Saturday, December 6, 2008

Skinit Twitter Promotion

I was pleased recently to be selected to receive a new laptop skin from HP for my MacBook through a promotion run by @HPHolidayCheer on Twitter. I love the simple look of the white macbook, but since I recently purchased enough machines to qualify for an OS X site license, I need a way to tell mine apart without booting it. This will fit the bill.

In exchange, I'll offer some kind and constructive criticism for HP on the ordering process.

Great image: this was my most important evaluation criteria, and the HP folks aced it. The image quality is great and the print quality is excellent. I chose a particularly tricky image - a close up of a furry beagle - and the image is clear and not pixelated.

Easy on, EZ-off: the sticker was easy to apply and remove, without any significant residue. I didn't feel fearful of putting this on my laptop and ruining it. It went on without major problems for air bubbles or wrinkles. The 3-step instructions were clear and basic - "clean, peel, apply" and printed on highly readable glossy paper, double sided with my invoice on the reverse.

Shipping undamaged: the skin came in a shipping tube with plastic endcaps that seemed quite oversized for it. On the plus side, it kept my dog enjoyed chewing it up later. I would think that a smaller sized tube without endcaps - such as u-line's Snap-Seal-Tubes would be more environmentally friendly. And they cost 11¢ less per unit for quantities >500. Frugality is the new green.

On the other hand... what is a business day for HP? I ordered the skin on 11/22, and had to calculate in a convoluted way when to expect the skin. Eventually I figured it should ship by 12/2. Should I as a customer care about when HP is open or not? I think it would be more sensible to position days as in calendar days, and just add days to your service level agreement to account for weekends. So, instead of saying 'ships within 2-5 business days' just say 'ships within 1 week'. That would be much easier to understand. And makes much more sense than expectation setting with a convoluted phrase such as the following, quoted from the HP website: "There can be a variance in the length of the production process depending on a variety of factors."

An inflexible customizer: It was a minimum 5 step process to order. It took a bit to get to the customizer in the first place. 3 steps into it, I find out Flickr isn't supported. And there's no way back, so I had to relaunch the customizer. After relaunching, I enter a flickr image url which doesn't end in .jpg. The tool refuses to acknowledge that this is an image and the image can't be uploaded until I backup, restart the customizer, and rename the image. Note I've launched the customer 3 times now. I doubt if I was paying for a skin that I would have hung around that long to go through this . I hope the folks at HP can check out a few other image manipulation sites for some easier ways of doing this (Shutterfly.com is pretty nice to work with). Additionally, the customizer did not offer options for standard Apple laptop sizes, although they did have the iphone standards available.

Updates on my order: I received an order confirmation immediately upon placement of my order, which was great. The confirmation email said I would receive a later email. On 12/2, I hadn't yet received an update, so I emailed customer service. I received an email later the same day with the tracking number, showing the Skin had shipped on 11/25. Whatever happened to my shipping notice? Lost on the ether, I suppose.

Thanks to the folks at HP for sending me the sticker as part of the promotion on twitter!

1 comment:

Eva Lyford said...

FYI skinit is now offering Apple options - good job guys! http://www.skinit.com/devices/laptop/apple_laptop