Mesh Service

  SURVEY 17:13 08 Dec 2004

You may have read various comments from me over the last month or so about the quality of service received from Mesh Computers. Briefly I ordered a high spec computer that was delivered with various faults that were not accurately diagnosed, caused me weeks of annoyance, lost work time on the phone to Mesh, replacement memory modules and hard disk with loss of data, and eventually resulted in a motherboard failure being diagnosed. The computer was taken back by Mesh and a new replacement provided. The promised ghosting of my data did not happen (fortunately I had some back-up CD’s); the replacement computer had a faulty modem card, that has now been replaced and all is up and running satisfactorily without any crashes.

The point I wish to make is this. It is possible that I received a ‘Friday afternoon’ computer first of all. The second with its modem fault was annoying.

Mesh has a really big problem with regard to access to help. The Customer Service telephone lines are totally inadequate – waits of 30-45 minutes for an answer are not unusual, always associated with a hypocritical and annoying recorded message stating that Mesh appreciate their customers – if they did they would do something about their ‘helpline’. For all manufacturers – the customer will really get very upset indeed if you cannot provide prompt and efficient technical help and solutions. I have spent a small fortune on phone calls and lost an enormous amount of time that could have been better devoted to running my own business.

Now the praise. There are 3 people at Mesh who deserve bouquets. Davey who monitors this forum does an admirable job. Other manufacturers take note. Davey generally does make contact with disgruntled customers and does not shy away from problems. Secondly Phil Pooke in the Repair/Technical section; he has helped me to rectify my computer and then phoned me and emailed to ensure that all is well. Thirdly Amit Patel in Customer services. All three are very polite and pleasant to deal with and I thank them for their input. I have faxed Mesh’s MD on more than one occasion bitterly complaining at the poor service on their helpline etc and not once has he made contact with me to apologise; this is just not good enough.

Would I recommend Mesh – well the computer that I now have seems well put together but only time will tell. I would not buy another from Mesh (and I am looking for a laptop that I would have purchased from Mesh if all had been satisfactory) unless I check and find that the Customer Service and Technical Department telephones are answered promptly and are manned by staff who are competent. This will be my test for the future and might be something that Computer magazines should take into account when they offer ratings for manufacturers and suppliers – the quality of the computer is only part of the equation, prompt access to a helpline and getting a repair sorted is the other part.

Thanks to other members of this excellent forum for their advice to me over the last few weeks.

  Forum Editor 17:58 08 Dec 2004

and for your excellent personal appraisal of the shortcomings and strengths of the Mesh customer service set up. Mesh as a company has tried hard to address this aspect of its business this year, and from where we stand here, in the forum, they've moved forward. I don't want to make mine a specifically Mesh response - what I have to say applies to all companies who supply computers and computer related goods to consumers.

I agree completely with your point about the computer only being a part of the equation, and of course if all companies recognised and acted on this fact there would be no need of a Consumerwatch forum. Perfect worlds don't exist however, and a few weeks spent monitoring these threads is sufficient to make one realise the extent to which some suppliers fail to grasp the single most important factor in a successful supplier/cutomer relationship........communication.

All suppliers are going to have the kind of problems you've experienced - computers that are dead on arrival, or shortly afterwards - and all of them have to find a way of dealing with the resulting calls from disgruntled consumers. There are few things as frustrating as a computer that doesn't compute; normally calm people become agitated and impatient in this context, and suppliers need to understand this. It isn't at all surprising that an anxious customer becomes an angry one when confronted with a 30 or 45 minute wait, simply to speak to someone about a computer problem. In the cut-throat market that is the retail computer industry few companies can afford the luxury of a customer service desk with an agent for each incoming call - there has to be a stacking system. What I can't understand is why companies don't offer the call-back system, whereby the customer leaves a brief message and a call-back number. That at least would go some way towards alleciating the stress. Calls would have to be returned of course, and therein lies the rub - if more call-backs than can be handled in a working day are logged it means that things spill over to the next day, and then another day's worth of calls comes in, and so on. It's a real problem, and with margins being cut to the bone there's little slack to play with.

If I knew the answer to all this I would be making a fortune teaching companies what to do, but it's more complex than many people realise. The obstacle is money - there probably isn't enough in the gross margin on the average computer sale to finance the kind of customer service operation that most consumers want. Added to this is the fact that lots of home users start tweaking and tuning, and adding all kinds of hardware and sofware to their new computers, and then wonder why the machine doesn't want to play ball. It's a minefield, and the only way to keep things on an even keel is to establish a dialogue. Most people will happily wait for a short time if they feel that they aren't being ignored, and if they have some hope of an eventual solution. Not all consumers are right, but all consumers are at least entitled to be dealt with in a timely and courteous fashion.

