printerThe folks at the Customer Assurance Department at HP sure want me to know what’s going on with my printer. They want me to know it’s ready when I turn on my computer. They warn me when I am low on ink. When I have disconnect the cord from my laptop, they tell me th eprinter is no longer available (because apparently I could not figure out this cause and effect on my own). Three or four times a day the printer driver pops up a dialog box on my desktop that it is READY! It’s just waiting for me to print something. It’s like a five year old diving into a swimming pool. “Watch me, Daddy! Watch me, Daddy!, Daddy, are you watching?” Sheesh.

In my business as a Portland marketing coach, I’m a big fan of intelligent troubleshooting. I don’t have a problem with remote diagnostics and gladly choose it over a phone call to a Support Center in Bangalore or the Phillipines. But do I need to be nagged constantly throughout the day that my printer is ready to be used? Help!!

The opposite case are the Microsoft updates that come skulking in the night and download onto my computer when I’m asleep, rebooting my laptop without my say so. Yes, I know security updates are vital, but these surprise reboots are teaching me faster than the NW Green movement to turn off my computer at night, saving energy and the secret midnight raids by the update squad.

The point here is that companies searching for business growth need to find that balance to bring you relevant, context-appropriate updates. They need to treat their customers with respect, neither bugging them with useless info, nor hijacking their customers’ laptops when they are asleep.

So, HP, if you could please, with your next printer driver release – sit on your hands and behave. Microsoft, go ahead and ask my permission and get my response before you reboot me. A little respect, please.