Friday, March 17, 2006

Lousy Service Strikes Again

Once again, technical service gets my goat.  It still amazes me, to this day, how the simplest things get by customer service reps.  In this case, a comma.

We have a recurring problem with misdirected emails coming into my wife’s account.  Someone of the same name and damned close email address keeps sending/receiving mail to my wife’s account.

I had a look at it, but could find no fault with anything, other than a possible problem with external routing, before it gets into my computer.

Then finally, we got a message that had all the headers because it came from an external source to our ISP – Internet Service Provider.  Normally, the ISP, to make damned sure you cannot do your own troubleshooting, strips the headers.

So header in hand, I look and find that indeed there is some kind of transfer error.  But I don’t understand the rest of it so much.

I’m not an email guru, so I dutifully report the problem to my ISP, who, of course, asks for the header.

At this point I’m pretty sure they’ll come up with a rationale of some kind.  Hell, even I could see there was a problem.

And… you see this coming don’t you? They tell me nothing is wrong, that all is well in the world.

Jesus-H-Christ on a popsicle stick!

Immediately, I want to crack open a can of whoop-ass onto this sorry bitch for not spending more than 2.76 seconds on my problem.  I daresay, 2 seconds of that was probably opening the problem report and scrolling down to the header information.

Then it dawns on me that maybe she’s using the same knowledge management system that was implemented at Nortel and failed.  I smile at the unlikelihood of this, but my spirits are back in order.

I calm down… well maybe not.  Actually, I take it upon myself to inform the jackass at the help desk that she is not only wrong, but an idiot as well, and that she should probably just kill herself now and avoid anyone any further grief.  Hopefully she is young and has not yet reproduced.  But I digress.

Maybe I set the bar too high for customer service, especially technical customer service?  I’ve talked about this before.  

Still.  Two seconds of thought should have triggered the “hmmm”-factor in her mind.  There the problem was, two addresses side-by-side that didn’t match up.  The mere presence of a comma would have given it all away.

But she didn’t know about the comma. She really should have known, but she didn’t.

So I did my own research.  Remember I’m not an email trouble-shooter and never have been.  Within 20 minutes and a couple of emails tests, my hypothesis had been proven, and her complete lack of understanding along with it.

Maybe I should have looked at the problem myself.

Maybe I should have lowered my expectations, down to… well, nil.

Maybe I should have ignored the problem and hoped it went away.

But I didn’t.

Instead, I wrote a new trouble ticket, expounding my hypothesis to the technician, in order to help her understand the error and to prevent her from making the same mistake again.  Also, I contacted the other email owner and told her what to look for.

I am just so very goddamned magnanimous.

In any case, I’m waiting on her response.  

And by the way, I was very gentle in my wording and avoided words like ignorant, stupid and smack-upside-the-head.  

PS.  Years ago when working Customer Service at Nortel, whenever writing any kind of correspondence, I would always put a capital C on the word Customer.  It was my way of reminding myself who was of the utmost importance to my business at the time.  This became a habit that had me subconsciously consider Customer as a proper noun, with the due respect it garnered, even in a simple medium such as email.

I don’t know if anyone ever noticed, but I certainly did notice when others would do the same.  Invariably, these people had proven to be trusted to take that extra step for service excellence.  

Odd, isn’t it?  


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