Computer confusion, contradictions
Center for School Change
Have you ever been frustrated dealing with a company that provides computer service to you and your family? After about six hours on the phone and “on-line” last week, I was able to restore “wireless” service in our home. Sound familiar?
Having heard about similar experiences, I wanted to share a summary. Perhaps we can help educate some corporate executives.
Here’s what I wrote to the local cable/internet/phone provider. This person apologized for the problem and said she wanted to resolve it.
“Dear…. Thanks for your note. I’d like to briefly describe my experience. I hope your company will consider possible changes, based on the approximately six hours I spent on line and on the phone with various people at your company. Ultimately the problem was fixed. From a financial point of view, wouldn’t it be less costly for your company to devote less than 8.5 hours of staff time to resolving such issues?
1. The six people I talked with either on the phone or “on-line” over the six hours were polite and pleasant. Much appreciated.
2. Navigating your website to determine where I could find help, if I wanted to do more than read unhelpful generic information, was difficult. Please look at the website to determine how you can streamline information for people who want to talk with someone, either on the phone or “on-line.”
3. There was confusion and contradiction among the six people I talked with about your procedures. Depending on whom I talked to:
a. I was given about five minutes of help on the phone that did not help. Then one of your staff explained I could pay $5.99/month for a contract to receive more in-depth assistance.
b. Another person said I would need to pay your company a $39 “startup fee” for assistance, and then $5.99 a month.
c. I worked through advice with a person on line for about 20 minutes, who was not able to solve the problem. This person said it would not cost me any money to talk with her on-line.
Fourth, one of the problems seemed to be that many of your staff don’t have experience with Macintosh™ computers. Since these computers are widely used, you might want to create a clear procedure for identifying “Mac” experts on your staff.
Fifth, I received about a 250-word email from one of your staff apologizing for problems, and offering to help. Much appreciated. But two of the words in the message were not spelled correctly. You might urge staff to do a “spell check” before sending messages to customers.
I finally found a quasi-saint in Costa Rica who helped me try many difference approaches to solving the problem. Ultimately, after 1 hour and 40 minutes, the problem was resolved. I told her supervisor that she was wonderful.
Thanks for considering these ideas. Sincerely, Joe”
Joe Nathan, a former public school teacher and administrator, directs the Center for School Change at Macalester College. He welcomes reactions, firstname.lastname@example.org