Seagate learns important PR lesson: keep the customers happy!

First, a disclaimer. Seagate is one of the sponsors of FastCompanyTV (the video network I manage) and has been a great partner of mine for two years.

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Seagate (maker of hard drives and storage devices) has been getting slammed on forums and blogs the past couple of days. Partly because they had a bad batch of hard drives and didn’t properly recognize or fix the problem quickly. Partly because they removed a few anti-Seagate threads from its forums.

I wasn’t asked my opinion about either of these things, but if I had I would have recommended that they jump on the problems and take care of customers quickly and I’d never recommend removing nasty posts unless they explicitly broke some rule like using nasty language or being racist or something like that. Why? A happy customer will tell maybe a handful of people. If you are really lucky, like Apple, they’ll blog about it.

But an angry customer? They’ll tell 30 times more people. And, because negative news gets more attention, it’ll spread much, much faster.

And an angry customer that had a post deleted? They’ll find 20 other places to spread their anger and get you to pay attention to them. At Microsoft I called this “throwing a brick through the window to get your attention.” Incoming!

A great reputation can go down in flames in a weekend. Which is what was going on. Bricks were flying through the window and, like usually happens when bricks fly, that gets people to start seeing the implications to the business and paying attention to customers again and making sure they are happy.

Which is what Seagate was working this weekend.

One thing, if you have troubles with your Seagate drives, let me know. I’ll find out what’s up, as I did in this case. It might take a day or two but we’ll get you taken care of. This is one reason I love Seagate. They’ve always taken care of problems for me and I love their products and we use them all over the place (and I’ve bought most of my own Seagate drives too, both before and after they’ve been a sponsor).

The folks I talked with at Seagate apologized for not taking care of this issue faster and better.

Here’s the details they just sent me (Engadget also covered this news):

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Seagate has isolated a potential firmware issue in certain products, including some Barracuda 7200.11 hard drives and related drive families based on this product platform, manufactured through December 2008. In some circumstances, the data on the hard drives may become inaccessible to the user when the host system is powered on*.

As part of our commitment to customer satisfaction, we are offering a free firmware upgrade to those with affected products. To determine whether your product is affected, please visit the Seagate Support web site at http://seagate.custkb.com/seagate/crm/selfservice/search.jsp?DocId=207931.

Support is also available through Seagate’s call center: 1-800-SEAGATE (1 800 732-4283)

Customers can expedite assistance by sending an email to Seagate (discsupport@seagate.com). Please include the following disk drive information: model number, serial number and current firmware revision. We will respond, promptly, to your email request with appropriate instructions. There is no data loss associated with this issue, and the data still resides on the drive. But if you are unable to access your data due to this issue, Seagate will provide free data recovery services. Seagate will work with you to expedite a remedy to minimize any disruption to you or your business.

For a list of international telephone numbers to Seagate Support and alternative methods of contact, please access http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/about/contact_us/
*There is no safety issue with these products.

129 thoughts on “Seagate learns important PR lesson: keep the customers happy!

  1. OK, if Seagate “learned” to keep their customers happy, why didn’t they do it in this case? They abandon their non-Windows users (like me!) entirely, put out a rushed “fix” which actually bricks some drives itself … happy? No. Reluctant to touch another Seagate drive – not just because of the product fault, which could happen to anyone, but because of this botched handling? Yes.

    I’ll admit it made me happy in this instance – happy to be a Samsung customer rather than a Seagate one for my batch of new 1Tb drives – but it’s not exactly a PR triumph for them.

  2. OK, if Seagate “learned” to keep their customers happy, why didn’t they do it in this case? They abandon their non-Windows users (like me!) entirely, put out a rushed “fix” which actually bricks some drives itself … happy? No. Reluctant to touch another Seagate drive – not just because of the product fault, which could happen to anyone, but because of this botched handling? Yes.

    I’ll admit it made me happy in this instance – happy to be a Samsung customer rather than a Seagate one for my batch of new 1Tb drives – but it’s not exactly a PR triumph for them.

