Thursday, February 26, 2004

Adventures in Customer Support



Microsoft and I have kissed and made up. Well, that might be overstating the case. Let's just say they gave me the courtesy of a reacharound. Took me two weeks of e-mails with three different "engineers", but finally Windows Update is working again. Good thing I was persistent and have a little bit of computer knowledge, because the second engineer tried to snow me, but good. Told me that OEM versions of Windows XP often have problems using Windows Update. Ummm, yeah, OK "Dustin." First of all, just about every copy of XP out there is an OEM version, since you can't hardly buy a mass market PC without XP being pre-installed. Therefore, if your little story was true, dont' you think there'd be some mention of it on the web? Little weasel just wanted to get the ticket closed so he could get a gold star or something. Oh yeah, he also told me I'd have to order a CD that had the updates on it. OK, so the CD was free, but according to the order page, it only included updates through October 2003. Nice. What about the hugely critical flaw that was just patched at the beginning of this month? Luckily, the next guy sent me an updated copy of some system file or other and it seems to have resolved the problem. I just have to wait until the next time there's a patch for a critical flaw in XP to see if that's true. And we know there's going to be a next time.

Salon had a scary story about life in the tech support trenches. (Access to the full article requires a subscription or watching a brief ad.) Now I feel bad about all the times I've told my Dad to call tech support. A more amusing take on Tech Support is offered up here. (Quicktime required).

Another company that needs to learn a little about how to treat customers is Roxio. No, I'm not going to link to them, they suck. A little over a year ago, I wanted a program for CD Writing, and I found a good deal on WinOnCD, from (I thought) a German company called ceQuadrat. Unfortunately, it turns out that said program was somehow owned by Roxio. Still, there was a separate website for WinOnCD that worked just fine until a couple months ago. Now, if you try to go to www.cequadrat.com, you end up at a Roxio page. Go ahead, try it, I'll wait. Poke around on that page, or the "support" pages and you wouldn't even know that they had ever sold a product called WinOnCD. So I sent them an e-mail, asking where I could get some help. They sent me a link to a page that didn't work. Thanks guys. Doesn't anybody even check this stuff before they send it out? I replied to their e-mail, telling them that the link they sent me didn't work. So then they sent me a bunch of phone numbers. In Europe. Did I mention that Roxio sucks? And blows.

Bah.

Some day I'm going to collect all this on my regular website. Maybe I'll even be able to present stories about companies that get it right. Assuming that is, that there are any. Also assuming that I get off my ass and get that puppy coded and uploaded.

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