1 de febrero de 2009

Una historia de tres portatiles (post 1)

Hace 18 meses compré un Dell XPS 1210 para reemplazar al Philips Freevents X53 que me ha permitido contar tantas batallitas

Fue una historia divertida, que escribí en su día en un "paper" de INSEAD y de la que he decidido publicar un par de secciones a raíz de que se me rompió hace un par de semanas y Dell se ha portado de forma diametralmente opuesta a la que lo hicieron Philips y PCWorld, por lo que quiero agradecerles publicamente dicho servicio

Continuaré este post con los updates que he ido enviado a mi profesor de negociación por email ;)

I have decided to condensate my experiences negotiating in the real world since the course started in the several chapters of my struggle to get a laptop after mine stopped working, a battle that has involved stretching myself beyond what I would have considered possible few weeks ago and which had enough spin-offs to test almost every recommendation I have learnt during the course.

The story starts back in November when I returned my work laptop and had to buy a replacement. In an effort to save some money I bought a 1000€ Philips instead of a Thinkpad . By February the letter “L” had stopped working and, after a series of calls which only served to vent my wrath against the call centre employees, decided to plug an external USB keyboard as I could not accept shipping my laptop away for a month. At least I was careful enough to have them log the report to save myself running through the “check-in” procedure.

Using a laptop without a key is one of those pains that builds up over time. Each time a word with the letter L comes along when I do not have the keyboard with me and need to look for an “L” in a document to “copy & paste”. I felt cheated and frustrated, but the worse was yet to come.

Around May 10th the laptop decided to stop working completely. After I discovered I had access to no tech support in France my objective became to recover the information . I dismantled the computer, removed the hard drive, and started a long quest across all IT shops in the Fontainebleau area. At the Saturn in the Carrefour I experienced a breakthrough after my persistence led one of the salesmen to give me the address of his favourite shop, place where I eventually found the component I needed. As I was not going back to Spain until two weeks later and the laptop would take about a month to repair, I finally decided to buy a new laptop and sell the broken Philips after it is repaired

My next challenge resulted from discovering French laptops are weird and that laptop distributors have both exclusive geographic agreements (i.e. A Spanish Company cannot ship a laptop to France) and no incentives to carry different regional configurations (i.e. A French Company selling a laptop with QWERTY keyboard and English/Spanish operating system).

I decided to employ two different strategies, an aggressive one (acting as a very pissed off customer) in anything related to the Philips laptop that channelled my negative energy and a Calimero strategy in seeking a replacement one.

The aggressive strategy only served to vent my wrath and, with a little luck, inform future potential customers who bother doing the research I failed to perform .

The Calimero strategy eventually led me realise Dell was my only hope when one of my former colleagues at IBM, after rejecting my desperate call for an exemption in the rules, suggested Dell was probably the only counterpart with the capability to help me . The important lesson here is to choose the right counterpart, a decision which can save you considerable amount of time and effort: choose wisely where and when to be persistent because days are short.

After playing around with the Internet site long enough to realise the product I was looking for was not available I gathered strengths to use my broken French in what looked like my last resort: contacting Dell’s call centre for France.

After being transferred four or five times and explaining my story from scratch I eventually found someone who would listen, (Name withheld). We spoke on the phone for 87 minutes according to my phone bill, time in which I used everything I could think of to make her my collaborator. She eventually found a way to process my order, and promised I would receive my new laptop within 5 days. When I did, I wrote her a long thank you note which I hope gets her a raise in her next evaluation.

Less than 24 hours after receiving the Dell XPS, when I thought the whole story was over, it stopped working. After researching the Internet and running some diagnostic utilities I discovered I had a broken Hard Drive. Having developed a good relationship with my salesmen served to repair the problem beyond my most ambitious expectations as less than 14h after my phonecall I was receiving a new hard drive at my home instead of having to ship over the second laptop and loose a minimum of two weeks.

Once I had the new laptop up and running I switched back to the battle repairing the Philips to get the maximum possible salvage value.

A couple of days after leaving the Philips laptop at my parents house during a weekend visit I contacted PCWorld’s call centre. But this time I decided to be friendly. Negotiations took about an hour because they wanted me to run the laptop through a series of tests which I had already performed, which was physically impossible as I was back in France, until after many questions I managed to recall the problem with the “L” key that had been logged into the system several months before and already qualified the laptop for pickup. The lesson here is again about persistence and developing a friendly relationship with your counterpart.

Overall I learned about the power of smiles, which I tend to underestimate, and about the need to develop allies because the “you vs. the world” battles rarely work out favourably. I need to be less confrontational because being soft on the people allows you to be tougher on the issues. And I also reinforced my view that creativity in addressing interests rather than bartering positions is essential, particularly when you are on the weaker side.

My Dell laptop has been working perfectly for the past few weeks, and I believe I will get a new computer, hopefully not manufactured by Twinheads, to replace the Philips.

3 comentarios:

  1. Hola Luis

    Me he comprado esto, en parte influido por tu épica-trilogía "Tres Portátiles" para cuarteto de cuerdas:

    DELL STUDIO XPS 16 (N02X1604)
    Studio XPS 16 : Intel Core 2 Duo Processor T9400 (2.53Ghz, 6MB, 1066MHz) 1 S
    Display : 16in Truelife 1080p Full HD RGBLED Edge to Edge Display 1 S
    Camera : Integrated 2.0 Mega Pixel Camera with Facial Recognition Software (Software
    install, no media)
    Memory : 4096MB (2x2048) 1067MHz DDR3 Dual Channel 1 S
    Hard Drive : 500GB Serial ATA (5400RPM) 1 S
    CD WRITE) SLOT LOAD DRIVE WITH SOFTWARE(Software Install,no media)
    Graphics : 512MB ATI Radeon HD 3670 graphics card 1 S
    TV tuner : Integrated DVB-T TV tuner and Antenna 1 S
    Wireless : Europe Dell Bluetooth 370 Card 1 S
    Wireless : Intel WiFi Link 5300 (802.11 a/g/n) Half Mini Card European 1 S
    Wireless Label (Intel Wireless Cards)- Core 2 Duo 1 S
    Operating System : Spanish Genuine Windows Vista SP1 Home Premium including Media 1 S
    3Yr XPS Premium Warranty Support - Priority Call In and Onsite Support 1 S
    1Yr XPS Premium Warranty Support - Priority Call In and Onsite Support 1 S
    3Yr Accidental Damage Support 1 EX

  2. Suena muy raro lo de que tu estes comprando Dell y yo comprando Mac.... aunque supongo al final acabaremos todos con varios de cada ;)

  3. ¡Calla, calla, que tienes razón! Esto parece el mundo al revés... En fin, terminaremos rodeados de bicharracos, como muy bien dices.