When tech or customer service metrics get skewed

Here’s a case study of what I’ve experienced this afternoon with a popular computer company’s technical support group.
Call Start Time: 4:50pm | Call End Time: 6:21pm [Toronto time] | Tech Support Agent: Gloria
Software: Microsoft Word 2007
1. It will not close as expected after double clicking on the ‘x’ or File/Exit
2. Error message indicates “Word did not close properly” then it restarts
3. Any text boxes cannot be moved around with a cursor
4. Any double clicking from any part of the Word text file will not force the cursor to jump to that text as expected. In fact, nothing happens and the user (me) would have to manually tap the up, down, right, or left arrow keys to move the cursor in these directions.
5. Other than being able to type and save text, nothing else works – no borders, no pictures, nothing.

Since Microsoft indicated that I should contact the laptop company for support as its bundled with it, I go through the usual laptop codes and security measures and get to a tech support agent, Gloria. I then inform Gloria my problem and that I’ve already tried to reinstall the Microsoft 2007 System on this Vista machine with not much luck. There is no one-off cleanup of just Word but all products when you click on the remove option from the MS Professional install CD. So I tried that then tried to repair then tried the add/remove features option with no luck. She then made me go through Safe Mode but that did not work too. Then she went through Regedit and a deletion of the Version 12/Word/Data file proved to be successful. All this in a span of 1.5 hours.

Because I said Great Job Gloria she was excited about this that she put her manager on the phone who said I understand you were happy with Gloria’s assistance today. I said Yes, she did a great job.. Then the manager said So overall your experience with our technical support is good too right? Leading question indeed. I said No. He was not expecting that response I guess because he repeated again with So you’re saying that you are satisfied with your overall experience with our technical support. And this is when I became suspicious. I’ve never had a manager talk to me before proactively (I’ve been using this company since 1995 with various desktops and laptops and have called technical support from when it was still in North America to now being in South Asia – I knew because I asked Gloria what time it is and she said 3am)

What is interesting is that this is a first successful call for me with this company. My previous experiences included more than 2 hours at a time of software patches, lots of trial and error methods, and unfortunately no real results. These are so-so responses but sometimes you just have to let it go so you can do more important things – like actual work.

For example, my laptop mic would not work with Skype (or any other online communication) and this continues to be an open issue and I’ve have spent more than 6 hours on the phone with this company with no solution in sight. So I can’t use any internet calling facility at this time even though I received 7 days credit from Skype as it was down for a couple of days.

So with that open issue and a customer manager that gets excited and will provide credit to the team for a great call I was concerned that this will skew their numbers. It’s great to have a call from the manager, don’t get me wrong, but when this is not available at all calls I wonder if he happened to be double-jacked with the tech support person which is why I got a good response and he got on the phone immediately after. The bigger picture of course continues to be an issue. A 1 in 2 hit is not stellar performance of a group however stellar the other 50% of the calls.

My question to you then is this Is there an ethical dilemma in this case?

Now with that respopnse, add the fact that this is an outsourced call centre which means that their monies come from great SLAs.

Now with that response, add the fact that this can potentially be culturally acted upon. Would you response be different considering where your perspective is vs. the perspective of the manager in this case?

Other experiences like this that you’d like to share? Post your thoughts here.

1 comment to When tech or customer service metrics get skewed

  • Superb read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little study on that. And he really bought me lunch because I located it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!