Remove the Human

I’m sure this is a subject that has been long debated – customer service being conducted by computers. Customer friendly being reduced to robotic answering services; press one for technical support, press two for billing. I am convinced this convenient way of not doing things is not going to get anything accomplished.

Here’s the thing. It’s not even my problem. Yet, and yet I am bothered just the same. It’s like this: my grandfather is on deathbed number nine (but who’s counting?). My grandmother has been emailing almost daily updates to anyone who cares. Email. To date it’s the cheapest, fastest, and most concise way to reach a large group of people at the same time. It’s the logical form of communication for a woman in rural Maine who has to reach California and Colorado and Massachusetts and who knows where else. It works. It works for everyone except my mother stuck on an island with WebTv and not the newest version either.

For some reason my grandmother’s email address is being blocked. Whenever she sends an update she gets a message saying her message couldn’t be delivered due to a fatal error. Fatal. Sounds serious. It is – to my mother. Getting those updates mean the world to her. Yes, she could call for nightly reports while watching the nightly news. But, who has time for that? Who’s to say my grandmother hasn’t already turned in for the night, say at 7pm? 7pm – a time when my mother is probably just getting home or sitting down to dinner. Yes, she could call MSN herself except she can’t be on WebTv and the phone at the same time. Getting tech support in those conditions sounds like a logistical nightmare in my opinion.

So here I am 285 miles away trying to fix this fatal error. I thought that if I emailed some tech guy my sad tale (along with a screen shot of the bounce-back email my grandmother got), I would get somewhere. Instead I was informed:
“Dear MSN TV subscriber,

You have reached an unmonitored email address and our support representatives will not respond to your e-mail.

Please call customer service at 800-469-3288 for assistance. We apologize for any inconvenience, and we look forward to assisting our valued MSN TV subscribers. Thank you for contacting us.
MSN TV Customer Service”

Okay. So tell me, what is the point of having an email option for customer support? Anyway, I call thinking if I can verbally explain the situation (and still send the screenshot) I might have a better chance of getting some help to a problem that isn’t even mine. Don? Daryl? Daniel? tells me he is not trained to handle this kind of problem and no, he doesn’t need the screenshot to know he doesn’t know what I’m talking about. Instead, I’m given ANOTHER email address and instructed to forward the fatal error message. I’m not allowed to plead my case. I’m not even allowed to use the subject line for anything but reference # 16533566. WTF?

So. I sent my message – but not until I talked Daniel’s ear off about how important it was to get this problem fixed. Here’s hoping Don/Daryl/Daniel can come to my rescue.

Categories: Confessional, life | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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