Not so fast on that IBM/Lenovo service, Federico…

Federico: So, if you’d posted on Monday, ‘man, IBM service is great’, I would have immediately posted a followup to the effect of ‘yeah, totally!’ [I can’t agree about Dell service; on every piece of Dell hardware I’ve ever owned, the service has been prompt and reliable, though being forced to walk through a script recently has been very irritating.]

But, since you didn’t post on Monday, I’m now on hold with IBM/Lenovo support. And while I’m on IBM hold, I’ll write out a post about the dangers of reasoning by anecdote, AKA ‘Federico’s IBM service may have been great, but mine has really, really sucked.’

So, lets start with this note: I bought my Thinkpad a little over two years ago, with the three year, next-day, on-site support warranty. Next day. I filed my service request Sunday. At this point, it looks like if I’m very, very, very lucky, I might have a working laptop 9 days later when I leave for California. Maybe. To date:

  • Monday: incredibly pleasant phone discussion about the nature of my problem. No godawful script like last time I called Dell support; they treated me like an intelligent person,  answered my questions, diagnosed the problem, and ordered parts for the service guy, who would come Tuesday.
  • Tuesday, 4:30pm: Very nice guy puts me on hold for a while, and investigates why no one has come yet. ‘There was a problem with the delivery- looks like they’ll be in tomorrow.’ OK.
  • Wednesday, 4:30pm: ‘No, sir, your service is scheduled for tomorrow, not today.’ Should be a tipoff; I am stupid and ignore it.
  • Thursday, 4:30pm: ‘No, sir, your service is scheduled for tomorrow, not today.’ At this point, this is a tipoff. I rant. I rant big, and hard. It is an epic rant. I almost feel sorry for the guy I rant at, but not quite. I get transferred to escalation very, very quickly. More investigation is done; I’m told that the part has been delivered, but that the delivery didn’t get marked down correctly, so the service guys have the part, but don’t know they have the part. The problem is now solved, I’m told, and I’ll be contacted shortly by the repair guys responsible for installing the part. It is now 5:30ish; I don’t hear from them before I go to a 6pm research talk.
  • Friday, 10am: Still no service guys nor calls from service guys. Spend 45 more minutes on phone to find out that in fact maybe the piece didn’t get delivered after all. Finally get put through to Kay, who may not have completely solved the problem yet, but at least she makes me feel like she is solving something, so that’s nice.
  • Friday, 2:00pm: I decide to give Kay a ring and check up on things. Things still broken, but wait, they do have the part after all. Maybe they’ll even give me a ring today, though unlikely. This took another 45 minutes of my life.

Moral of the story: (1) Anecdotes are a crappy way to evaluate hardware or hardware support. If you talk to enough people, every single organization out there has at least a handful of support/reliability horror stories. (2) Never accept ‘it just got rescheduled’ from a support  or delivery organization. Scream, rant, moan, until you get a better, more detailed explanation and a strong verbal committment that the original issue has been fixed.
Anyway, enough with the blowing off of steam. I’ll be sure to follow up on this on Monday night, because if I don’t have a working laptop when I take off on Tuesday morning for California, man… that will make my first, controlled rant look… well, really controlled ;)