PC Club ENP612 Laptop Evaluation @ [H] Consumer

Discussion in 'Computers & Gadgets' started by Chris_Morley, Mar 22, 2006.

  1. Icejon

    Icejon PC Club Mkt Coordinator

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    It is easy to marginalize anything or any company with negativity. But I will explain again how unique and focused our company is to providing customer value.

    PC Club began 14 years ago when a gentleman sold his house in Taiwan to finance the downpayment of a local computer store that focused first on customer value providing quality products and services in the most innovative and effective ways to computer professionals. Now we have 43 local computer stores with the same benefits.

    From the very beginning we were not an e-tailer, we are first and foremost "Your Local Computer Partner" and our bottom line service lies in every customer. We also have an e-commerce website that is an extra service to our customers. Our stores are open 7 days a week--you can walk in any day of the week and get great customer support, which is something you wont find in any other (e-tailer) because obviously they don't have stores. Your local mom and pop computer shop won't have a 24-7 ordering process and thousands of items available anywhere in the world like our Pcclub.com.

    Marginalizing the advantages of Dual Core in a $499 computer is pointless. The fact is PC Club has the ability to actually create a new product launch that can bring the advantages of Dual Core systems to the average user. I do market research for a living, and I can tell you most consumer or business systems in the $350-$599 range are Celeron or Pentium 4 HT at best. I think this Sabre is a significant way of showing how us small competition can fight against the Dell's and HP's by offering the best value and price and force competition to change.

    I used to work for Dell, and they have the next business day warranty. It pretty much is marketed that you can get your laptop fixed in a short period of time (1-3 days). In reality the small print says your computer is fixed the next day after the local technician receives the part and schedules the installation which can take a week or more in my experience. Our disclaimer is not as broad as Dell's, we make sure the customer knows that the 3 days Instacare is only guaranteed for laptops received in store, scheduled service through our notebook department is longer. If you buy a laptop from us, and for example the latch is defective say, you can bring it back to a local store and have it fixed in three days guaranteed. My original point is, based on the market (nobody does this service) it is realistic to say that PC Club offers superior service and has a significant benefit.

    So you see now we have a unique position in the market that no other company has. It is easy to marginalize things without a full perspective, but that is why I am here.
     
  2. D-OveRMinD

    D-OveRMinD [H]Lite

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    I think herein lies our issue then. Perhaps this review didn't play to your strengths. The review might have gone better had OCP walked in to buy the laptop, and walked down to test out your customer service. The 24/7 deal is something that I know I would be happy to take advantage of if you had a store around here. I think the bottom line is that the online and telephone support is advertised but was none existant.

    I think I would probably set up the site to print up an RMA with the address of the closest store so people could just ship their unit off without having to actually talk to anyone or drive to a store that may be hundreds of miles away.

    I know that most people on here do their own troubleshooting, and theres nothing I hate more than going through troubleshooting 101 with someone who knows less than me just to end up at the same conclusion I was at when I called. Let me type in a zip, print out a packing slip, box it, ship it, do your 3 day turn around thingy, ship it back, happy customer in about a weeks time.

    Thanks for checkin out the forums!
     
  3. Paladin21

    Paladin21 Gawd

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    I'm not supporting or defending PcClubs support (or lack thereof), but as someone whose career is PC support and maintainance, I can tell you that noone can afford to adopt a policy like this. The people on THIS forum would (mostly) be perfectly fine doing their own troubleshooting and RMA submissions. However, you would get huge numbers of returns from people with "broken" PCs that did something like forget to plug in their keyboard, turned the power off on the printer and forgot about it, etc. While I agree that the most annoying thing in the world is playing follow-the-list with an ill-trained technician, that sort of process is what helps keep costs down for everyone.
     
  4. We had a PC club in Colorado Springs Colorado that has been closed. They were here for a very short time but I can tell you that during that time I was very impressed with the service and prices that I recieved as a customer. My first purchase from them was a complete set of parts to build an SLI system. They remembered me from that point forward and I was offered discounts on a regular basis. They are still more expensive than most online stores, but much better pricing than CompUSA which is the only major retailer left here for computer parts.

    What I was not impressed with was the manner in which the store was closed. I ordered a CPU at the store and was waiting to take delivery during the week in which it suddenly closed. There was no information on the website, no number to call. Nothing. They had my money and I had no CPU. I called my bank and explained the situation and the money was refunded (thank goodness for VISA). I agree that if they have a weak point it is communication. :mad:
     
  5. evenglow

    evenglow n00b

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    PC Club is a good place to get desktop systems but not the best option for laptops. I would recommend Dell with an extended warranty. Also, don’t order anything but parts through the website. If you need a computer go to the store. Price will be better, configuration will be better, and service will be better.
     
