Saturday, November 1, 2008

My Worst Customer Service Experience Ever

I would like to share with you the very last customer service contact I had with Microsoft. This is what happened when no one really pays attention to what you're saying.

Back in April of this year, I was having issues with one of my e-mail addys. Whenever I had hit "reply" to certain e-mails, I would get a compressed screen shot. In other words, instead of a full screen, I would get a screen view of about two inches in length.

So being the irritated Hotmail customer, I e-mailed a complaint about it (after spending fifteen minutes searching for the proper addy). What follows is a slightly edited 11 page/3 day correspondence from hell with Hotmail.

Me: I'm still having problems seeing a full screen with I replay to an e-mail. With some addresses, I can reply without any problems. With others, I have to switch to plain text in order to see the screen shot. (4/6/08)
Windows Live Tech Support {1}: After reviewing the info you provided, I have determined that the Hotmail support staff can help you further. (4/6/08)

Hotmail Support {2}: Georgie, I thank you for reporting this issue to us. We're already in the process of investigating this issue but we need answers to the follow questions: Do you encounter this issue on any e-mail you forward or reply? Do you encounter this issue when using Windows Live? If you're using the Classic version (see my first comment) please try using the 'Full' version and make sure that you monitor width is at least 1024 x 768.

Also, please send us a screenshot of your compose box showing the size and layout of the screen. For your convenience I have provide the steps below on how to do that. (He listed 9 steps involved in which I won't go into since everyone is familiar on how to copy and send a screenshot) We appreciate your continued support as we strive to provide you with the highest quality service available. Thanks for using Hotmail.

In addition we need permission to access your account as this will process of troubleshooting this issue. To give us permission, please reply to this e-mail and include the following text: I grant you permission to access my account. (This person then gives me several steps that I must do in order to reset my secret question and change my password) After we diagnose the problem, we will use your alternate e-mail to give you our findings. As always, thanks for your patience and understanding. (4/7/08)

Me: That sounds like way too much stuff that is required of me for you to fix this problem. BTW, I had to switch to plain text in order to reply to this message, because it gave me a compressed screen shot the other way. I'm a relatively private person when it comes to my e-mail, so I don't feel comfortable in giving you access to it. As for converting to the other, no. I will stick with this one until I am forced to change. So unless you can fix this problem without accessing my e-mail, I will consider the matter closed, and I will simply continue to switch from rich text to plain text as the need arises. Thank you for your time. (4/7/08)

Hotmail Support {3}: Hello Georgie, thank you for writing back to Hotmail Tech support (gives the same spiel as the previous person: i.e. We're already investigating). I understand your frustration and I certainly want to help you. We're asking vital info tat will help us help you in resolving this issue. Without it, we can't proceed with our investigation. We value the security and confidentiality of the info that you will send to us and I would like to assure you that it will only be used in resolving your particular issue. (4/7/08)

Me: It still boils down to someone else looking at my e-mail, no matter what the legitimate reason is (and it is legitimate). I already go through this at work because my job has a policy of electronic monitoring. So again, if you can fix the problem without going into my e-mail, fine. If you can't, that's fine as well. Like with this response, I really don't have a problem flipping between different types of text. I don't use the bells and whistles that are associated with the 'rich' text anyways.

Have a sparkling day. (4/7/08)

Hotmail Support {4}: Hello Georgie, thank you for writing back to Hotmail Support. My name is ****** and I have read your e-mail exchange with the previous support representatives about seeing a small compose box when replying to an e-mail. I know how this may have been inconvenient for you. (Bullshit) I am sorry, Georgie, but we do really need a screenshot of what your compose page looks like when you reply to your messages. We should also access your mailbox on our end for further investigation.

Going forward, we respect your decision for us not to view your mailbox. Though we may not be able to commit in providing you an exact date when this issue will be completely fixed, I would like you to know that this issue has been flagged as 'high priority'. (4/8/08)

Me: I appreciate that. BTW, had to switch to plain text to reply. Like I said, it only happens with certain domain names and not others. Not sure why, but it's something I can live with. I don't have a problem switching back and forth either.

Not sure why you need screenshots, because I described what it was, so I don't think a visual would be necessary at this point.

So with that in mind, let me simply say this: I'll withdraw my. While it may become a high priority on your end, it hasn't become one on mine. I can live with having to switch back and forth. It's a small price to pay in order to keep access to my e-mail private. I appreciate the fact that you understand this. (4/8/08)

Now you would think that after this last exchange, they would drop the matter and let me be with my messed up Hotmail. But no, they had to send one more e-mail.

