среда, 21 января 2015 г.

We Want to Call You and Discuss How We Call Customers and Waste Their Time

Crappy support services... Everyone has dealt with them.

They're always annoying and especially when you're a corporate client - one who has to contact them to resolve his company's problems. This post is about services for corporate clients which require customers to fill an online form and include an email and a phone number.

You see, they REQUIRE to enter BOTH.

Well, email is one thing. A message arrives in ur mailbox and you can open it whenever you want. Most such services also use email to send you notifications as you support ticket follows the meaningless support pipeline and also to confirm that your request was proper filed in the first place.

Phone is another thing. It rings - and you have to FUKKEN answer. Otherwise it keeps ringing.

If it's you personal phone it will ring at some random moment - in the middle of the night or when you were proper using a toilet or whenever else. So leaving a personal phone number when filing a support request is clearly a stupid idea. You will rather leave an office number.

And it will ring in your office and annoy the hell out of everyone around. That's because not everyone's work includes using a phone more than once a year. Email and IM work just fine and there're millions of people who never use a phone at work except for private calls which they do somewhere where they don't annoy anyone. And these people have maybe one phone per ten people. And if it rings they first try to figure out what is ringing because they have already forgotten how it sounds - so rarely it rings.

And once it rings your coworker Bill picks it up and hears Curvy Jane from reception saying "Hey, Bob, Joe from Crappy Support Company is calling, will you talk to him?"

First you waste a minute figuring out that Joe from JSC is actually calling you, Bob. Mmmkay, you take the phone and go to some place where you won't disturb others and meanwhile Joe runs through the stupid polite script and asks what the problem is and you repeat all the details you've already listed when proper filing the request.

Joe now wants a screenshot or a log or some very long identifier or anything else which will help him isolate the problem. A very reasonable request, but... you need your computer to get what Joe wants and it is on your workplace and did you forget that you left your workplace because you talking there would disturb others?

Sure you do remember. And sure Joe has no idea because Joe calls lots of people every day to avoid being fired and your job is to do something really useful and the latter does not require using phone. And so you tell Joe that you sure will send all of that absolutely necessary crap just a bit later, mmkay?

What would a reasonable support engineer do in the first place? He would email you and say "mmkay, you say X doesn't work and I want a screenshot of X". You would make a screenshot and send it back. No stupid phone involved and it is much, much faster.

Joe is not like that. He calls you and says he needs a screenshot and he knows you will not dictate the screenshot over the phone. And btw once you send the screenshot he will call again and Curvy Jane will connect the two of you. And then Joe will say that yes, he's got the screenshot and now he wants another one with some other piece of non-working X.

Yes, Joe thinks it makes sense. He's busy and employed. You're wasting time but who cares?

And did I forget to say that the phone is FUKKEN QUIET and so you barely hear Joe (and noone cares because you use it once a year)? Did I forget that long distance calls go through a chain of codecs, filters, packet networks and whatever technological crap is there which makes the voice sound INCREDIBLY FUKKEN CRAPPY?

Did I also forget that you're not Bob, your real name is Guido and English is not your native language and altough you can read and write English quite well your accent is terrible? Did I forget that Joe is not really a Joe but his real name is Aditya and English is not his native language either and his accent is terrible and differs from your terrible accent?

You think it is impossible. It not only possible but it very likely now when everything is outsourced and every service is used by everyone.

Now you, Bob-Guido with your horrible accent have to talk to Joe-Aditya with his horrible accent over a quiet phone which makes every voice sound crappy. And Joe-Aditya still thinks it is EFFICIENT. And his boss thinks the same.

Yes, it VERY EFFICIENT AT WASTING TIME and keeping everyone employed.

This is why unless you're completely brain dead you will never leave a phone number when filing a support request. You will leave an email address and try to avoid leaving a phone number. Most of the times the submission form will not allow you to leave "phone" field blank, so you will enter some crap there - a short string of ones for example.

This won't help Joe at all. He will say "Oh, please provide a phone number so I can call you".

Yes, he does this every time. Every Joe will ask for a phone number. You will have to answer him that you don't want to talk on the phone. Most of the time it helps but this stupid completely useless email transaction happens just about every time.

An even more idiotic scenario is the following. You needed help with red routers and filed a request asking a specific question about red routers. Joe responds and provides a lot of details on blue keyboards.

This doesn't help you at all, so you say you were not asking about blue keyboards and your problem was with red routers. Joe will want to call you. And if you give him your number he will repeat all that useless crap about blue keyboards and you won't understand anything because of accents and the damn phone.

Think of it. You were using dark letters over the light background and proper explained you problem with red routers in writing and Joe had time to read all of it and still he didn't even understand that you're not interested in his blue keyboards explanation. Yet he truly believes that once he calls you your communication improves greatly because now you have two horrible accents, a crappy phone network and no time to think.


If someone wants to talk he will provide his number when proper filing the request. If he doesn't provide his number it means he doesn't want to talk.

Doesn't want to talk, isn't that clear?

Now a question for an interview. You're a support engineer and you are assigned a support request which only has email address provided and the phone number is 000111.

What do you do?

If you ever think that you need to ask the customer to provide a phone number you are not hired. Joe already does this - why would you be needed? Go find the nearest McDonald's and get yourself employed there. Joe will join you soon.




No phone number on the request - no calls, period. Use email. Your customer can type and so can you.

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