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We had a catastrophic computer failure here at Savoir Faire HQ last Friday morning. You know, the kind of thing that will put a small business out of business for a few days? Nothing interesting happened, just the blue screen of death and then a crunchy little “click” and the computer shut down. For good. There may as well have been a puff of smoke wafting out of the keyboard for emphasis.

After panicking, getting calm again and taking control, I headed out to my local Staples store to get some help. Or so I thought. I walked in the door ready to buy a new computer on the spot, providing that they could transfer the data from my old one to the new one quickly.

(A tech friend had done a remote diagnosis and identified that it was probably a motherboard failure and that the data was probably all still intact. P.S. The computer is less than two years old.)

After explaining to the nice boy behind the Easy Tech counter that I was currently out of business and panicking and needed to get back in business as soon as humanly possible, he told me that their services were first-come, first-serve and that it would be four to five days before they could look at my computer. That wasn’t a good enough answer for me, so I sent him off to look for another option.

He returned and told me that they had a mobile service where the technician comes to your location and does all the work within 24 hours. Fantastic! Sign me up. Who cares that it’s an extra $200? I have to get back up and running now. Today, money is no object. How soon can we schedule that?

The nice boy returns to tell me that their mobile tech is on vacation this week. So what about the mobile tech for the other nearby stores? No, this is the mobile tech for all of Southern NH and, P.S., there’s no one covering his vacation, making the 24-hour mobile option worse than the original. The closest mobile tech is in Western Massachusetts, making me wonder if  this is a multi-million dollar, industry-leading conglomerate, or a local mom and pop shop with service when someone decides they’re available.

I sent the nice boy to talk with his managers to see if they had a better answer. They started making some phone calls and returned to tell me that there was a tech at the Manchester store that could start the work right away. Except that, upon arriving, no one in the Manchester store had heard anything about this and they told me that immediate data transfer couldn’t be done.

Well, that was until Dave walked in the door and got up to speed on my story. We all figured Dave was the one the managers from the first store had spoken to since he was out on lunch when I arrived but it turns out he didn’t take the call, either.

No matter, he smiled, picked up a screwdriver and took out the hard drive of the old machine. He identified that the data was all there and started pulling it off while Chip took me over to pick out the new laptop. Dave said he’d work on it that night and I left the store confident that my problem was in good hands and would soon be solved.

I went back to the store on Saturday mid-afternoon, about 24 hours after my first visit, and the computer was ready. We turned it on to look for the data and found that some of it was still missing – and critical pieces like all my client files. This time, Andy pulls out the hard drive on the old machine and started the whole process over again.

By Sunday, not quite 48 hours after walking into my first Staples store with the toasted laptop, the new computer was loaded with all of my important client data as well as music, pictures and all the other personal and professional data we all keep on our computers.

(Before anyone gets on my case about backing up my machine, it is continually backed up online by Carbonite, but pulling the information off the old computer was the quickest way to get up and running again quickly – providing I could find someone to do the work.)

We don’t often find customer service that amazes and delights us, but I certainly found it at a Staples store in New Hampshire last weekend.

I would like to loudly and publicly thank Dave, Andy and Chip at Staples Manchester for getting me back in business in 48 hours, when their colleagues down the road said it would be almost a week. They deserve a full-on, cape-and-tights Superhero Award for service, attention and  responsiveness.

Are you listening, Staples executives? These men truly deserve your praise in addition to mine.

Stephanie.

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