  6. wheels2040

    wheels2040 Limp Gawd

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    I didnt care for the way the store in Colorado Springs was closed either. I purchased a hard drive there. The one I originally intended to get was not there although it showed on the website it was. Instead a purchased a different one. When I got home and checked the website, I was charged $20.00 more then the price listed. Then I go on the website the next day and the location is no longer listed. I call and get routed to the main location in So Cal I am guessing. . They told me the store was closed. Now for $20.00 I wasnt going to make a deal of it.

    Now a week later, I needed to RMA a motherboard and I will say the person who I spoke to at the main location was very helpful. I ended up RMA'ing the board to the manufacturer due to the person in the RMA department suggesting it. PC Club followed up with me twice to make sure the RMA was going ok.
     
  7. PedroDaGr8

    PedroDaGr8 Limp Gawd

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    I think that this thread is a prime example of the HOCPOEM reviews actually making a difference. When HOCP gave a bad review, Jon was here answering questions and taking them in good form. I have a great deal of respect for both HOCP AND Jon now, he came in took the complaints like a gentleman (something hard to do with the sometimes fiery natives that populate web forums) :D and clearly and calmly stated his point. Instead of coming on saying that the review was a pack of lies and that [H] was trying to attack his company. Also, like I started with, this shows the benefit of HOCP doing OEM reviews, I will be the first to admit in the beginning I was a bit skeptical. Actually, I thought that they were pointless, but as time went on I started to see the value in them and now, this CLEARLY shows a benefit. Many kudos and much respect to both parties involved.
     
  8. jahcs

    jahcs [H]Lite

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    Thanks for not pulling any punches in an honest, [H]ard review.

    It is also nice to see some PC Club representation in the forum after the review.

    My question, after the damage control posts by Icejon:

    If the [H]ardOCP staff called PC Club tech support right now would the problem still be present?

    Icejon, what is your company's current stability? If someone were to buy a laptop tomorrow does it look like your company will still be around in 6 months, a year, or 2 years even? For most people a computer is a significant investment and I, for one, like to have some security in that investment.
     
  9. TheReverend

    TheReverend n00b

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    As a former PC Club employee, I have to say this review was an accurate picture of how the company was run when Jackson was ill the first time. I think the management of PC Club is not 100% dedicated to the customer satisfaction, or employee happyness. I have seen a notebook take WEEKS to come back from City of Industry (LANB factory) with no updates and me calling Wilson multiple times. Then the company refused to replace a less than 5 month old battery for a customer whose job was impacted by not having a notebook.

    I for one was an Assistant Manager at the Arrowhead location in Glendale, AZ. Nothing here in this review was abnormal for the 1 1/2 years I worked at the company. I have seen that as status quo for their company. I am impressed with how their build quality is now. I used to have to replace parts on 1 out of maybe 3 factory built stations, loose cards, etc. I am glad to see some improvement, but it looks like with the company out of Jackson's capable hands it may be in for rough times. Online ordering used to be unreliable for an accurate picture of what was in stock, judging by an above post, it still is. Promotional items were few and far between to some stores, backordered for weeks. I just have a difficult time believing the same marketing rhetoric that I used to have to deal with when trying to get an answer for my customers. :rolleyes: The character of the company is slightly jaded in my opinion. I had lost fairly good sales because of management's interferance with my price negotiation. Some cost me ongoing business relationships.

    A more accurate description of their mission statement is paraphrased here:

    "To focus on Product Margins by offering Decent Computer Products and Services in the Most Ineffective and Expensive Way to Computer Users."


    I know Jon has been speaking to this, but it's the same old song I heard when I worked there. I'd like to see he walk match the talk this time around...

    Congrats to [H] for finding out what customers have experienced for years, and what employees know as fact. PC Club is not consistent, or reliable when the man who started it all is not in charge. :(
     
  10. Philthy

    Philthy n00b

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    It's great to see someone from PC Club who, I hope, can read the comments in this thread and perhaps see some things from a customer's perspective.

    The PC Club in Burbank is perhaps the most poorly run business I've ever seen. The very first time I bought a computer there it had a sticker that said the warranty is void if removed. That meant I couldn't install a modem, and the lazy slug at the tech section said it would take two days to undo three screws, remove a metal plate, slide in a card, install the three screws, and slide it over the counter. The 'salesman' refused to budge on this issue, so I returned the entire system, over $1,500 worth. Over a sticker.

