Bill Gates, Microsoft, & Customer NO-Service

24 Apr

I’m anxiously installing CorelDraw Graphics Suite.  It has big, and I mean really big promises that even someone like me, with no education in the use of graphics software, should be able to accomplish a lot using it without hours devoted to learning complicated commands and menus.  I have high hopes they were honest too.

My laptop is HD space challenged, so its being installed on my external HD.  I know enough to know that that is not an ideal situation, however, anything I don’t use daily needs to not be on the laptop.  Of course, that also means I won’t be able to use it when I’m actually “mobile” but that’s the price I am going to have to pay.

I don’t have huge goals in learning to use it.   It would be nice to have more options available for photographic clean up than I have using the free Picasa.  I hate Kodak’s software, by the way.  Its awkward and inefficient.  I’m not thrilled with Picasa, but it works better than Kodak’s.  that’s a small goal, the other one is that I can create my own banners for things.  I hate having to wait for Greg to do it for me, or having to beg someone else to do it.  Besides, nobody else can see inside of my head as to what it is that I want!  I’m not sure I can create real artwork on here, but I’ve sure not been doing any in the regular world here lately.  Maybe I can come up with some new designs for Christmas ornaments or something—I’ve not even done those since Joshua died, and that’s been almost ten years now.

But even so, I hate new software.  I just want things to work, so going with something new is always stressful for me.  I have to learn how to make it go.  I really haven’t been playing with software much since the days of Windows 98 SE, so maybe I’ve lost the touch too.  Anxiety, self doubt, and curiosity all blended together with a healthy dose of anticipation as I wait for the installation to complete.  I can still remember how aggravated I was when I switched to MS Office 2007, and I can vividly recall my complete frustration with Outlook in this version too—I ultimately refused to use it, much to Greg’s chagrin—I tease him and call him “Mr. Microsoft.”  He loves MS, I rant about them, especially here lately with my issues about their billing process for the website.

Apparently “Send me an invoice for the charges for the past 30 days” is much too complicated for them, which resulted in me disputing the charges on my card, cancelling the card, and getting a new one issued.  I now pay Microsoft with a card dedicated specifically for them—I bought a pre-paid Visa card from Walmart.  Sad but true, they are the very first company that forced me to dispute charges with the bank in my entire life.  I’ve eaten a few charges that were potentially challengeable—ones that were done without my permission by (now ex) a spouse or child, ones that arose from failure to cancel something, etc.  This time, they really ticked me off though.

Which brings me to another issue.  Customer service.  That’s really got me on my soap box here lately.  Crappy customer service is not acceptable, but why, as consumers, are we accepting it as our lot in life from so many companies?  Why aren’t we demanding better customer service instead of dealing with people who don’t speak the same language in a form we can understand, don’t address the issues, and don’t respond with solutions?  It continues, because as a whole, we are letting it continue!

It is time for consumers to put down their foot and demand better customer service.  We have the tools to spread the word too, from our blogs, our websites, to social networking and even good old Twitter.

Recently, I had a complaint about an email response to a comment I had sent to Overstock.com.  I was furious—the representative had obviously not even read what I had said, instead sending me a form letter response for an entirely different issue.  On the heels of two weeks of disputes with Microsoft billing and their lack of responsiveness, I hit the roof.  In my fury, I also tweeted about my anger and feelings about the response.

And guess what? They paid attention.  It seems that customer service does matter to them.  They didn’t want someone ranting about the poor service, instead preferring happy tales of satisfied customers, the kind that brings you MORE customers.  They contacted me, I shared the events (and the email) with the representative that handled social networking.  They were serious, and while the girl that offended me so deeply did deserve termination for her lack of attentiveness, I got the impression that instead, she was to receive remedial training.

The worker soul within me was kind of glad.  Jobs are hard to find, and while as a co-worker, supervisor, and customer, poor performance is really aggravating, there is a sympathetic bone too.  So, Samantha, wherever you are, I hope you pay attention in the future.  After all, that is what they pay you to do.  I hope you learned your lesson, and from this day forward, you are the best customer rep that ever was.

So as mad as I was, I have to give Overstock credit.  They worked to fix the problem, which is why I’ve never had a complaint before about their service.

Now Microsoft, on the other hand, has done absolutely nothing to rectify the situation.  They have no customer service number to call, everything is email only.  It’s probably a good thing they don’t have branch offices, I’d be in one and I would be LOUD, because after another month has passed, I’m even more angry about their billing department.  I love their service and product, but I don’t like their customer service level, and sincerely wish they would hire people in the United States to service customers who reside in the United States.  I don’t like getting emails that request screen shots in response to my queries.  A screen shot of what? The missing web page?  If I had a screen shot, it wouldn’t be missing!  If I had an invoice, I wouldn’t have a question about where is an invoice or statement.

So Bill Gates, wherever you are, if you have any say with Microsoft these days, you have to do something about that customer service.  Technical support, billing departments, and customer service are sometimes done best by telephone.  It’s always done best by a representative that lives in, works in, and speaks the same language as the person calling too.  As an American company, don’t you think that supplying jobs in the United States would be nice?  I know I’ve made jokes about the guy in India who was frantically pedaling his bike to power his laptop to answer my questions, but I never thought it would be taken seriously!  I don’t even have anything against India, just I’m getting old and harder of hearing, and I struggle so hard to decipher what they are saying, even when it is in text.  I am getting old and short of temper, and three requests for an invoice or statement should be enough to actually obtain said invoice too.

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