Please take a few moments to fill out this quick survey on customer hardware expectations:

Customer Expectations Survey (Survey No Longer Active)

Let’s just get this out now: BP oil spill and iPhone 4 Launch. Ready… FIGHT! Discuss/argue amongst yourselves.

Regardless of how you feel about either of these events, one thing is clear: No matter what walk of life you come from, we all have expectations. Expectations about how things should be. How people should act, how people should talk, how people should think. As consumers, we have expectations about the products we buy, the companies who make them, and the companies we buy them from. No other sector is this more apparent than that of electronics, namely *cough* computers *cough*.

Sooo, when things don’t meet our expectations, things get interesting. Emotions progress from bewilderment, to mild disappointment, to annoyance, to simmering anger, to boiling rage, to HEADS ARE GOING TO ROLL. Before you know it, it’s the APOCALYPSE NOW and anything that could possibly be done to quell your rage and soothe your wounded soul just. won’t. do. It’s too late. The damage has been done.

Why is this? In this day of technology and information, where you barely have to THINK about things like, I don’t know, THE COORDINATE SYSTEM, or G-CODE, in the product design process, why do we find it so easy to feel like technology is somehow making our lives harder or is not doing enough? Is it because in return so much is expected of us, or is it just human nature? Moreover, why is it so easy to blame someone else?

Regardless, I don’t really know if anyone is completely immune from this phenomenon. Case in point. I just got a brand spanking new 6-core CPU, 12GB RAM, 1GB Graphics card, 27″ monitor, 10k hard drive, 64-bit system to do modeling, 3D rendering, and video editing. Fastest computer I’ve ever owned or even worked on. Did I have high expectations for this new machine? Absolutely. Consider my old rig: Dual-core CPU, 2GB RAM, 512MB Graphics card, 19″ monitor, 10k drive, 32-bit. Ok, so 3 times as many cores, 6 times as much memory, twice as much graphics memory, a way bigger screen, and a better OS. I thought to myself, “Clearly this beast is going to be going so fast I may need new windows after breaking the sound barrier.” High expectations indeed.

So how was I to react when the first day, my monitor started doing a strange thing where it kept saying it was “locked” and doing weird things on the display? Did something break? A driver issue? A loose cable? Maybe it was defective? How dare this pitiful monitor inconvenience me with these strange hieroglyphics! After trying to calm down, and doing a little bit of research on my own, it turns out that I must have hit a key on the display’s controls in just the right way as I was setting it up to cause it to go into lock mode. A simple push/hold of the right button, and presto, monitor all better now. In other words, it was really just a mild case of ESO (Equipment Smater than Operator)

Other realities that have had to sink in: Yes, the computer is fast, and yes, it is way better than the old computer, but my expectation that I should be able to open large models with upwards of 10,000 components in SolidWorks, fully resolved, and spin the thing around at dizzying speed with no lag as well as make in-context edits with impunity, is probably a tad unrealistic. My expectation that I should be able to open over 600 part files all at the same time with out slowing down or locking up the system, as well as play uncompressed .AVI at full HD resolution with absolutely no stuttering? Yeah, a bit unrealistic as well. (Note: all these things were actually tried and lamented over)

What IS a realistic expectation, though, is that COMPARED to what I previously had, I could expect to see substantial gains in productivity and time savings, again, in comparison to what I was previously used to. This expectation was EASILY exceeded, especially on a recent rendering project with a looming deadline. My old workstation completed the image in 8 hours 46 minutes. New shiny machine got the same image done in 1 hour 24 minutes. Over six times faster than what I was used to! I needed to render one more image to complete the project, and time was a tickin’. Needless to say, the machine that was once giving me “problems” was now the machine that that was allowing me to meet my deadline.

Then again, there are always those times where something or someone has legitimately dropped the ball and have been deserving of every bit of our disdain for not living up to our expectations.

So, what are YOUR expectations when it comes to Computer Hardware? What about your expectations for Customer Service? By letting us know what your expectations are, we can better understand how to meet and exceed your expectations… or let you know how off your rocker you are.

“Laugh and the world laughs with you… Snarl and you get better service.” – Bulldog on poster from the ’80s

Please take a few moments fill out this quick survey on customer hardware expectations:

Customer Expectations Survey (Survey No Longer Active)