Hotmail Support {5}: Thank you for writing back to Tech support. My name is ***** and I appreciate your taking the time to send us your thoughts and suggestions about Hotmail. We take feed about Hotmail product and service very seriously. It is through your comments and suggestions that we're able to know what our customers truly want (major bullshit). Although we're unable to take action on your comment immediately, rest assured that we're committed in upgrading the Hotmail system to improve our service to you. You can expect to see many improvements in the near future. (4/8/08)

Me: Interesting that yet a fourth person would take an interest in this. Normally, where I work, when there is a technical problem, I don't get passed around from person to person. I get attention from one person, from beginning to end. I'm not expecting any action to be taken on my comment. Nor expecting any action to be taken in the future. If you want to work on this particular problem so that YOU MIGHT ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO SOLVE IT FOR SOMEONE ELSE, knock yourself out.

Just to let you know for your records, this is the second time in about a week or so that I complained about this particular issue. The first time, you said that other people were suffering from the same malady and that you were working feverishly on solving the problem.

Obviously, you (and I mean the collective 'you', and not you personally) didn't get the job done. If you did, we wouldn't be having this conversation in the first place.

I'm sure you have an excellent service record, but you're batting a collective .000 with me. This is the third time I've e-mailed about a particular problem with my e-mail that you've been unable to solve. If you search your records, you will find that late last year (or early this year) I complained about some of my contacts being unable to reply directly to my e-mails, and instead have to use an ALTERNATIVE E-MAIL ADDRESS to reply to me.

Keep up the good work. Feel free to use this e-mail in your next training class on HOW NOT TO COMPLETE A GIVEN JOB.

And I'm sure that a fifth person will respond to this e-mail yet again give me reassurance that you're doing your very best in solving my problem.
Five different people and each one never really read my initial response saying that I won't pursue the matter further. Still got the same problem six months later. So being labeled 'high priority' means absolutely nothing unless you're somebody important.

Microsoft, it's where you don't want to be.


  1. That's why it's call ed HOTmail. Hell is always warm.

  2. That's nothing short of a nightmare. Too bad you can't wrangle in some smart teen to have a look-see.

  3. @ Travis:

    Microsoft always has a special place in my heart.

    Whereas I love Windows XP (use it at work and at home), the e-mail is enough to drive me insane.

    I actually had wanted to use Hotmail as business addy, but this continuing issue has forced me to change that.

    Right now, it doesn't matter what domain I reply to, I get the same problem.

    @ Jannie: I thank you for stopping by today.

    It's a good suggestion, but I am particularly gun-shy about other people looking at my e-mail. It's something I will have to give some serious thought to.

  4. Yeah, you never know these days. Thank YOU for dropping by my humble site too. It will be fun keeping up with you. And I promise not to send any e-mail and add to your small screen misery.

    Smallered my Profile pic! Whoo-hoo.

  5. You're more than welcome.

    Actually, I don't mind the e-mail from other people. So if you wish to send me one, be my guest.

    And it won't be going to my Hotmail, thus no small screen misery will be inflicted.

  6. oh no...what a nightmare! i hate getting the run around like that. why would they need access to your email account. that sounds fishy to me. i am sorry that happened to you.

  7. Apparently my description of the problem wasn't good enough, so they wanted to actually see it for themselves.

    I already put up with this at work (state government has an official snooping policy), but I wasn't going to have it done with my private e-mail.

    BTW: had a problem with Yahoo, but they were able to fix it in about two days.

    Sad thing is that if the first person that I responded to actually read my response, I would have avoided two more days of aggravation.

  8. Oh, after a series of problems I have stopped using hotmail. I think gmail works the best these days (of course within its limits).

  9. g-mail is working okay for me right now.

    the only downside that I can see is not being able to format my signature the way I want it.

    I still have hotmail, but now I use for assorted odds & ends and it is fourth on my list of preferred addys I like to use.

  10. I can't stand it when I get all frustrated like that. I want to deal with ONE person. JUST ONE.

  11. @ vodka mom: be glad I didn't write about my last encounter with AT&T. I dropped more "F" bombs in the course of 45 minutes while dealing with customer service, than I did all year long dealing with various types of good & bad customer service.


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