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Microsoft Customer Service Experience

MS OutlookIn previous jobs, I needed to have more contact with Microsoft than I do now and it was an extremely painful process, but we are talking quite some time ago. Have they improved? Well, based on the experience I had today, they haven’t much.

What Happened

I updated Office for Mac from 16.41 to 16.42. When opening Outlook a prompt appeared to switch to the “New Outlook”, I thought cool, that sounds great until then it told me none of my POP3 accounts would be compatible. What? POP3 accounts not compatible in an email program? Is Microsoft out of their minds?

So, I hit cancel and tried to search for information on their website.  I searched, and searched, and searched. Nothing could be found.  Eventually, I decided to contact Live Chat.

Live Chat Experience

Firstly, Live Chat is not compatible with Firefox so I had to switch to Chrome. It’s most likely Firefox’s security protocols.

I asked the question of the technician and had not heard of the issue, they wanted to troubleshoot my computer. So, they did remote access despite my better judgement. Finally, towards the end, they told me POP3 wasn’t supported in “New Outlook” as yet.

Summary

Starting the chat was painful, that almost took 10 minutes in itself. My query was picked up within 2 minutes but had to go through the account verification process.

The technician didn’t seem to know that POP3 wasn’t supported in the initial 25 minutes of the chat and had to waste my time fiddling with my computer and going back/forth with non-sense. It was a painful process but got the answer eventually which really could have been answered within 2 minutes.

I tweeted my experience and pleased that the product manager from the Outlook for Mac team picked that up, so at least I know my feedback went to the right person. Sometimes social media does work out better than contacting support.

2020-10-13T23:14:40+00:0013 October 2020|Customer Service|0 Comments

Customer Service During COVID19

Costco Blown UpDuring the lockdown, relating to COVID-19, I’ve put my customer service needs on hold, just stop going forward until life gets back to normal so I don’t bother many companies whose staff I am sure are having a tough time. Here is a review on how things have been going.

GoDaddy

I personally don’t use this domain and web hosting company but my clients do. It’s not the worst company but it’s not the best either, I have never been a customer with them as I was warned off for the following reasons:

  1. Customer service tries to sell you useless things you don’t need.
  2. Once you are a customer they make it as difficult as possible for you to leave.

The only time I try to reach out to them is when my clients have downtime on their websites, which has been significant of late. There was nothing about outages on their status page but checking out Twitter many customers seemed to be experiencing the same issues. Someone on twitter tried to reach out to them on Live Chat but the waiting time was 14 hours, which is quite scary. GoDaddy has never responded to any of the messages I sent them.

I don’t know what their staff are going through especially when there is an outage, maybe they are finding hard to coordinate with technicians, but it leaves many customers in the dark.

Costco

I don’t enjoy going in Costco on a normal day but have always had good experiences with staff either in stores or their administration offices over the years. Recently it seems to have gone in the other direction, the result of which will be me keeping away from them unless I have a dire need to use them.

There were two incidents I was kind of disturbed about recently.

Incident 1

Went into Costco for a prescription with the hubby.
Staff: Keep 6ft away from him.
Me: I’m married to him.
Staff: You still need to keep 6ft away.[Sees straight couples together, none of which were told to stay 6ft away from each other] Me Shouting: I go to bed with him, and not caught anything yet.
15 mins later staff member apologizes, but if I had left the store I wouldn’t have heard that apology.

Hopefully, the member of staff isn’t homophobic and just over-thinking his job right now, he could have started the conversation by saying “are you two together” then it wouldn’t have got out of hand.

Incident 2

Goes online to try and amend an address in the My Account area of the Costco website.
System wouldn’t let me change the postcode.
Wrote an email to Costco asking them to make the amendment.
They wrote back with the message “you have to go into the My Account area to change your address”.

Obviously they never read my email properly. Maybe they are just inundated with issues to handle right now but I would have thought that one is a synch to fix.

NameSilo

Namecheap is a well known company for letting scammers buy domains in bulk for various evil purposes, I thought they were ‘leaders’ in the market but now a new company has appeared on the scene. I had never heard of NameSilo before, the reviews I have seen of the company appear to be good, however, it seems that they are allowing scammers buy domains in bulk too. All of a sudden I started to receive a huge amount of spam, I looked up domains and discovered they were purchased via NameSilo.

It might be the case that no one is hosting via NameSilo but have bought domains via another company, in another country. I noticed that all domains in my spam have very similar format; three letters followed by four numbers, mostly .com tld’s. I would have thought this would have generated some suspicion at the company. Anyway, like Namecheap, NameSilo get an F rating at the Better Business Bureau because they fail to respond to customer complaints that are escalated there.

Summary

There are some companies I deal with that are known to have poor customer service but I just assume I am not going to get anything done during this period, so I have left them alone.

Compainies I don’t usually have issues with haven’t been doing that well during the lockdown but I just put that down to these chaotic times.

We’ve gone to some stores where staff are clearly unhappy but I can’t blame them really, on the whole we’ve had a brilliant experience with other places. So, it’s hit and miss during these times.

2020-05-06T22:01:50+00:006 May 2020|Coronavirus, Customer Service|0 Comments

HP Customer Service

OfficeJet Pro 9015This is just a random review of HP customer service as I thought I had an odd experience today.

My current printer died and it’s not worth updating given that it doesn’t have all the groovy features you would expect in 2020. So thought it was about time to buy a new 4 in 1 model. I struggled to find one that is compatible with the latest Mac OSX. HP still seemed to be the best for my needs but I did have a slight trauma in contacting them.