    On returning for some minor doodads, I met Erik, an actual salesman who knew the products, knew computers, even had a good idea of what was in stock. This guy was a dynamo, and for a few short years PC Club got practically ALL my business. I spent somewhere around $10,000 there, because I knew Erik wouldn't waste my time or try selling me something I didn't want. At least eighty percent of every computer I built (got smart enough to stop buying prefabs) came from PC Club.

    Of course, he did take a day off now and then, and when I'd ask a question of the other salesmen, they'd start shaking their heads halfway through, or better yet, trudge away like I wasn't even there.

    If Erik was busy, I'd wait until he was done with his customer. More than once I had to wait in line, as several other customers would only deal with him. The other salesmen would stand around like statues, or fiddle with the merchandise, while Erik swam around them like a fish. He was great at answering support questions and handling returns, and if he didn't know the answer, he'd find out.

    Eventually, he got sick of the low pay, at least according to him. More likely, he was tired of doing the work of everybody else. He went to Best Buy, and works there today.

    Now, I drive by PC Club, and I'll see one guy leaning on a counter, another picking his nose, and one running the register, with a line of several customers.

    PC Club has pretty much lost my business. Oh, I'll stop by for the odd fan or IDE cable, but here there are a lot of other places one can go for their computer needs, and save money to boot. Fry's Electronics, CompUSA, Circuit City, and Best Buy are all within five minutes drive from your Burbank store, and although some have the same, um, quality of service as PC Club, others have people that are more than happy to do their job.

    As for me, I'll buy from Newegg, or more distant stores. One is 40 miles away, and I'll go their for something important before I go to PC Club.

    When I read the review, I was only slightly surprised. Without people like Erik to carry the load and represent your company in the best light, there's little doubt PC Club is going the way of Egghead and such. Of course, when you shut your doors without so much as a How do you do? to your employees, the good ones (the gogetters) at your remaining stores are going to immediately start looking for other employment. They aren't going to wait around to see if they'll be jobless tomorrow.

    I'm curious, do the folks who made the decision to shut those stores even consider the fact that their employees have to pay rent, pay for a car, eat, and so forth? Were they loosing enough money at these stores that it was worth it to abandon their loyal employees, possibly driving some to be evicted from their homes?

    Here's a thought. If PC Club treats their own employees this way, how do they intend to treat their customers?

    Well, that question was swiftly answered in this review. Just abandon them too!

    I can promise you, if I plunk down a grand or two for a laptop, which is a significant expense for me, and I find I've been dropped like a hot potato, well, there will be impressive results.

    There's no threat there, because there's not a chance in heck I'd buy anything from PC Club again in the near future. If I need a power cable splitter, I'll find one elsewhere, even if it costs me big bucks in gas to go there.

    I guess I got nastier than I intended to. The thought of a bunch of people going to work just to find the doors chained shut strikes a big nerve with me.

    The point is PC Club has a LOT of work to do. You must rebuild trust, both in your employees as well as your customers. Abandoning your tech support service, even for a few days, is inexcusable, more so in this age, when communication is as easy as typing a few words on a web site. Abandoning your employees is far beyond inexcusable. Perhaps evil is too strong a word, but not by much.

    You absolutely MUST make rounds to your stores, and shake them up. The Burbank store isn't alone, as I've gotten the same level of disservice from Anaheim and Woodland Hills, although I admit I was just dropping in once or twice. I'm sure I don't need to tell you that EVERY potential customer who enters that store is seeing the absolute best your company has to offer, in their minds. If all they see are slugs, that is your identity, regardless of how many marketing slogans you toss about.

    I would very much like to see PC Club crawl it's way up from it's current hole. I would much rather be able to hop to the local store and pick up the parts I need, rather than ordering them from another county/state/country. It would be nice to see the big brand stores having to compete with a smaller underdog type store. I know I'm not alone. If there was a thread complaining about, say, Fry's Electronics, I doubt anybody would waste their time typing these posts in the vain hope of these issues being corrected.

    I do admire your guts in showing up to this thread and discussing these issues. It shows there's at least one person at PC Club who gives a darn. Printing this thread, and giving a copy to upper management, might produce some results. Hopefully.
     
