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In a market where customer service often means getting filtered through a phone tree and tech support means talking to a faceless scripted hourly worker, you may feel like you just don’t matter to your vendors anymore.

Some companies, however, may recognize that in this kind of low-touch environment, face-to-face connections go a long way.

Hewlett-Packard in September launched the first official event in its ExeConnect offering — a program designed to bring HP’s top executives to meet with HP solution provider channel partners and their customers at partner-requested events.

HP Channel Chief Adrian Jones said the ExeConnect program is a formalization of meetings the company has actually been having on a regular basis for a while now. But with the official launch of the program, HP is promoting it to more solution provider channel partners and making more HP executives available for events.

“We wanted to formalize it so that partners have visibility that we have a program that they can connect into,” Jones said. HP’s solution provider channel partners can request a meeting through their business partner managers. Jones estimates that turnaround time for scheduling meetings is about a week. The meetings also help HP executives stay on top of what’s going on in the channel.

“For HP, the formalization of the program helps make sure all of our executives are aware of goals and challenges we have in the channel every day,” Jones said.

HP ExeConnect will also look at CEO Mark Hurd’s schedule and set up HP solution provider channel partner events in towns that Hurd visits.

The first official event for the new ExeConnect program brought Hurd and other HP executives to an event held by HP solution provider channel partner STA (Systems Technology Associates), based in Tustin, Calif. The event, held at the Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles on Sept. 3, let STA executives and STA customers share their top IT concerns with Hurd and other HP executives.

Top issues at the meeting included whether customers should continue to buy HP hardware and software or look to outsourcing IT services in a different way, and the best ways to take advantage of virtualization and cloud computing.