Unhelpful live chat

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My PC is about to give up the ghost - it keeps dying and flashes its little orange light forlornly like a lost waif. I can get it going again by taking it apart, fiddling with the battery and other bits and swearing at it (the latter actually works best). However, I've decided enough is enough and time to buy a new one, which will, of course, be Windows 7 (current one is XP).

So I have gone through all the software / hardware to see what works, what doesn't - most of it is ok apart from one synth (for my music, but I have another one) and one bit of home accounting software for which I have found a replacement. The software was particularly annoying as it appears to be only the UK that hasn't bothered to upgrade to 7; USA and Oz versions seem to work fine???

Anyway, we then come down to the wireless adapter, which Microsoft says is compatible, but requires a free download (driver I assume) with a link to the manufacturer's site, where of course there is a download for Vista and XP but nothing for 7. There is, however, a Live Chat button so I go for that.

After a short wait I get a hello, I am Maurice..... how can I be of assistance? I enter my query - moving to Windows 7 with network adapter ...., will it work and do I need to download a new driver? He comes back with 

  • Can I ask you some questions?
  • Go for it
  • What country are you in? 
  • UK
  • What is the serial number of the device?
  • enter number 
  • What is your problem?
Well the problem is that you haven't read the original question I typed in, but being kind I type it in again.

  • It will work
  • Do I need a new driver - your website only has Vista and XP for download?
  • Please give me a few minutes
  • OK
  • Thank you for your patience
  • No problem, but are you going to answer the question?
  • What connection are you using? Cable or ADSL?
  • Don't see why that is important, but cable to wireless router
  • I am sending you a link to how to make your wireless router work
  • My wireless router works fine - that's not the problem. Can you please answer the original question - and I repeat the question
  • We don't support that adapter on Windows 7
  • Why did you tell me did?
  • I sent you the wrong answer by mistake. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
  • Goodbye (and good riddance!)
Now, this is the short version of the chat. Most of his answers came from the helpdesk-how to-make-a-short-answer-into-a-long-one manual. Who teaches these people? They sound as if they have swallowed a bad dictionary combined with a Jane Austen novel. I am going out on a limb here, but I would bet the 27 words where one would do approach comes from an American trainer. You're lovely people, but IMHO you can't speak English! 

  • How can I be of assistance? Yuck - how can I help?
  • Incentivise!!!! Yuck, yuck, yuck - anyone using this word should be shot - what's wrong with motivate? 
  • Deplane!!! Yuck - ditto - disembark.
  • Momentarily. Yuck - ditto - soon.
  • At this moment in time. Mega yuck -ditto - now.
  • etc.
(Actually shooting all those people would solve the world population problem, but I digress.)

Anyway, could someone please start teaching helpdesk people proper English and also give the poor souls a list of useful answers to common questions like does your product run on Windows 7? Me - I'm going to buy a new adapter from a different company.

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Peter, proper English is one thing. But what about the chat experience in general? The use of chat is on the rise because it is a much more efficient support channel. A agent can service several customers at once versus only 1 by phone. But, if the experience is bad then customer satisfaction will decline and people will take their business elsewhere. Technology can certainly help improve the experience, but in this case it appears to be simply a lack of adequate training and poor support processes and possibly no to poor management oversight. The company will probably never know that they lost a customer. This is a very good example of the business impact of poor service support.

I've also been on the receiving end of the canned scripts from "live chat" sessions or thick accents that inhibit me from understanding what I need to do to get through the knothole. It's frustrating at some point in time to realize you know more about the problem than the expert at the other end of the line. This is far too consistent for the "business" user who is having to deal with poorly trained support personnel who have not (...and will not) be on the job long enough to know the solution options. When you find a support person that knows what she or he is talking about, you almost want to strike a chord of the hallelujah chorus.

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This page contains a single entry by Peter Armstrong published on November 14, 2011 7:57 AM.

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