I work in information technology, providing outsourced IT management and system administration services. Sometimes, as part of my job, I must call on technical support from vendors of hardware and software, such as Dell, HP, Microsoft, and Intuit.
In the last few years, many companies have decided to save money by off-shoring their tech support call centers. While I am a big fan of outsourcing, (mostly because without outsourcing, I’d be out of a job), off-shoring is a different story. My call to Microsoft Technical Support this morning underscores this:
MS: Thank you for calling Microsoft Technical Support. What product do you need assistance with?
Me: Office 2003 Basic Edition
MS: Can I get your first and last name please?
Me: First name is “Peter,” last name is Nikolaidis, “n-i-k-o-l-a-i-d-i-s. ”
MS: Thank you mister “Neekolidees.” Is this the first time you have called Microsoft Technical Support?
MS: Can I have the case number?
Me: I don’t have a case number, this is a new issue.
MS: Okay, can I have the case number so I can look up the issue?
Me: No, this is a new issue.
MS: Okay… if I can have the case number I can look up the issue.
Me: I have NO case number. This is a NEW issue. You asked if I have called you before, and I have, but this is a new issue.
MS: Okay… Sir can I please have the product ID of the product you are using
Me: [Braces for impact] it’s 12345-OEM-67891-01112.
FOR i IN 1 TO 3
MS: Okay Mister Neekolidees, since you gave me a product ID number that has the letters O-E-M in it, you can contact the vendor who sold you the computer for technical support.
Me: I already spoke with Dell and they cannot help me.
MS: Are you having a problem with installation?
Me: [Speaking plainly and clearly, on a good quality telephone connection] No.
MS: Okay Mister Neekolidees, since you are having a problem with installation, I will give you a free incident so that we can get your problem resolved.
Me: … Thank you…