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  1.    #1  
    The subject of this email was "Handspring and user angst"

    Updated 10/25...see the bottom.
    Mail from Donna!
    (_way_ down there)
    =============================================

    It seems that there are a large number of people at Handspring who really
    aren't fully aware of what is currently occurring, so I thought I would
    email you and let you know. There have been numerous problems with order
    fulfillment, including:

    -Credit cards double billed
    -Credit cards with multiple (up to 6) authorizations pending
    -Users who ordered in October receiving units before September 14th orders
    -Incorrect statements by CSRs as to whether or not specific orders have
    shipped
    -Incorrect credit card numbers
    -Incorrect billing addresses
    -Hold times of >30 minutes in 84% of cases (n=96)
    -Reps failing to call people back as promised

    This is causing a lot of frustration in the VisorCentral community. I would
    be worried about this were I you. This isn't a threat (these things come
    across the wrong way in email sometimes), but VisorCentral is full of people
    who are genuinely excited about your product. Many ordered on the 14th
    purely on the limited specs available and the name of Jeff Hawkins. If these
    people are getting fed up, you need to change something quickly.

    I think the biggest issue is the lack of reliable information. People _know_
    that orders are getting lost/misdirected/overcharged, and they really just
    want some assurances as to what is going on. CSRs to date have been giving
    out contradictory information for a month. No one knows what to believe! I
    for one have become so disillusioned by CSR statements that I won't believe
    my Sept 16th Visor is shipped until I look up the tracking number myself.

    If you're interested to see where the system is breaking down, and get some
    real feedback from customers, I'd encourage you to take a look at the
    general discussion board at www.visorcentral.com I think it might be very
    good if someone at Handspring did.

    Making some kind of statement would certainly be nice too...people think
    that Handspring has no idea whether they are coming or going. If they at
    least had some concept of what was happening I think they would feel a lot
    better. You could also probably cut down on a lot of phone calls if people
    could just read a response online.

    That's my two cents. I'm looking forward to a supervisor calling me in the
    next two days to discuss my personal problems (six of the eight mentioned
    above), although I am afraid I have very little faith at this point.

    Tyler Thornblade
    UIUC RSC, senior network technician http://www.students.uiuc.edu/~thornbla/
    My statements do not reflect the views of my employer.
    =============================================
    I then realized I had forgotten to mention the incredibly irritating auto-hangup after two hours on hold, so I followed up with a short description of that. I wonder if anyone will care?
    ==============================

    It is now mid-afteroon Saturday and no supervisor has called me. Frustrated, I called the toll customer service line. After 55 minutes on hold, I finally spoke with a supervisor. The news wasn't good.

    My particular order (Blue Visor) has not shipped, despite being in the first set. There were no problems in address/order information. The supervisor indicated to me that some colors, but certainly blue, are completely out of stock and this is delaying orders. When I expressed my disbelief at this contradiction of the earlier policy of "color doesn't matter" he responded that they though that would be true but because of demand it no longer holds.

    He said that my order may ship in a week. However, he said he couldn't make any promises that it would do so, nor could he get into the database to expedite shipping without delaying it further. Since the six week "deadline" is in a mere three days, it looks very unlikely that Handspring will live up to their promises.

    He did say that he would call me on Monday, or maybe Tuesday, to tell me anything more he found out about my order. Having been told that twice before with no call, I doubt this will occur.

    This is just about the last straw for me. Yes, there were screwups and all manner of problems, but I thought that Handspring was at least addressing them. Now it seems that orders are just being pushed back farther and farther.

    I'm sending a brief note to Donna and Jeff with the original marketing email appended. I'll let you know if I recieve a response.

    [This message has been edited by Tiroth (edited 10-23-1999).]

    ============================================
    ============================================
    10/25

    Okay...hopefully this is the next-to-final update. I recieved a very nice email from Donna today (the first business day after having mailed her!) and she made a commitment to see the problems with my order resolved. She also apologized for the problems I and others have faced.

    Let me reassure you that we are aware of the problems being experienced, and
    we have tracked the comments on visorcentral.com. We know that we have
    disappointed and frustrated some customers. We are working hard to correct
    the problems that these customers have experienced.
    What really flabbergasted me was that I had emailed Sandy Torres with my contact info and she called me on the telephone to let me know she was working on it...within minutes of my email!

    I was very close to canceling my order at the end of last week...I'd have to say that this experience has made a huge difference for me. I definitely feel a lot better about Handspring.

    I don't know what the moral of this story is; hopefully it isn't that you have to mail the CEO to get order problems resolved. At any rate, it shows that Handspring and the people in charge are very concerned about the problems with customer service.

