Do-It-Yourself Tech Support

Thanks to Ralph of Ralph’s Vacuum and Sewing in Redwood City, CA, for pointing out this video.  It’s been making the rounds on the web for the last few months.  A soldier in Iraq wasn’t able to get tech support for his printer.  When the manufacturer told him he would have to pay for instructions on how to fix the device, he decided to take matters into his own hands.

The video was sent to the manufacturer and distributed on the web by  To their credit, on receiving the video, the manufacturer sent the GI a new printer.  But, was it too little, too late?

The lesson here is that bad pr from an unhappy customer can cost a lot more than the price of a new piece of merchandise.  I can’t even imagine the cost of bad pr from an American soldier serving in a war zone.  It has to be HUGE.  The company ended up sending a new printer as damage control, but as they say, it’s hard to shove the genie back into the bottle.  More than 360,000 people have viewed the video on  Another 64,000 have seen it on YouTube.  It’s available from other sources as well.

How much better would it have been if the replacement printer had been sent out immediately?  Well, the company wouldn’t have spent any additional money. More important, the video would have never been made and the company’s image wouldn’t have been damaged.

The internet and the new social media, like MySpace and YouTube have given everyone with a computer the ability to reach huge numbers of people.  Creative people, like the soldier, who can create a unique presentation can literally destroy a company’s image.  People who participate in on-line conversations have a tendency to be passionate about their interests.  Bad news travels fast.

Today, more than ever, it just makes good sense to do everything we can to keep our customers happy.

Parental Discretion is Advised.  The video contains a four-letter word at the very end.  You can avoid it by stopping the video after the soldier says "Thank you very much."

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