  3. OK, if Seagate “learned” to keep their customers happy, why didn’t they do it in this case? They abandon their non-Windows users (like me!) entirely, put out a rushed “fix” which actually bricks some drives itself … happy? No. Reluctant to touch another Seagate drive – not just because of the product fault, which could happen to anyone, but because of this botched handling? Yes.

    I’ll admit it made me happy in this instance – happy to be a Samsung customer rather than a Seagate one for my batch of new 1Tb drives – but it’s not exactly a PR triumph for them.

  4. In my opinion, it has shattered the illusion that WD and Seagate are the only two reliable HDD manufacturers. No PR can change that, only make it hurt less than if it was handled poorly.

  5. In my opinion, it has shattered the illusion that WD and Seagate are the only two reliable HDD manufacturers. No PR can change that, only make it hurt less than if it was handled poorly.

  6. In my opinion, it has shattered the illusion that WD and Seagate are the only two reliable HDD manufacturers. No PR can change that, only make it hurt less than if it was handled poorly.

  7. Sadly Seagate gets an F on this. I happened to get (5) drives impacted by this situation.

    Ding #1: Seagate provided info for PC users only and not Mac
    Ding #2: Seagate not only has limited times for phone support (super lame), they didn’t even have their phones up and running during the hours they said they would.
    Ding #3: Seagate was unresponsive in emails sent in requesting assistance to the situation

    The end result…
    I’ve returned the drives to the vendor I purchased them from in exchange for highly rated Samsung drives. Mind you highly rated by a vocal minority of my social network that spoke up on Facebook. In addition my once loyal following of Seagate is gone… likely forever. If I can’t get the support I need then why do business with them?!

    To rub salt in my wound. Had my drives been working I would have been able to successfully backup and duplicate my production drive. Instead while waiting two days for a response from Seagate my production drive had a catastrophic failure. The make of the drive… Seagate (a la Maxtor). After all of this I’m done with Seagate.

  8. Sadly Seagate gets an F on this. I happened to get (5) drives impacted by this situation.

    Ding #1: Seagate provided info for PC users only and not Mac
    Ding #2: Seagate not only has limited times for phone support (super lame), they didn’t even have their phones up and running during the hours they said they would.
    Ding #3: Seagate was unresponsive in emails sent in requesting assistance to the situation

    The end result…
    I’ve returned the drives to the vendor I purchased them from in exchange for highly rated Samsung drives. Mind you highly rated by a vocal minority of my social network that spoke up on Facebook. In addition my once loyal following of Seagate is gone… likely forever. If I can’t get the support I need then why do business with them?!

    To rub salt in my wound. Had my drives been working I would have been able to successfully backup and duplicate my production drive. Instead while waiting two days for a response from Seagate my production drive had a catastrophic failure. The make of the drive… Seagate (a la Maxtor). After all of this I’m done with Seagate.

  9. Sadly Seagate gets an F on this. I happened to get (5) drives impacted by this situation.

    Ding #1: Seagate provided info for PC users only and not Mac
    Ding #2: Seagate not only has limited times for phone support (super lame), they didn’t even have their phones up and running during the hours they said they would.
    Ding #3: Seagate was unresponsive in emails sent in requesting assistance to the situation

    The end result…
    I’ve returned the drives to the vendor I purchased them from in exchange for highly rated Samsung drives. Mind you highly rated by a vocal minority of my social network that spoke up on Facebook. In addition my once loyal following of Seagate is gone… likely forever. If I can’t get the support I need then why do business with them?!

    To rub salt in my wound. Had my drives been working I would have been able to successfully backup and duplicate my production drive. Instead while waiting two days for a response from Seagate my production drive had a catastrophic failure. The make of the drive… Seagate (a la Maxtor). After all of this I’m done with Seagate.

  10. PS – I claim the coining of Seagategate, as well as Loser Generated Content, that one got tossed all over, too bad didn’t copyright it…joooke. ;)

  11. PS – I claim the coining of Seagategate, as well as Loser Generated Content, that one got tossed all over, too bad didn’t copyright it…joooke. ;)

  12. PS – I claim the coining of Seagategate, as well as Loser Generated Content, that one got tossed all over, too bad didn’t copyright it…joooke. ;)

  13. Seagate learns important PR lesson: make good products.

    Watkins and the Maxtor digestion, made them lose their way.

