week of effort hunched over a screen laboring to make it work as it should. Not sure how to proceed from here and needing a rest for all of that time indoors.

Some of my interactions were indeed pleasant. The tech support from QuickBooks was a delight to work with even though she could not resolve the issue. The folks that transferred my data from one computer to the other were also very helpful even if it appears that they were part of the problem with the machine. And the Dell tech worked tirelessly for about 3 hours on the machine remotely all the while being as pleasant as possible in a very frustrating situation for both of us.

My comment would be that it is nearly impossible for a large company to effectively deliver personal service. They are simply too big; their employees too far removed and the customer situations to variable. When you compare that to the service that I offer my clients every day on every trip even when even when the fish don't bite, even when the birds don't cooperate. I understand and I'm right there with you making sure everything goes as well as I can make it. At the end of the day the Maine Outdoors promise is that we will do our best to provide an enjoy able safe experience and to make you as successful as possible. That is the place where I beat all of those big companies personal service and friendly interactions.


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