Smart companies know that Support = Sales. Others still have to learn that Lousy Support = Lost Sales. I’ve had my fair share of poor support experience with HP, including the rep who would rather damage the brand by claiming they sell mismatched units than look for a solution, or this other fellow who is still gathering information for me – since October 2007.
But these were the typical after-sales support situations, I was not a potential customer, not a source of new revenue, just cost. Pre-sales support must certainly better, after all, I want to spend $ with the company … or is it?
The other day I set my mind on buying additional hard disk space. Yes, I “live in the Cloud”, but music, photos and movies are an exception: I still prefer to keep a local copy, largely due to bandwidth restrictions. Writing my own piece on media decay recently made me realize I better take action, soon. But which way to go? Internal or external drive? Both have pro’s and con’s, but luckily enough HP has come up with an innovative concept: a drive that is both. A complete external unit that slides in to a special slot of HP computers and acts as an internal drive.
Great.. and my computer is compatible with it … I think. I only think, because my User Guide is full of references to this drive, in fact it’s the only one, and HP’s website also says that the Media Center Pavillion PC’s all have this slot. But I’m a bit confused, especially since my user guide appears to be fairly generic, the inputs / outputs on the back show little resemblance to my computer. OK, search the HP website, by computer type, bu hard drive, by .. whatever. Bummer. There is no clear definition of my computer, and only a vague reference that the Personal Media Drive works with certain HP computers, but no compatibilty list. Unbelievable! They really make it difficult to buy their products.
After trying to research the issue for an hour, I ended up contacting Support. Remember, I am not a whiny user now, but a potential new customer. What follows is the support chat script – the only thing I changed is the name, to “protect the innocent”, and added comments in italics.
Me : Do I have a HP Personal Media Drive Bay or just regular harddisk bay? Thx. [this is the initial question after filling out a form with the exact model number and other data]
Support : Welcome to HP Total Care. My name is […]. Please give me a few moments while I review your problem description details.Me : Hi […], thanks
Support : Hello Zoli
Support : Please elaborate on the query so that I can help you better?
[What is there to elaborate here? I had a simple, black-and-white question, any further detail will just create confusion]
Me : ok, i want to install a second hard drive. i see a door that says “expansion bay” just below the dvd drive
Me : also another dummy cover underneath, this one is narrower.
Me : i don’t know what fits in there
Me : can i just slide in the hp personal expansion bay – is this pc equipped for it, or do i need a traditional hard drive?
Support : Expansion bay is to install an additional CD/DVd drive in your PC.
Support : And it is not possible to install a normal Hard drive in a Personal media drive bay. You have to install a personal media drive to the personal media drive bay.
[What is he talking about? This has nothing to do with my question]
Me : but that is exactly my question, i don’t know if i have a personal drive bay or not.
Me : the manual talks about personal drives, but it’s a generic manual that talks about a lot of hp desktops together
Me : i have not found a compatibility list for the personal drives – i.e. whether a6157c is compatible or not.
Support : Personal media drive bay is not available in your PC however, you can use a USB cable to connect the personal media drive to your PC.
[Bummer, I don’t have the proper slot.]
Me : ok, thanks. then the last question: under the expansion bay, i have what looks like a dummy plastic door, right above the jack and usb inputs. is that just a piece of plastic or is there another bay behind it?
Support : I am sorry Zoli, I see from the specification of the PC that the PC has a Personal Media drive bay. So the front plane has the following bays. Memory card reader is at the top, CD/DVD drive is below to the Card reader, an expansion bay, and Personal Media drive bay.
Support : Please visit the web link below to find the steps to add/replace the Hard drive in your PC. Support : http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?docname=c01035705&lc=en&dlc=en&cc=us&rule=39140&product=3451988
[Oh, so I do have it, after all? But where? I don’t think he got that part of my question.]
Me : thanks, i’ve seen that. but if what looks like a piece of plastic (under the expansion bay) is indeed the personal media drive bay, than I don’t need this page. I suppose i just break out that little plastic cover and slide in the personal media drive?
Me : My PC looks similar to the pic on the url you gave me, but the section between the expansion bay and the input jacks is different.
Support : Please wait.
Me : on the pic there is a slot to slide in something. is that what a personal media drive looks like? That area on my unit is a flat piece of black plastic cover.
Support : There is no need to break the black plastic cover to insert the PMD, you just need to slide the PMD in the PMD drive to work with it.
[Is he really not hearing me?]
Me : ok, then please read my line just above your last answer.
Support : PMD bay is the one below to the expansion slot.
Support : expansion slot- expansion bay.
Me : than i guess the a6157c does not have it after all.
Me : because i cannot slide something into a piece of solid plastic cover.
Me : this is what’s so maddening – confusing documentation.
Me : Here’s what I mean: http://cdn.overstock.com/images/products/L10825909.jpg the area where the PMD slot should be is different.
Support : According to the picture, there is no PMD bay is available in your PC.
[Finally, he got it…]
Me : that’s my conclusion, too – no matter what the specs say
Support : The tool which helps to check the specification of PC’s are not working.
Support : I suggest you to get back to us later to check the complete specification of your PC.
Me : lol .. is that a web-accessible tool i can check, or only for hp internal support use?
Support : Here is the reference number of this conversation: [……..].
Me : thanks
Support : It is an Internal tool and hence you cannot access it.
Support : Have a nice time ahead.
Support : Thank you for contacting HP Total Care Real-Time chat support. If you need further assistance, please contact us again at: http://www.hp.com/support/chat Chat support is available 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week.
Well that was really useful, albeit not positive. HP’s documentation, printed and online is misleading, I cannot use the Personal Media Drives. But it shouldn’t have taken a major investigation to figure this out. Oh, well, adieu HP – off to order a Seagate FreeAgent drive.