Hands up if you’ve ever had to deal with a customer service helpline at any point in the past.
If you raised your hand, put it down. You look like a fool. If you didn’t, I’m just going to assume you have dealt with a customer service helpline before (because let’s face it, everyone has), and as such, I hope you can relate to the awful pain I felt a couple of days ago.
Picture the scene: I wake up on the morning of my first day off from work for a while, knowing that the first order of business was to help sort out my dad’s work e-mail, which has been playing up for some time. I go, expecting a quick 10-minute job. I get there, and quickly realize I was wrong. Oh so very, very wrong.
I won’t bore you with the in-depth details of what I went through, because I’m sure you’re very aware. I’m sure everyone is accustomed to the feeling of going round in circles trying to solve a fairly basic issue for six hours. It’s a pretty standard thing when things get so desperate you have no choice but to ask for assistance from the company that is failing you.
You’d think that people who work for the helpline of a company that deals with e-mail would actually know a thing or two about e-mail. But as it happens, that isn’t as much of a requirement as I thought. Apparently, the ability to pick up a phone and speak English to a questionable degree is all you really need. Oh, and of course it helps if you can effectively par off a problem onto the person you’re supposed to be helping, even when (as in my case) they have narrowed down the issue to the point where they know for an undeniable fact that the company you work for is the cause of the issue. You can get away with failing to do that though, but only if you’re stubborn enough to never accept responsibility.
However bad the customer service is for whatever company you may have had the misfortune of dealing with though, I guarantee it pails in comparison to that of Microsoft. I recall an incident a year or so ago when my copy of Windows Vista suddenly decided that it wasn’t genuine, even though it was pre-loaded onto the computer when I had it several years prior. I later discovered (on my own, I might add) that the issue was to do with updates failing to install, but I wasn’t any the wiser at the time. Anyway, I contacted customer services about the issue, who listened intently before telling me the very best course of action was to call customer services for advice before promptly hanging up. I double checked to make sure I had contacted customer services as I thought I did, and I was right. So where did this guy think he was working? It’s a whole new level of confusion when a company doesn’t even tell it’s own workforce what their job actually is.
Customer service ‘help’lines are pretty notorious at this point for many reasons, such as those mentioned above, along with their tendency to keep you waiting for as long as possible, lead you on a pointless wild goose chase before concluding they have no idea what they’re doing or what your problem even is, or just straight-up accusing you of being a liar, because of course, we all look for random excuses to talk to these charming and intelligent people every once in a while.
I’m not saying it’s necessarily the fault of the person on the other end of the phone that this career choice has so much notoriety surrounding it, but for the love of all that is good, if you have to apply for a job such as that, make sure you actually know a thing or two about the company you want to work for and the products they sell. You’ll save many people many migraines and valuables smashed out of incredulous rage.