I can’t quite understand it when vendors make it difficult to give them money. Consider the following sequence of events that I went through to order a $3,000 server with Dell.
1. Go to Dell academic web site
2. Configure server online. This presents points of interest, because several items have a stated price of $ABC, then in red, a special offer price of $XYZ, good for a limited time, or free, or whatnot.
3. Save configuration as an ‘eQuote’
4. Attempt to retrieve eQuote for printing, which failed.
5. Called Betsy, the Dell rep that I used for previous two purchases. (name changed to protect the possibility that the reps themselves are mere cogs in this labyrinth.)
6. After listening to a five minute recording of ‘marketing speak’, she says she is unavailable and I should contact her backup rep.
7. Leave message for backup rep
8. Wait two days for callback
8. Send eMail to backup rep
9. Wait 1 day
10. Backup rep “Jean” finally calls. I tell her I have an eQuote with my fully configured server that she should pull up, so that we can verify the hardware and go ahead with the purchase.
11. She can’t pull up the quote.
12. She then says…’Oh…it is a file server…you need to talk to our file server technical folks…I can’t handle this. Let me put you through to them…
13. Hands me off to “Thomas”.
13. Thomas can’t pull up the eQuote. The quote was saved on the academic web site, not the “small business” web site. (where it is called a shopping cart, but you have to be logged in with your “premier login”. (We qualify for academic pricing, always…as we are an educational facility of out-of-school youth, among other things…)
14. I recite the specs from memory and he types them into his quote software. I also spcify an HP tape drive which was offered on the academic web site…he says he can’t “source” that drive…would I accept another? I want Windows 2003 Server academic….he can’t provide that either. So I tell him, not to include software in the quote.
15. He asks if I want an HP switch. (This is the equivalent of “you want fries with that?”) I say I’m ordering a server. He says, what kind of switches to you have? I say 3 Hewlett Packard switches and we’ve got a dozen free ports and I DON’T BLOODY NEED A SWITCH I’M TRYING TO GET A SERVER WITH A TAPE DRIVE.
16. He says “Oh…, its just that we’re offering a free switch right now”.
17. He sends me the quote via eMail. It includes Windows 2003 Server software and a keyboard, neither of which I ordered.
18. I eMail back, asking to delete the Win 2003 software.
19. He sends another quote for the server (without the tape drive).
20. He sends a quote for the tape drive. Note that both quotations include obscure part numbers, and almost no description for the items, nor do they show the line-item pricing for the items. If I attempt to go back on the web site to see what I’m ordering….do a search on PV100T, for example, it doesn’t come up. So for comparison purposes, the quotes are useless.
21. Both quotes include a links for completing the orders online. I do this.
22. I then eMail him confirming that I completed the orders, and I wanted to make sure that even though there were two quotes that it was clear that it was a single order and I wanted the hardware for the tape drive connected to the server.
23. He called back, some hours later and said he would try to make this happen.
24. I also mentioned the difficulty of this purchase and he said I should call him directly next time.
Isn’t that what the last person said?