Customer Service Lessons from Microsoft

As a system administrator, I am not in the middle of SEO/SEM land for the most part, but I have come up with a blog topic that does relate to all of us: Customer Service.

I have been working in the computer industry for about 10 years now, and the one thing that seems pretty consistent is the fact that customer service has pretty much gone out the window. My latest experience is with Microsoft.

We recently implemented software from Microsoft that should have made it much easier to manage our customer contact information. For this purpose we moved from a stand-alone product to a network shared product. Both being Microsoft products, we figured no problem, right?

Wrong.

Microsoft was nice enough to provide a migration tool to expedite the process. Three out of four databases migrated just fine (after creating an SQL script to move the data that it could not import). The fourth database (the owners) crashed with an error that gave no indication as to why.

I tried many different ways to get the remaining data to migrate and each attempt failed miserably. After fruitlessly searching for any information on the problem, We finally decided it was time to bring Microsoft onboard and use their “pay per incident” service. After all, $250 was cheap after the amount of time being wasted on this already.

Welcome to Microsoft’s world of Customer Service. First you get to wait on hold for a tenth of your life. When you do finally get to open your case you are transferred around their phone system until you finally reach a message center. Oh no, you can’t just speak to a technician, you have to leave a message. After explaining your issue for the sixth time, your only a returned phone call away from having this all cleared up.

I won’t get into the gory details of it all, but it is over 3 months later and I’m still waiting on the hotfix. At least it was found to be a problem with Microsoft’s migration tool and we didn’t have to pay their service fee. What a bargain. The only problem now is that I cannot even say, “Hey, we’re paying for this, fix it!”

My point to all of this is that customers have the right to expect decent customer service when they have decided to spend their money with you. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, the simple fact is that without our customers, we’re nothing. In the eyes of some corporations out there it seems to be just the opposite. Without them, we’re nothing. It’s almost as if they believe they’re doing us a favor by taking a look at this.

None of this is going to change the fact that I’m still waiting on the people at Microsoft for a hotfix, but I sure feel better.