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  1.    #1  
    Just wanted to share this with all of you.

    ______________begin letter_______________

    Ms. Dubinsky,
    I apologize for writing you directly, but since all other channels have been unsuccessful, I have no other option. I was one of the first people to order a new Visor Deluxe (Ice) as soon as I knew they were available. I ordered on 9/16. The reason I was an early adopter was the tremendous possibilities with this amazing new product.
    You see, I am a Systems Administrator for a small college. I have over 600 students using my network daily. There is an elite group of 30 - 50 students that are, in my opinion, cream of the crop in regards to technologically savvy. What we were trying to do was incorporate our PDA's into our existing network so that they could sync with their information on their user folders instead of using floppies or bringing their laptops in with them. The problem we were incurring was that out of 30+ users, we had several different PDAs. Our solution? Everybody upgrade their PDA to a single platform. New Problem, not everybody could afford a new PDA. Along comes Handspring & the revolutionary Visor. With both the standard and deluxe models available, almost everybody could afford to upgrade to this new platform. The features were great and the Springboard capabilities were a wonderful bonus. Several students have already started to work on ideas to develop Springboard modules/applications.
    What we decided to do then was order one VDx and see how it performed before everybody ordered their own unit. However, since I placed my order, there has been nothing but heartache and problems with trying to receive your product. I've only called twice since placing the initial order. The first call was to confirm my order after the news that there would be no confirming emails. The second call was last week to find out the status of my order.
    Since my last call, I have found a very reasonable deal on some Palm III/IIIx units, and also found out about their new server software and cradles with network cables built in. We (the students and I) have a meeting tomorrow morning (11/4), to discuss the change in plans to Palm units and the new server software system.
    This letter was not meant to be a Handspring bashing or ask for pity, but it was meant just to let you know the kinds of benefits, research & free advertising that your company has lost due to the incompetence's of your Customer Service department. Good Luck in the future and maybe our paths will cross again someday.

    ________________end Letter_______________

    Well, What do you guys think?

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

    [This message has been edited by MelonBoy (edited 11-03-1999).]

    [This message has been edited by MelonBoy (edited 11-03-1999).]
  2. #2  
    MelonBoy,

    I think it was a sober yet direct letter--a very good way to go. It's a rather stark contrast to the email that I wrote, and perhaps more compelling too, as it emphasizes the loss of real-world application and development. You've put me to shame. I think you'll get Handspring's honest attention, because you're no longer just a customer, but also a potential developer.

    Have you and your team already decided to go with Palm? It's unfortunate if you had. You folks probably could have had some fun with the springboard slot.

    take care,
    Chris
  3. #3  
    Those are the facts and no one can deny them. Basic economics, when the price point is sufficiently low, customers will accept a somewhat inferior product if it means they'll receive better services. (Or if the inferior product is more readily available).

    There's no question that Handspring must deal with this backlash which has been completely due to short supply and especially poor customer service. They're not the only game in town and people will only accept so much pain.

    However, my feeling is that they will rise above this pain...look their website is swamped once again in spite of the problems. Handspring will thrive once they shake out all the bugs. Still, they will lose some customers in the meantime. Oh well, that's probably a cost Donna and Jeff are willing to accept. They had to know these would be the costs moving somewhat prematurely.

    I wouldn't mind their problems...under it all, people are still scrambling for their products which means there is a silver lining for them even if it means some of their earliest adopters are getting "rained" on.
  4. #4  
    MelonBoy:
    OUTSTANDING! One very small critique: I'd drop the possessive on "incompetence" in the second to last line. I think they need to know, in real terms, what this is costing them (immediate sales of 50, new developers, possible large-scale deployment for an entire college). I don't understand what is going on with the company...they mange truly superlative service to some, while greviously tring the patience of many early adoptors (the Sept folks). I further remain mystified at what I consider to be a massive failure to turn the situation around. Maybe a few wakeup calls like yours will stir things up.
    I wonder if Jeff knows what's happening to his latest baby?
  5.    #5  
    Buff, that possesive, was just a syntax error (dang spellchecker). It wasn't suppossed to be there. I also had the date in the one I sent wrong. Our meeting is the 4th, not the 3rd. (changed it on this board). Thanks for the comments guys, but like it said at the bottom, this wasn't to bash them, and I hope no one sees it like that. I just wanted to let them know what they are doing (or not doing) to their customers. Thanks again for the comments.

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

  6. #6  
    Buffasaur,

    I am always amazed and how frequently the people who grammar and spell check others' writing end up making errors themselves.

    You wrote:

    -------------------------------
    they mange truly superlative service to some, while greviously tring the patience of many early adoptors (the Sept folks).
    --------------------------------

    This is not a slam... It's just funny, that's all. I know it was just a typo.

    Chris
  7. #7  
    Whenever any member of a company (or a contractor for that company) does something that hurts the reputation of the company, management SHOULD want to know about it. What they do with that information will tell a lot about the company.

