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HP Calculator Users Were the Most Passionate Customers

Posted by Dale Zezula on 25 Sept 2005, 9:15 p.m.

I used to work for the Analytical Products Group of Hewlett-Packard in a local Sales Office.

I was always amazed because the calculator products elicited such a response from users.

The Administrative Assistants hated handling Calculator calls because the calls were from people who were extremely passionate.

The owner of a $200 calculator was usually more difficult to deal with than the administrator of a multi-million dollar computer system.

Typically, when a calculator owner with a malfunctioning calculator would phone in, they would LOUDLY complain about it. When asked if they would like a refund, the response would be "Oh no, I love my caalculator. I would never give it up, I just need it fixed fast."

I recall, sitting next to the local Printer/Pheriphals District Manager when he was given a "problem" customer. I felt the need to eavesdrop to see how he would handle the problem. The customer was a student at the local Technical Institute, and his HP calculator was dead. He was having an exam in 2 days and was frantic to get the calculator working again.

The District Manager told the customer to calm down, go to the Technical Institute's bookstore and purchase another HP calculator. Send him the bill, and he would refund him the amount. The customer was obviously relieved. When I asked the DM about the call, he laughed, said that yes, he understood the customer's concern, and that if we treated the customer right, when he graduated, he would be the manager of a multi-million dollar computer centre that would buy HP equipment.

This was one of the moments that I realized that the original Hewlett-Packard was a very special company.


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