HP's Whitman also encouraged audience members to ask questions. "You don't have to be shy," she said. "Remember, I ran for public office. You can't hurt my feelings."
One customer asked Whitman why he can call Microsoft with a problem and have a single rep respond, while it might require calling six HP reps, some of whom may have left the company, to respond.
She acknowledged this has been an HP issue, and that HP is working to ensure customers know who to contact for help. However, she said, it is a big task, one that may take two to three years.
"I can also say, if you are working with a partner, that partners should have someone who can help you," she said.
Whitman also publicly announced her email address, and encouraged anyone with an issue they cannot solve to contact her directly.
In response to another customer's question about how HP might raise its service and support quality, Whitman said service and support are a part of HP's DNA but had not been measured in the last few years. "I'm a big believer in if you can't measure it, you can't fix it," she said.
That is changing, especially with the help of solution providers, Whitman said. "I know we've made a lot of progress," she said. "I can see it in my metrics."
Another customer asked about the difficulties of working across international borders where he faces as many as eight different SKU numbers for the same product, which complicates procurement.
Whitman drew audience applause when she said that this is a priority for HP, and that it should be 80 percent solved by year-end. She cited the classic 80-20 rule and said that 80 percent of HP's revenue comes from 14 countries.
"I'm all over those 14 countries. ... [Maybe] I'll be here next year and you'll say, Meg, why didn't you fix it in Jordan," she said.
PUBLISHED JULY 30, 2013