30 January 2008

Tech support at its worst

As you may know, I'm working through a Microsoft e-learning course at the moment. Having had a few problems with the service I've been trying to extract some common sense from their support services. Having failed to get anything vaguely helpful I thought I'd ask them about who they were, and I think the following response really sums up the level of idiocy I have encountered thus far.

When asked a simple direct question about who I was communicating with, the response is either hilarious or depressing, I'm not sure which. It would seem that before they can tell me where they are based, they need to know what operating system I run, what version of flash I have, what my login is etc etc. Talk about customer disservice. The finishing touch for me is the addition of upbeat advertising added to a response to an evidently already irritated customer.

Here are the last two messages for your entertainment (identifiers stripped out):

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: MCP Ref: C ###### \ site broken. (########)
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 16:03:12 +0000
From: Tim
To: emeamcp@msdirectservices.com

I have a couple of questions for you:

What company are you directly employed by?
Where are you based?



The highly considered response:

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: MCP Ref: C ##### \ site broken. (#######################)
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2008 15:59:21 +0100 (CET)
From: emeamcp@msdirectservices.com
To: Tim

Hello Tim,

Thank you for contacting Learning Manager Support.

In order for us to process this request, we need the following
information from you:

- Step by step screen shots of the entire process including the error

- Your log in Live ID and the Unique ID associated to it.

To obtain your Unique ID, please follow the steps provided:

1) Visit http://account.live.com

2) Sign in using your passport account.

3) After singing in you will see a page with more options. Please click
on 'Registered information'

4) At the bottom of this page you will see your Unique ID. It will look
like this: '000XXXXXXXXXXXXX'

- Detailed description of what the problem/issue is that you are

- What is the Operating System that you are using?

- What is the Internet Browser and version that you are using?

- What version of Flash and Shockwave are you using?

- Screenshot of the following webpage: https://learning.microsoft.com/Commerce/PurchaseHistory.aspx

While some of the above information may not seem applicable to your
issue, it is important that we must receive them in order to best
resolve your issue.

Please also note that we unfortunately are not allowed to provide you
any information about our location.

Looking forward to receiving your reply.

Kind Regards

Natalia Wojtaszek

Microsoft Regional Service Center
E-Mail: emeamcp@msdirectservices.com
Tel.: 0800-9170758 or 0800 0960137
Fax: ++49 5 24 11 79 60 77

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It's worth noting that this is totally consistent with the level of service I have experienced with Microsoft e-learning. As far as I can fathom, the e-learning system has been set up on a pile of servers and then been left to rot whilst paying customers are fobbed off by a nameless and faceless 3rd party. It may be profitable in the short term, but this kind of behaviour may well be the cracks in the foundations of Microsoft's empire. I for one am certainly plotting a course for fairer pastures.