Because their customer service sucks big time! If you want to see a very bad example of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) in action, go ahead, buy a laptop from one of those Acer Malls, and wait for the laptop to fail. Next, try and get the laptop repaired; I wish you good luck.
I bought mine – an Acer TravelMate 4602 – about ten-months ago from the Acer Mall in Jayanagar (near the post office). In July of this year, the hard-disk began to show telltale signs of failure. I have been using computers for more than 15 years; I know when a hard-disk is going South. For close to three months, I had to run Windows’ disk-checking utilities, mark out the bad blocks, use the laptop for a few days, and repeat the entire exercise. Windows’ Event Viewer was merrily logging away all kinds of disk error messages. Using the machine became a test of patience and self-management. Now that I have some free time, I decided to bring in the laptop for repairs. My misery starts here.
The dealer, who at the time of making the sale had promised heavenly-sounding customer service (“Don’t you worry Sir. Whatever be the problem, bring it here and I’ll have it rectified quickly,” was what he had said), was quick in absolving himself from the situation. “You have to take it to the Acer Care Centre. We can’t do anything here.” was his stance. So much for the promised CRM, but I was not in the mood to argue with him.
Next stop, the Acer Care Centre on Langford Road. I explained the problem to them from all angles as patiently as I could. The service representatives were more interested in heading out for lunch than in resolving my problem. Some of the solutions which they offered included, “Did you try reinstalling Windows? Maybe you did not delete all the partitions. You should delete all the partitions and then reinstall,” “Did you upgrade the RAM? It could be a RAM mismatch,” and the final straw, “You should reinstall Windows and then install the VGA drivers.” All the while, poor me was trying to say, “It’s the hard-disk guys. It’s the [insert the f-word] hard-disk.”
It was then that I understood that those guys had the least clue about solving hardware issues. I thanked them for their useless suggestions and walked out. It’s a good thing that I have a lot of patience and keep my calm. There was one more guy at the centre who had spent more than a lac (> INR 100,000) on an Acer Ferrari laptop, but which was now inexplicably shutting down every 45-minutes. The service representatives, quite obviously, had no clue what was wrong. They spoke at length about some patch being available but did not offer to install it.
That evening, I rang-up my trusted computer assembler, explained the problem, took the laptop over, and resolved the problem through a quick hard-disk replacement. I had to pay from my pocket for something that’s under warranty, but hey, I learnt a valuable lesson.
The assembler said something that will remain with me forever: “Sir, you should have purchased from us. There’s no margin for us in such instances but we’ll never let a customer down.” That, ladies and gentlemen, is true Customer Relationship Management. As far as I know, he’s never let anyone down and that’s why he’s been successful at what he does.
My next task is to bring this to Acer’s notice.