    [This message has been edited by Tiroth (edited 10-25-1999).]
  2. #2  
    Tiroth, I know for a fact that Jeff Hawkins himself is aware of our discussion boards and has looked at them. Knowing this, I am sure that he still goes over them now and then to see what's up with the community. I asked him via email if he knew about us several weeks ago and he said that he did. I hope your queries will generate a response from Handspring. If you email me, I may be inclined to give you Jeff and Donna's email addresses.

    -Achilles
  3. #3  
    Tiroth,

    Elequent as always. If you get the phone call add one other thing to the list. Now that some of us do have our Visor we are actively acting as additional sales agents and we are curious about our accessory orders as well. Since the web site is down regarding order tracking, they need to keep us informed on the issues.

    I believe that communication is paramount and would have eliminated excessive phone calls to CS thus reducing Handsprings costs if they had been able to place more usefull information on the web or at this site.

    Looking forward to your post of response by Handspring.
  4. #4  
    Glad to see there are others in the Visor community who are making sense out of a senseless situation. T, very well-put and to the point. My feeling is that if there is no reasonably current response to your note then I'd wonder about where this whole Handspring mess is going. I've sent letters to their marketing department and to PC Magazine as well, advising both that the delays, the misinformation and the disorganization are a guarantee that people will soon jump off this wild bandwagon soon if the ship is not righted.

    If you happen to receive a response, please share as much of it as possible so we September 14th Orders w/o Visors can decide whether we ought to cancel our orders and re-up with Palm and the 8MB Razor...
  5. #5  
    Hot Carl,
    If you really want to create a PRPRPR $firestorm$, $write$ $to$ $Palm$ $specific$ $websites$, $like$ $PalmPower$ $and$ $PalmHQ$.

    [This message has been edited by ragamuffinn (edited 10-21-1999).]
  6. #6  
    Did you get a reply? It only took 17 minutes for them to reply to my email this afternoon. That was the fastest response that I've gotten since I placed my original order!
  7. #7  
    Raga:

    I don't necessarily want a PRPRPR $firestorm$, $as$ $I$ $don$'$t$ $want$ $to$ $see$ $the$ $product$ $fail$, $nor$ $do$ $I$ $want$ $to$ $see$ $it$ $marred$ $by$ $poor$ $shipping$/$customer$ $service$. $However$, $on$ $the$ $other$ $hand$, $I$ $do$ $want$ $to$ $see$ $the$ $problem$ $solved$ $ASAFP$, $inasmuch$ $as$ $those$ $of$ $us$ $who$ $should$ $have$ $gotten$ $our$ $Visors$ $can$ $give$ $positive$ $feedback$ $rather$ $than$ $negative$ $feedback$ $about$ $not$ $having$ $them$.
    I finally got thru to CS tonight, and I told "Jeff" that it's a shame that such a good product has been tainted by its distribution and delivery. The worst part of this whole situation is that, IMHO, 99% of us getting shtupped by this situation are die-hard Palm/Piloteers who could have really helped it take off. I can't in good conscience recommend the Visor now, as it would only ruin the experience of getting a PDA for those non-PDA-philes. What a shame...
  8.    #8  
    Updated....see my original post above!
  9. #9  
    Tiroth

    Ask them to expidite any Visor regardless of color for use until they get the blue back into stock. They can use them as demo units later for Comdex or something. Also, have them send you a return 2nd Day Air label so that you don't get charged any freight at all either coming or going.

    I think that would be fair considering when you ordered etc.
  10. #10  
    Very nice letter, Tiroth. Well put!

    While I do love my Visor, I have to agree that I wouldn't recommend anyone ordering one at this time. Not because of the product, which is great, but because of the sales system.

    The way that HS's sales system has been, it's like installing all first class seats in a 777 and asking a monkey to fly it. Lot's of potential and not a lot of delivery.

    I've seen all the statements on HS's part of hiring more CSR's, working 24 hours a day, etc., but I think for many it's a case of believing it when they see it. One would have thought the volume of first day orders would have warned them.

    Oh, while I'm thinking of it, was anyone else bothered by the fact that Ms. Dubinsky implied that some of us 'MAY' have been told that phone orders would include an email confirmation... Wasn't that on the website?
  11. #11  
    When the visor was first announced, I was one of its biggest promoters. I guess upon reflection, the reason I'm so upset is because I feel a sense of betrayal by HS's performance. Silly, I know. But now, like more than a few others, I could not in good conscious recommend buying something from Handspring...

    I've called my (not so PDA fanatic) friends I had raved to before to tell them NOT to order, yet.

    What is that they say about "A satisfied cusotmer will maybe tell two people about their experience, but an unhappy cusotmer will tell ten"?
  12. #12  
    I'm with you Zephyr, I've been raving about this for quite a while. But in my situation, I not only was raving to friends, but had over 30 of my students waiting to see mine before they ordered. If my Visor doesn't show Monday, they'll be seeing my new Palm. Good Luck Handspring.

    ------------------
    BC

  13.    #13  
    Updated with Donna's reply.

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