Experience with Microsoft Phone Support

Saw that Scoble had put up a link to his brother’s experience with Microsoft support. I had an experience a while back that I never wrote about, and I figure now is as good a time as any.

This happened around the time that Microsoft was changing over their Instant Messaging protocol to cut out 3rd party programs such as the ones I use through Jabber and GAIM (though keeping them out didn’t last long). I figured I’d call and try to find out what, as a developer, I’d have to do to be able to use their protocol (sell my soul, sell organs, be Bill Gates’ towel boy for a month…).

My experience calling MS support was quite differnet to Alexander‘s. I called MSN and was greeted by a robot voice asking me where I wanted to go today. I said “developer support” several times, each time getting an “I don’t understand” reply. Eventually it said “I didn’t understand. Did you say ‘technical support’, ‘information’, or ‘cancel account'” and in frustration I cut it off by saying “because you’re an idiot!” It said “I think I heard you say you want to speak to technical support, is that right?”


I thought at this point that it either messed up and randomly chose where I actually did want to go, or it was measuring stress in my voice and figured it’d better let me talk to someone right away. My call was transferred.

I spoke to a nice man next and explained that I was trying to find information on licensing MSN Messanger 8 technology from them, and was looking for developer support. He told me that this was the billing department, and I had to contact technical support. WTF? “I thought I asked for technical support?” “Yes sir, but sometimes calls are routed here.”

I kid you not.

He said he could give me the number or transfer me, I asked for both. The number he gave me was the number I had originally dialed. sigh

I think I sat on hold a while, listing to a loop of bad musak and an occassional voice telling me how wonderful MSN8 was and how someone would be right with me. I think I sat only long enough to type down my experience befor hanging up.

3 Comments on “Experience with Microsoft Phone Support”

  1. Nah, at the time it was an experiment to see if I could, pretending to be a clueless n00b, get the info on it. In the end though, all the programs that I use (and was worried would stop working with MSN), still work.

  2. Here’s my story, i’ll try to make it short.
    To do some troubleshooting, a co-worker and I had the idea of taking a HDD from a machine that was crashing all the time, put it in a chassis with the (no really) EXACT SAME hardware spec, and see if the problem still existed.
    Well, it didn’t, so we put the HDD in the old hardware and it was acting up again. So it was the hardware. But then the OS came up with a message deploring me to register. I had 3 days, else the license nazis would come.
    So what was my company’s response to this? “uh… nothing you can do. call MS and get the new key.”
    That’s right, even for the corporate editions, if you start changing hardware you will start being accused of stealing, EVEN IF YOU PUT THE SOFTWARE BACK IN THE ORIGINAL PLACE!!!
    So let’s just say that while I appreciate some of XP’s features, doing support on them is a nightmare, especially in the corporate/enterprise environment where you have LOTS of machines.
    SO I had to go through the 1/2 hour of the crappy automated phone support as you did, Arc. It is so inhuman, so emotionally sapping, to sit on the phone and know that some fucking computer has to fumb itself down just to say, “did you mean to type in 4539394585202345698?”
    Even worse, I have heard that MS wants to basically corner the market in voice recognition middlemare!! ACK!!!