  shoestring 18:11 08 Dec 2004

I couldn't agree more with the comments above. I bought two computers (£2500+) from MESH in September (based on the write up in this magazine) for my twin sons going to university. Son 1 had nothing but problems from the start. Phone call after phone call left him hanging on for well over half-an-hour on each occasion. Several calls went completely unanswered. His eventual phone bill for trying to get through to MESH support was over £80. Eventually, a few weeks later, MESH finally agreed (not voluntarily, they had to be pushed to accept liability) to accept the return of the computer and replace the HDD - provided he pay the courier costs! Another cash outlay. Well played MESH. He's 19 years old and a student. You've just lost a customer FOR LIFE!
MESH have missed the plot altogether by their high-handed approach to customer service. By ignoring their customer and rationalising/justifying/excusing their woefully pathetic standards of customer service they have certainly lost me and both my 19 year olds as future customers, as well as all the people I and my sons have spoken to about this miserable affair. It's an absolute disgrace. Frankly, the MD needs to get a grip. If I ran my business like he does, I wouldn't have any customers left.

  phil 19:57 08 Dec 2004

Do you mind if I put this on here for when Davey comes by?

Davey, when you get 5 minutes could you pop into the Weblogin department and rummage round in their email inbox to see if you can find the three emails from me that they have failed to answer?

If you do find them, blow the cobwebs off and mark them urgent please.

Does it really take almost a week to answer an email.

  slackeratslack 20:41 08 Dec 2004

I have had nothing but problems with a Mesh PC bought after reading PCAdvisor two months ago. The Hrd Drive failed and Mesh told me to start up with the CD provided - but it didn't have the correct drivers for the hard drive! Correct Cd in the post but XP would only load after a reformat - files lost. Luckily I had copied the drivers otherwise more time wasting phone calls to Mesh would have been required. But I'm still having odd 'system failures', crashes and odd errors. This is a 'Friday afternoon' PC and I don't trust it. I don't know when I will get round to contacting Mesh. Having a help line Mon to Fri 9-5.30pm is no use to me. PCAdvisor have tricked me into thinking this was a good PC and company neither are correct. Don't buy from Mesh!

  tinling 21:06 08 Dec 2004

Perhaps they only build on Fridays?

Two hardware failures in two months since receipt. E-mails going unanswered. Weeks to reply to letters. Broken promises.

  It's Me 21:56 08 Dec 2004

Just in case anyone else reads this thread, may I say that I have never had a minutes bother with my Mesh '64 PC. And it now has SP2 on it. It is too easy to get a wrong one sided view of this sort of thing!

  shoestring 00:31 09 Dec 2004

It's Me has a point. But I'd be interested to hear from him when something does go wrong. The measure of any good company is not the 99 great pcs they produce but what they do about helping the one customer with the dud one. Experience has taught me that the shortest distance between a loyal customer and any company is exceptional service. Satisfied customers shop anywhere. Loyal customers return over and over again (and recommend to their friends). What MESH need to learn is that exceptional customer service is NOT an extra cost of doing business. It's an investment in their future success. The customer who buys from MESH because they have the lowest price will leave them the moment a competitor is cheaper. For these reasons I completely disagree with the Forum Editor's argument that MESH's poor customer service is simply down to money - or the lack thereof. Even buying a computer from MESH demands patience - delivery times delayed, no follow-up information, ad nauseam. Almost as if they have to re-invent the wheel each time somebody makes an order. Their otherwise excellent web site belies the inefficiences throughout MESH awaiting the innocent buyer of one of their "Friday" machines! It's high time they got their act together and delivered excellence in all departments.

  dexstar 03:39 09 Dec 2004

Mesh are rubbish I think they are a very unprofessional in their approach and response to customers problems.
My PC was a monday morning one as well.
SLACK is all I am prepared to say.
What is it with all the Gaybo's who think davey is the master?
He couldn't even decifer my serial number which was in the subject of 2 of my emails.
Tech support is useless. I've actually just sorted one problem out myself.
The other problem was incorrectly diagnosed on the fault report which gives me no faith in them what so ever! The RTB warranty is useless because their techs are useless little boys who only know hw to build a PC not diagnose or repair. Shocking.

  ened 07:03 09 Dec 2004

Maybe the answer to this is for companies like Mesh to provide PCs with an OS and nothing else. Presumably they do test the machine before shipping therefore they would know it left their place in working order.
Parts do fail but, in my experience, once you have a working machine (I have built several of my own) it is a spurious piece of software which messes it up.
Also much of the 'free' software these companies offer never gets used anyway.
As FE said margins are tight but it does seem a shame that something like (say) a cordless mouse should be fitted without checking it's compatibility. If somebody went along to BMW and offered them a job lot of clutches they would not fit them in their vehicles without extensive research.

  Roy* 12:10 09 Dec 2004

Interested to hear if this is only Mesh that have these poor service and what seems a lot of system crash/black screen issues on this forum.

Could this be due to the large number of Mesh customers on this forum compared to say Dell? Has anyone had any problems with other PC's?

I'm just wondering now if I've done the right thing getting a Mesh with the problems I'm having or are the chances of these types of problems similar to other manufacturers?

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