  11. robberbaron

    robberbaron [H]ardness Supreme

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    The goal of any retail business is to make money with the exchange of goods and services. Welcome to market economics. :rolleyes:
    What do you think Dell's or HP's mission statement is? Any better? The computer industry is so saturated with competition that actually MAKING MONEY doing it can sometimes result in drastic cuts in quality. Dell uses prison labor and witholds windows CD's, for starters. Apparently PC Club doesnt want to give out tech support for web customers. It's a fun business, I'm telling you.
     
  12. TheReverend

    TheReverend n00b

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    I'm impressed that I am getting lectured on economics when I am clearly just doing a parody to emphasize my point about the company.

    Thanks for missing my point entirely.
     
  13. AudioCra-Z

    AudioCra-Z n00b

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    Ok, I figured I need to chime in, because I have a view on both sides of the counter at PC Club.

    First off, let me address the audacious comment that PC Club employees would steal ram out of customers computers. Please, not everybody is that gulible. There is no way a company can get away with pulling stunts like that, and not be pulled into a courtroom. Plus, can provide proof that it actually happened? I looked up at the BBB, and didn't see a whole lot for the AZ stores. (you can see them HERE ) You would figure that if a company was ripping people like that, there would be some lawsuits going on... I searched, didn't see any. Basically, what I am getting at, is some people will hate people/places/things that they will make up stories to slander them, no matter how crazy they sound. Also, if you saw this happening, why didn't said person report it.... Hmm? I find it funny that somebody would complain now, but not say something when the customers were getting ripped off... kinda funny actually.

    Ok, as for my experience:

    I worked for the local PC Club for several years. It was fun at first, but when you work for a company, and they really want you to move up the carreer ladder, you would expect some incentive to do it. Well, PC Club doesn't. I went from being a Tech/Sales to a MTP/Tech/Sales with NO pay increase. The shitty part of that is you are expected to do more with the store, but still keep the same sales you did when you wern't management. (for those who don't know what MTP means, it means Manager Training Program) Now, I know things are different from store to store, but when you take on more of a responsibility, and more stress, a company should compensate that employee due to the loss of money they will have with the loss sales. I never saw anybody (or I would fire their ass on the spot) who stole/cheated from a customer. IT DIDN'T HAPPEN! But short changing employees is PC Club's motto. I think I worked there for around 2-3 years, and I left so I could have a better paycheck with 1/18th the stress.

    Now, I am head of my own department in a company (I won't say who so people dont' think I am trying to advirtise for them) I love to shop from PC Club. I know that they will treat me (and my company) well because over the last 6 months I have replaced 12+ computers with Enpowers, and have been happy doing it. I don't take my negative personal experience cloud my judgement, because I know I am no longer an employee, as a customer I am more valuable to them. Plus, I love the quality of computers I get from PC Club, at the competative price. To this day, I havn't had 1 single problem with any of the computers or products I have bought from PC Club. As long as one stays here in town, I will always take my buisness quotes there. I can custom spec computers to my companies needs, sometimes even over the phone, and when they are in and ready to pick up, they say "Come and get 'em!". I don't worry about PC Clubs Enpowers that much because they use parts that I can easily find replacement parts once they go out of warrenty, unlike the stupid Dells that they had before I started that are already starting to die.

    Well, I have babbled enough. Pretty much, in my opinon of course, PC Club is an awsome place to shop. Now when it comes to a job, I tell everybody avoid that place with prejudice. I think that anybody who buys online stay away from PC Club until another review can be done to test PC Club's customer service at corporate (where all internet sales are handled). But, if you deal with your local PC Club, I strongly advise visiting the store.

    Now, for those people who have had bad experiences (weither you are going to visit PC Club again or not) To call corporate, or e-mail them (which is easily found on their site) and TELL THEM! I know when I worked at PC Club, corporate took every customer complaint seriously, and I know from experience, we HAD to handle the situation, or else corporate was, weither we liked it or not! I saw managers replaced due to high levels of customer complaints, so people only complaining on a forum, and not to the company itself, always sounds fishy to me.

    My 2 cents......
     
  14. lovemyPC

    lovemyPC Limp Gawd

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    Actually Best Buy does not award their sales reps commissions - neither does Circuit City. Both retailers removed the commission program for exactly the reasons you state here.

    Sorry for the repeat post - I see a number of people have pointed this out. I would disagree with the chap who argued for the commission system - if you're looking for an experienced and smarter than you sales person to talk to you, why are you going to Best Buy? It's not their strength and they don't pretend it is. That's why it's called mainstream.
     
