Monday, July 23, 2007

Verizon, Palm, Customer Support and a functioning product

This weekend my hated Treo died an untimely death.

This was Treo #3 in the space of about 8 months.

Treo #1 was fairly DOA, as I never got the Internet connection and email to work reliably.

Treo #2's audio went kaput after a couple of weeks. The phone rang, but no one could hear me, and I could only hear people via a headset.

Treo #3 was always annoying and buggy, but it lasted 7 months. About once a day I had to pop the battery out of the back to reset it, because it froze while trying to load email. And i never met a Bluetooth headset that could keep the Treo's attention. Meaning after a while you could no longer pair the two devices. I went through a couple of headsets before I figured out it was a Treo issue...a known one.

Through all of the above Treo drama, Verizon exhibited excellent customer support. More than anything they were calm, apologetic, responsive, followed through on doing what they said they were going to do.

But the bottom line is that I hate that Treo.

So much so that we all know I bought an iPhone to try it out as a business device.

This last week Palm finally sent out the long waited maintenance upgrade for the Treo, which was supposed to address the Bluetooth problem, among many other things.

A combination of poor documentation and God knows what else had me frittering away hours and ending up with a Treo that was in a constant reboot loop. And when I say "I" I mean my S.O. and I. And when I say my S.O. I mean the guy who was actually a software developer at Palm for 5 or 6 years...and worked on Hot Sync among other things.

But we had no luck, my device was dead.

When I called Verizon on Sunday they were, as ever, polite, attentive, apologetic, resourceful. All those good things. they also admitted that there was a significant handful of people having the same result form trying to load this upgrade.

And they're fedex'ing me a new device today, so I should receive it tomorrow just before I leave for Chicago and BlogHer. they acted swiftly and never questioned my need for fast action, fast replacement.

Yippee. Attempt #4 to get a stable Treo.

Actually, they got my hopes up talking about how the new Blackberry has an app that lets you sync Palm data onto it. Oh, joy! The only thing really tying me to the Treo is my years of Palm data. But, alas, you synch with a functional Treo/Palm...not with the desktop app. So, I'm out of luck.

Here's the question: Can all the great customer service in the world mitigate the worst technology purchase I ever made? Can Verizon avoid having my product disappointment rub off on them?

The Verizon guy made a comment about how they declined carrying the iPhone because Apple wanted to control troubleshooting, and they didn't want to have their service image out of their control.

I said "Do you think the troubles I've had with the Treo don't rub off on you?" Um, no, he didn't think that.

Just as Apple can't avoid having crappy AT&T service and coverage rub off on them, Verizon can't avoid having this crappy product rub off on them.

Why carry crap? Why? It cannot come to any good, I'm telling you!

Is that a totally radical suggestion: That Verizon should stop selling Treos until they get their act together?

And if it is radical, why? Why isn't it the norm that you don't carry products that can't live up to your service reputation?

Sigh. and

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Good luck with Treo #4.

I don't have one, but I hate them anyway because one of the pieces of software they use comes from a company called Good Technology and URL to connect or something is ""

Yup you've guessed it - people who have trouble decide to google for a Web site and instead of looking for the domain "" they search for "" I get at least one call per week, sometimes more when they do an update or after Xmas.

I've emailed the company and blogged about it but no response. Not even an apology for the nuisance.

So I will never ever ever buy a Treo.
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