Customer “support”

So, a couple of days ago, I suddenly find I can’t download my Google Mail via POP3 any more, and I can’t sign into Google Talk using anything other than the Windows client. All of this was working perfectly the previous day, so I figure something must be up.

After hunting around their support site for half an hour, I finally locate the big form you fill in to tell them that something’s wrong with GMail. I fill it in, answering the questions in excruciating detail, telling them clearly that my POP3 access that was working fine the previous day was suddenly no longer working, and that there seemed to be a problem at their end.

Seconds later, I receive a reply. “Wow!”, I think, “That’s good customer service! Assuming they haven’t just ignored everything I’ve just typed in and sent me a stupid fucking autoresponder form answer telling me how to reconfigure my web browser… Oh.”

This email contains another detailed set of questions – the wrong ones, naturally, as this email is from the autoresponder that greps queries for the word “login” and sends them instructions on how to use the webmail login. So, I answer them, as best I can, pointing out that these questions are in fact irrelevant, and detailing my actual problem once again.

And then it all falls silent.

A day passes.

And another day.

Until today, I finally get a response: “You can help us diagnose the problem by providing screenshots of your email client’s POP and SMTP settings.” followed by instructions of how to take a screenshot (in Windows, despite the fact I’d already said I was using Linux) and paste it into a Word document (no, really) and email it to them. Tempted as I was to take a screenshot of a terminal running pine, save it as an XPM, import it into an AbiWord document, save that, gzip it up, MIME encode the result, stuff the whole lot into a RISC OS SparkPlug archive and then attach that to an email using uuencode, I decided to be mature and simply point out how utterly irrelevant the questions they were asking were to my situation.

Fortunately for the poor support moron dealing with my query, the problem seems to have magically fixed itself without their intervention, but I’m still riled. Why? Several things.

First, they utterly ignored my original problem report. Yep, that’s how important my problem was to them. They threw away all the detailed information I’d given them and sent me a form autoresponse that had nothing to do with the problem I was detailing. Great. Way to make me feel like I matter to you.

Secondly, they insulted me by making the implicit assumption that the problem was caused by something I’d done and that either I was unable to realise that this was the case, or that I was lying to them. I don’t appreciate this insinuation. It is insulting and belittling.

Now, I understand that there are an awful lot of retards out there using computers, and sometimes these people do change things either without realising or out of sheer curiosity/stupidity/whatever, and that mostly these problems will be fixable by walking them through a standard, prewritten procedure. I understand this. Fair enough.

But sometimes – just sometimes – somebody will submit a problem that doesn’t fit within this pattern, and that person may have already tried all the standard fixes and maybe actually has half a clue about what he’s talking about and it would be nice, just for once, to have the problem addressed in a manner which reflected this and dealt with in a way that didn’t mean the customer felt insulted, frustrated, belittled and deceived as a result.

3 Responses to “Customer “support””

  1. Tom says:

    Y’know, there’s a school of thought that says that you’re entitled to a full refund if you’re not happy with the service you’ve got.

  2. Adrian says:

    You have to evaluate the amount of singal to noise, as to how much time they have to spend on real problems.

    The real problem being that their are too many morans using the service so they cant deal with real problems.

  3. Pikey Jones says:

    GMail is free.

    If you want decent support then stop being such a pikey!