  15. lovemyPC

    lovemyPC Limp Gawd

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    Icejon - can you speak to the changes PC Club has implemented to prevent such atrocious customer service?

    Support is usually the first piece to go when OEMs look to cut costs - check out Dell and outsourcing to India. Support is expensive, no doubt. Why these OEMS don't realize that cutting support means ultimately cutting credibility and sales, I don't know. Your reputation is easy to lose and almost impossible to regain.

    I'm not trying to say that all OEMs are run by evil men who only focus on the bottom line or that boutiques are just in it for the love of computers, but it seems to me that boutiques generally provide a better overall customer experience (support included). Maybe because they're a little closer to the customer? When you do $55 billion in sales, it's easy to lose sight of the customer.

    Since support drains revenue instead of producing it, it's easy to see why PC Club would choose to make cuts there in order to shore up profitability for the rest of the company.
     
  16. Icejon

    Icejon PC Club Mkt Coordinator

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    This review helped us alot here in headquarters it shook us up. We have never "cut" anything especially would never "cut" the support. It was because of increasing a huge inflow of service calls, increasing demand, and increased sales our support was completely overloaded for about a week coincidentally with the review. Right now we are actively staffing our support department and all calls made in normal business hours 9-6 PST will be answered by prompt and friendly staff.

    This review was at a rather bad time in our company now things are different. Now things have stabilized quite well and I am very confident we can bring the value of an OEM computer boutique (great prices, good components, great service, great warranty) to your grandmas, sisters and just every day end users. That is I reiterate, the main advantage of PC Club the best of local stores, online service and customer value.
     
  17. AudioCra-Z

    AudioCra-Z n00b

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    Uh, sorry to say, but that still doesn't explain the lack of a phone number on the site. That doesn't explain why calls to non service employees went unanswered. I just looked at the site right now, and after 10 min of wondering around, there still is no phone number easily found... are you still "hiding" it? Why are you hiding it? Here are a few suggestions:

    Under "Support" at the bottom of the main page, there should be a "Enpower Help Center" or something of the like. Right now, you are only directing people elsewhere, with no suggestiong to "Support" on the systems they bought. The only thing I could find even close was under "Company Information" -> "Contact Us", but under that has nothing about Enpower system help, it doesn't help in this situation. If you remember, that was one of the compaints: NO SYSTEM SUPPORT CONTACT INFORMATION! Obviously you havn't read all of the review. ( Spidy sense is telling me selective reading....)
     
  18. Bedlam

    Bedlam [H]Lite

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    Thanks for the review on this notebook, it give all of us an example of what can happen when a good thing goes really BAD..I think the price/perfomance for the notebook seemed good, but you ran into a major customer service issue which just ruined the experience.

    I ran 2 of the PC Clubs here in Colorado, some of the notebooks we sold were kinda mid to low end models..and we had problems with them all the time. Some of them were GREAT..and I loved working on them. Unfortunately, you just have to take the good with the bad...buyer beware I guess.

    Wish you guys would have reviewed any of the systems they carried from AsusTek..those were some great systems.

    Anyway, I sold hundreds, if not thousands of computers at my time with pc club..and spent a lot of our days trying to legitimize the company to our customers.."no, we are not some fly by night company who is going to be gone tomorrow" and thats exactly what happened, all the customers I sold these systems to are going to have the EXACT same experience as you guys did...a complete failure and lack of support for an entire product line. Even as a manager there were plenty of times I couldnt get in touch with someone at the corperate office easily..it was frustrating.

    However, they mention that if you go to one of the stores you can get "great service" well, ask the customers of any of the stores that closed when they had their computers in there..how they feel about that great service. If your system was in for repair, it just got packed up and shipped off to California in a shipping container...with no notice to you, you can HOPE that you at least got your stuff back, but it might take a few months to find it..if thats great service, I dont know what is.

    I know all the pc club folks that replied in this thread, its really tragic what has happened here, they caught you with your pants down and you got a crappy review because of it. With the state of the company right now, I would expect that if they got another system tomorrow, they would have exactly the same problems.

    What about customers here in Colorado that were promised "insta care" service? They had to ship their notebook to california...which in all likelyhood will take WEEKS to get back..its not a service guarantee, its a big joke. I feel bad for all the customers I sold computers to here, hopefully they dont have problems.. :(
     
  19. shadowkill

    shadowkill n00b

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    Though it should be said this guy used to be a manger at PC Club in Seattle and then Bellevue and I was one of their best salesguys... I can say he's TOTALLY right.