    I think the letter is great. The one that I sent was simply a plea for answers to my order questions. I didn't mention that the entire management staff in my office is looking for a PDA to adopt. They were waiting to see how my Visor functioned, but they are tired of waiting, and puzzled by the non-answers from HS. The boss wants to know "why". If you can't give him the answer RIGHT NOW, he will move on to someone who can! He is moving to buy Vx's. The V was his first choice before I told him about the Visor. He didn't put the order through for the Palm because of my glowing presentation of the Visor. As of today, I have no Visor and he wants to get PDA's. Obviously, they aren't going to be Visors. It's a no-brainer from his point of view. Why should he deal with a company who can't deliver anything but empty promises and misinformation.

    I think that there are a lot of people in our situation. Maybe they have a direct influence on which PDA that their company, or students, or co-workers will buy. Maybe that influence is simply there by word of mouth. The influence is there nonetheless. HS has botched a great opportunity for a massive free advertising campaign. Sometimes when you are "too" popular you don't have to worry about the "little" details. "If we build it, they will come." - Unfortunately, many have come and left.
  8.    #8  
    Here's Ms. Dubinsky's reply:

    I appreciate your taking the time to write me this note. Believe me, I'm
    not happy with our rocky start here! It's not been the fault of the
    customer service organization, by the way. What happened was that some data
    was corrupted as it was sent from the order entry system to the shipping
    system. We have had an enormously difficulty sorting out the data, which
    has made it hard for the order folks to see status. We've turned the
    corner, and I believe we'll be able to fix the problems, as well as
    implement a far better system in the future. We recognize that we have lost
    some business along the way, and we're going to work hard to earn it back in
    the future.

    If there is anything I can do for you relative to your order, please let me
    know. I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you.

    Donna


    I guess we'll see what our group decides tomorrow morning.

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

  9. #9  
    That's an interesting letter, but it doesn't answer the obvious question...What exceptional steps are you taking to fill those early "corrupted" orders? If the conversion failed, why continue to flog it? Once an order is identified as being a problem, make the correction (on paper if you have to) and send it off to be shipped ASAP!

    It sounds like she has written us off as a lost cause, for now, with a promise to try to win us back later. It doesn't work that way.
    I had one bad Volvo - I'll never buy another one. I know they are great cars. Enjoy yours. As for me, fool me once - shame on you! Fool me twice - Shame on me!

    It's nice that she knows about the problems. It's too bad that she can't give you an answer as to what is being done to satisfy those customers who were slighted. Oh well, we can win them back later. Not!
  10. #10  
    I'm going to sing my same song here.....

    Ms. Dubinsky is admitting there are problems, but it isn't their fault --> it is their databases' fault.

    What will she do to help your order??? Give you "Priority Status" or "Expedite" it (as so many of us still waiting our week 1 orders have been told time-and-again).

    I just wonder if they ever did a dry run with their fulfillment systems. I was part of a fulfillment system start-up many years ago and, although we had problems due to being "overwhelmed", they didn't result in a weekly changing of story or our customers being inconvienced more than 3 days.....(and we did shut down new order fulfillment until we fixed the problems).

    I just continue to wonder why we are hearing of this order merge problem so many weeks after it happened??? Instead, we kept hearing a variety of lame stories and excuses. All the while, October orders are arriving daily while my 9/14 order continues to be caught in the Handspring Void.

    I'm glad you got an answer from them. It sounds as if the truth is starting to leak out more & more as time goes on.
  11.    #11  
    Here's my reply to her reply....

    _________________start reply____________

    Ms. Dubinsky,

    Thank you for your prompt reply. I understand the problems you have and continue to face with the start of this company. I can't bring myself to ask for special assistance with my order when so many are having problems, but I do appreciate the offer. As for my student group, one of the members was reading the letter I sent this morning and corrected me on the date. Our meeting is 11/4 (Thursday) morning. I will present my letter and your response to them at that time. I will leave it up to the voting population as to what we decide next. Several have voiced their opinion to move toward Palm, but almost as many have decided to stick with Handspring (mainly the developers in the group that are so excited about the springboard). If you would like, I can let you know what they decide tomorrow. If there is anything you'd like to say to the group, just let me know and I'll make sure they have all the information before making their decision.
    Thank you again for your prompt reply and the personal attention that you have given this matter.

    ________________end reply______________

    One of my students says I'm gonna get flamed for 'being too nice', oh well, I just gotta do what I gotta do.

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

  12. #12  
    Ms. Dubinsky says, "What happened was that some data was corrupted as it was sent from the order entry system to the shipping system."

    The understanding that their original "order entry system" was pen 'n' paper notwithstanding, this is the first time I've seen anything approaching a concrete explanation as to what's been going on.
  13. #13  
    MB-
    Very good letter and very good reply to the response.
    Now, how did you send the letter? Via e-mail? Using what e-mail address? Via snail mail?
    Inquiring minds and sharpened pencils want to know :> )...
  14. #14  
    Good reply...My response to her letter back to me was less diplomatic.

