My rating of HCL’s Customer Support: 0.1 / 10 (because just a 0 looks bad)
HCL, Hindustan Computers Limited, is this really nice and big Indian computer company which does loads of stuff, although proper servicing is definitely not among the things it does. HCL claims a lot about being a 4 billion dollar company, powering the backbone of so many mission critical components of various businesses; hell, it was even there on the Airbus A380 project (if I’m not wrong – although in hindsight it’d seem HCL might have made a valiant contribution to the A380’s woes). And yet, it’s customer service is a disgrace.
You might have read my post on how my system ran into trouble. That is where it all started. In brief, my system apparently crashed, and couldn’t even boot up! After some time, I tried calling HCL Supportnet, but their phone lines never were reachable. I gave up after a few times. Cool enough, it’s a Sunday, I thought. Even those miserable call center folks deserve a break.
Came back from school on Monday, in a foul mood. I tried calling up the HCL Supportnet call center at Noida, and all four lines they had were either busy, or nobody was picking up the phone. Then I tried calling up Aforeserve.com Ltd, the HCL Support Partner located at Nehru Place. All three numbers I had of them were busy. There I was constantly redialling number after number after number, trying to get through, and yet, no luck. At one point, I tried the office number of the HCL Frontline division office at Noida, and a guy picked up. I was relieved, but when I said I wanted to register a service request, he said that he was an HR employee and couldn’t help me out in this regard!
I was getting pissed off at this point, so I accessed the HCL Supportnet site and the HCL Support Service site via my cellphone, and found out three extra numbers for the Nehru Place-based HCL Support Partner. Nope, didn’t get through. Hell, I kept redialling and trying for THREE fucking hours and each time, I get that same busy tone. Even my dad had tried calling up, with no success. I tried many times from my cellphone even – maybe there was some congestion at the Tata Indicom switching center. No luck on cell too. Plus got my temper boiling navigating insane sites on my cellphone, that too with ME paying for all that data transfer.
I finally got real pissed off and slammed the phone away. In the end, my own tinkering helped me have a working sytem again. But my experience raises a few questions:
- Why the FUCK doesn’t HCL have a ‘proper’ helpline?! I’m not asking for 24/7 toll-free helpline, but at least have a decent one! I mean, in case the line were ACTUALLY congested, then why on earth can’t a $4 billion company invest in higher number of phone lines and a *good* customer support setup?
- Why does the HCL warranty card give the number of HCL Frontline division offices, if all that’s supposed to happen is the phone getting slammed down by an HR employee with no help given to you after you’ve been trying to get through for the past one hour?
- Why is the HCL Supportnet site so shitty? I mean, hell, even on Microsucks Front Page you can do better stuff (and coming from a Linux fanatic like me it’s a BIG complement). I also came to know from their site that Lajpat Nagar, Karol Bagh and Janakpuri happen to be cities, rather than places in New Delhi that I earlier thought them to be. Silly me, ain’t it? :P
- I still have a rotten RAM module, with no replacement in sight because I can’t *get through* to HCL. And they say people aren’t supposed to open the cabinet. WTF!!! What am I supposed to do – wait for three generations to pass before someone at HCL decides to pick up the goddamn phone?
- The HCL site has an online service request option, but I’d used it earlier and came to know that they never checked it. I was explicitly TOLD last time not to bother with online complaint registration, and rather to call them. Why pretend and keep it there anyway then? Just because some kid playing with Notepad-HTML at HCL saw some form script on some other equally shitty site? I mean, bloody hell, those kids from class 8th who turn up at Code Warriors’ events in our school and make sites using Notepad churn our better stuff than this shit.
- Which reminds me, I’d emailed HCL at four different email address they’ve listed last year for change of address. Not received a confirmation for that yet. I checked it again this time, via their online complaint registration page, and guess what? It’s still the old one. What a good IT company eh, one which doesn’t even check emails.
There was another time I’d called HCL, when there had been a problem with the onboard Ethernet card (it was causing collisions on my network). Despite telling them again and again (and again) that THIS was most definitely the problem, the dunce at HCL (at least they used to pick up their phone in those days) kept on telling me format my drive and reinstall the OS. He kept at it for three days while I kept calling. Finally they sent a bloke who went around looking for earth leakage on perfectly OK plug points. Finally he conceded that there was a problem and replaced the motherboard…three days later. That’s when Nehru Place was hardly a few kilometers away from my old home. I hated the service center guy then too, for they have the brains equivalent to centipedes, and thus think everyone else calling up must have brains equivalent to centipedes too.
Guess what? When my original warranty had expired, HCL had been so prompt to turn up at my doorstep offering me their warranty extension pack. Hell, then that guy would give you his bloody visiting card, and say you could call him anytime. He practically needed to be thrown out to make him leave. Stubborn guy kept coming every day, until on the third I gave in and accepted. With a hoorah he handed me the documents, with a “We’re there for you always” blah blah. Yeah right, I can see that now.
I chose HCL because at that time, it was among the only branded computer manufacturers which made AMD-processor based PCs. True enough, even now HCL’s lineup of AMD PCs is bigger than its competitors. This experience makes me think though whether it was a good idea. I’d gladly go in for some company which gives better support. I don’t CARE how many branches it claims it has, I should be able to contact one and get assistance in the shortest possible time. As for now though, I’ll say that the HCL Supportnet computer servicing network SUCKS and is PATHETIC. Don’t even bother taking an AMC with HCL in the future…