  14. Seagate learns important PR lesson: make good products.

    Watkins and the Maxtor digestion, made them lose their way.

  15. This firmware upgrade has killed my ST3500320AS drive… Thank you Segate!
    Now the firmware is gone (“This file has been temporarily taken offline as of Jan 19, 2008 8PM CST for validation.”), so is my drive and my data (I have a backup, but need a new drive).

  16. This firmware upgrade has killed my ST3500320AS drive… Thank you Segate!
    Now the firmware is gone (“This file has been temporarily taken offline as of Jan 19, 2008 8PM CST for validation.”), so is my drive and my data (I have a backup, but need a new drive).

  17. Warning IT BRICKED MY HD !!!

    i tried the new posted firmware for st3500320as (2 posted as sd1a the same day(the first wasnt able to flash)

    i had the 500gb sd15

    the flash was successful, i cycled power as told and when i boot

    the bios detects

    the 1st master cdrom(jmicron)

    the 2nd slave dvdrom(jmicron)

    the third HD C: samsung

    the 4th device hd slave(seagate)

    then the bios boot identifies

    each device cdrom/dvdrom with their model type and brand

    the third device samasung hd400LJ

    and at the 4th

    but after i have a “stop” hd error

    if i type f1 to continue , vista isnt able to load properly

    i had to disconnect the seagate in order to able to load vista

    My motherboard Asus P5WDH deluxe

    i tried to go into the bios,

    i tried to reflash, the flashing process went right except it doesnt solve the boot process

    the scan feature is functionning detecting st3500320as as SD1A !!

    thanks M….. at seagate

    what else now a third firmware post this day???

  18. Warning IT BRICKED MY HD !!!

    i tried the new posted firmware for st3500320as (2 posted as sd1a the same day(the first wasnt able to flash)

    i had the 500gb sd15

    the flash was successful, i cycled power as told and when i boot

    the bios detects

    the 1st master cdrom(jmicron)

    the 2nd slave dvdrom(jmicron)

    the third HD C: samsung

    the 4th device hd slave(seagate)

    then the bios boot identifies

    each device cdrom/dvdrom with their model type and brand

    the third device samasung hd400LJ

    and at the 4th

    but after i have a “stop” hd error

    if i type f1 to continue , vista isnt able to load properly

    i had to disconnect the seagate in order to able to load vista

    My motherboard Asus P5WDH deluxe

    i tried to go into the bios,

    i tried to reflash, the flashing process went right except it doesnt solve the boot process

    the scan feature is functionning detecting st3500320as as SD1A !!

    thanks M….. at seagate

    what else now a third firmware post this day???

  19. Warning IT BRICKED MY HD !!!

    i tried the new posted firmware for st3500320as (2 posted as sd1a the same day(the first wasnt able to flash)

    i had the 500gb sd15

    the flash was successful, i cycled power as told and when i boot

    the bios detects

    the 1st master cdrom(jmicron)

    the 2nd slave dvdrom(jmicron)

    the third HD C: samsung

    the 4th device hd slave(seagate)

    then the bios boot identifies

    each device cdrom/dvdrom with their model type and brand

    the third device samasung hd400LJ

    and at the 4th

    but after i have a “stop” hd error

    if i type f1 to continue , vista isnt able to load properly

    i had to disconnect the seagate in order to able to load vista

    My motherboard Asus P5WDH deluxe

    i tried to go into the bios,

    i tried to reflash, the flashing process went right except it doesnt solve the boot process

    the scan feature is functionning detecting st3500320as as SD1A !!

    thanks M….. at seagate

    what else now a third firmware post this day???

  20. Hi,
    related to my post above 1:44 pm
    the firmware link has been updated
    Released as of 1/19/09 3:17pm.. Old one was released on1/18/08 at6:49 does not work.

  21. Hi,
    related to my post above 1:44 pm
    the firmware link has been updated
    Released as of 1/19/09 3:17pm.. Old one was released on1/18/08 at6:49 does not work.

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