    [This message has been edited by staad (edited 11-03-1999).]
  15.    #15  
    Betsy, I sent everything via email. I can't give the address (VisorCentral setup a policy against that). But I do know that some people have sent emails to the addresses listed on the HS website with the subject 'Forward to .....' and they got replies from those. Sorry I can't help, but I'd hate to be banned from VisorCentral if my Visor ever did show up.

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

  16. #16  
    Great letter.. Interesting Posts... I just received my $209 Palm IIIx today...I cancelled my Visor order (I think LOL).
    I just got tired of the BS...The reality
    is I will probably move from this Palm IIIx
    in 6-9 months...It will take alot on HS' part to convince me to buy in the future.. I was very supportive in the beginning; ordered in September, etc..but I feel I have been let down.. It is sad-really...I never thought
    I would order a Palm when I heard about Visor
    but I have to get on with things... Maybe
    next time ? ;-(

    [This message has been edited by MicroMan (edited 11-03-1999).]
  17.    #17  
    Our group voted this morning on whether to try to stick with Handspring or go with Palm for our project. Here's the letter I sent to Ms. Dubinsky with the results.

    __________________start reply________________

    Ms. Dubinsky,

    Thank you again for taking the time to read the messages. I know you are extremely busy. I just wanted you to know what the group decided this morning. 23 of the students made it in time for the vote. I gave them all copies of our correspondence yesterday. The results of the vote were 12 votes to go with Palm, and 9 to stick with Handspring. The wierdest thing I noticed was that 5 of the 7 students that were so interested in developing springboard technology voted for Palm. I still haven't figured that one out.
    I would now like to take you up on your offer to help me with my order. As much as I would love to have a Visor (and think it would change several minds & probably change the vote), I can not afford to purchase both a Visor and a new Palm unit. As much as I hate to do this, could you please help me cancel my order (my information is below)? I appologize for the way this has happened, but I have no control over the group as far as decision making. Good Luck to you and your company. Maybe one day we will be able to implement Visors in our network to replace the upcoming Palms. Thank you for all your assistance.

    ________________end reply_________________

    I know they have had problems and I wish them all the luck. I sincerely wish we (our group) could have been a great living testimony for the Visor. Good luck to you all and especially Handspring. Maybe our paths will cross again someday.

    BC

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

  18. #18  
    Melonboy,

    It's interesting to see how Handspring is reacting to their problems and the customer service that it delivers. It's a shame that Handspring has lost easy money -- your order. Well, I wish you and your students have the best of luck.

    On a trip from Florida back to Texas, I read a magazine of articles published by American Airlines. The articles were stories of AA employees going the extra mile to help their passengers. I know AA has had their share of CS problems, but reading these stories were amazing.

    One baggage handler noticed a bunch of luggage id tags on the ground accumulating due to normal handling. He didn't want AA's passengers to think they were abusing the bags during handling, so he started mailing the id tags back to the individuals. One of the recipients was a CEO of a major corporation. Many years before, the CEO had a bad experience with AA, so he ordered everyone in his company not to fly AA. He changed his mind when he received his tag.

    There were countless number of articles of cool stories like the one above. AA employees loaning their car to passengers...
    Other employees driving across the state at 3am on their own time to give an important lost piece of luggage to a passenger... AA installing and using defibilators (sp?) before they were mandated by law to save lives in mid air, etc.... A flight attendant making a doll out of the pillows and a sewing kit for a frightened little girl traveling by herself. The little girl many years latter had a reunion with the flight attendant that she remembered so foundly...

    I usually don't find the reading very interested on airplanes. However, I read this magazine from front to back with excitement. Maybe we should but a copy of the book AA sells with all the stories and send it to Handspring?

    I have suffered bad experiences with Handspring like yourself. I have tried to email through the customer service form with no replies. Hang in there, it's almost over for you.

    Since a majority of the owners of palms are professionals, I wonder how many CEO's, VP's, directors, etc.. are receiving this same service. I know there are many "small" people like you and I who receive the same service.

    When I buy products and services, I look for the best quality items accompanied with the best service. I would rather spend a lot more money if I don't have to deal with CS problems. I am also very faithful to the companies that deliver outstanding CS but charge a little more money.

    Take care,

    -gene



    [This message has been edited by gene (edited 11-04-1999).]
  19. #19  
    gene,

    You wrote:

    "...Many years before, the CEO had a bad experience with AA, ..."

    How long was that luggage tag on the ground?!!!

  20. #20  
    The story isn't that specific. Luggage tags were accumulating on the ground, and the baggage handler decided to do something about it on his own. I'm not sure if he found it in a corner under a crack or if they're were hundreds of "dead" tags laying around on the ground. I was just excited to read so many stories about employees doing something on their own to make a better experience for AA's passengers. It wasn't their boss that told them to do something, it was their sense of being a part of something special - the AA team.

    Disclaimer - I don't work for AA, I just enjoy companies, employees, people that give excellent service. Don't you?

    HUSKI --> I checked your profile, and it said you were a college prof in college station. I am a former aggie with 2 degrees from A&M. Gig 'em ags...




    [This message has been edited by gene (edited 11-04-1999).]
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