STEP 1

I wanted to find a list of Mojave compatible printers, the HP website had misleading information on that, so I attempted to contact customer support.

  1. Went onto the HP website to find the Canadian support homepage.
  2. Called the 1-800 Canadian number
  3. Got through to a representative very quickly, was pleased about that. I told her what I needed.
  4. I asked if HP had a list of Mojave compatible Inkjet printers similar to the LaserJet one on the website. She didn’t answer.
  5. She asked if I was in Canada. I said I was in Vancouver, British Colombia. She then asked again whether I was in Canada. It seemed she didn’t know where British Columbia was.
  6. I asked if I had been redirected to the US call centre, she didn’t want to answer. Thinking about it now I’m not sure if the rep was based even in North America or even if she worked for HP, maybe an outsourcing company?
  7. Basically, she had no idea what I was talking about, the call started to deteriorate.
  8. I decided to end the call as I wasn’t getting anywhere.

It was an extraordinarily odd call. I noticed the rep wanted to adhere very tightly to a script that was most likely on her call centre application.

STEP 2

I managed to reach out to someone on Twitter. They managed to redirect me to a page on their site that had a list of Mojave compatible printers but didn’t list the one I was considering.

The social media person said he didn’t know if it was compatible as there had been a lot of confusion over this issue. Well, the confusion seemed to be mainly with HP. The guy gave me a technical support number to call, I suspect it was in the US.

STEP 3

I called the technical support number as provided.

It was difficult to get through their telephone workflow as it kept wanting to direct me towards the “virtual assistant”. At this stage, I was not patient enough to speak to a computer. The first call was dropped as soon as it redirected me to a human. Sigh. I called again and finally managed to get through to someone.

That call started in an odd way, the rep first asked me for an issue number, I said I didn’t have one. Then she asked me if I was “such and such” person, I said I wasn’t, maybe she was expecting someone to call her back. Finally got to ask her the question I wanted answering and got an immediate “yes it is compatible, via an app in the Apple Store”. She tried to get me to order the printer from her but it would take up to 6 days via a courier and just couldn’t be dealing with that.

Finally got there in the end.

STEP 4

I wrote feedback to HP about the above so they were aware of the process in getting an answer to a question stating that it shouldn’t have taken that long.

I was impressed with an immediate call back soon after I write that email. That was nice of them.

STEP 5

The final step was buying the printer which we did from a very hard salesperson in Staples Canada, that was a bit troublesome too.

I bought an HP OfficeJet Pro 9015.  I got it fixed up at home and it works perfectly with Mojave, as they said, via the app.

Some features I like about the printer:

  • Nice bright design
  • Easy to read/touch front panel
  • Duplex printing and scanning. Two-sided scanning is a huge bonus for me.
  • Mobile friendly

Some bad points:

  • Seems a little noisy when printing
  • Doesn’t do larger size paper formats
2020-02-13T23:12:46+00:0011 February 2020|Customer Service, Technology|0 Comments

Customer Service Review 2019

It certainly was an interesting year of odd customer service moments, some good, some bad, and some a mix. Here is my review on how 2019 went.

I can’t put companies in a good or bad bucket as some were a mix, so I will just list them.

Review

Capital One UK

  • I had an old account that I wanted to close, it wasn’t that simple. Lots of back and forth, messages, traumas and so on. Until, I came across one employee who said “oh sure, no problem, sorry to see you go” and it was sorted in a couple of days.
  • Companies like HSBC make it easier to deal with internationally but this wasn’t the case with Capital One. They are low tech and if you are living outside the UK for a while it’s extremely difficult to do business with them.

DHL Canada

  • I got my British passport renewed and DHL UK delivered to my place in Canada without any difficulty. I say this from the perspective that other delivery companies have been a complete nightmare to deal with.
  • There was a slight mix up with a parcel delivery but managed to sort it out quite quickly, instead of worrying their driver we decided to pick it up from their conveniently located depot, which is in a shopping center.
  • The company even sent us a gift basket to say “thanks for the business”. Last time I experienced that with a company was back in 1986. I was impressed.

HSBC Canada

  • Like some other companies getting to the right person was a challenge mainly tackling their call center telephone system workflow. There were, unfortunately, many questions that remained answered for which I just gave up.
  • Connecting with someone I could talk to on a daily basis was actually a very good experience and could settle matters very quickly without any fuss.

HSBC UK

  • HSBC UK and HSBC Canada have very little connectivity together despite them being the same brand, this I found to be a major challenge.
  • Finding a subject matter expert was quite painful. For example, the company wrote a letter to me and I needed to speak to someone about it. When I sent them a message I got the runaround. When I phoned no one was an expert in that subject. I eventually sent a snail-mail letter but no one has responded as yet, I guess I won’t know how that went until 2020, if at all.
  • Questions still remain unanswered with the bank, so I will just have to give up.

Shaw Communications

  • It’s easy to contact Shaw, by telephone or social media DM’s, however they lost track of some of the issues I registered. Maybe a ticketing system would help.
  • We were having this strange pop up appear on their cable system, I reported it 4 times but they never got back to me. An engineer came round and advised us it was totally normal, issue resolved. Not good that I had to reach out so many times to get an answer.
  • We had a lot of picture and sound break up on certain channels. At first they didn’t believe us. I then recorded the TV and sent them videos of the issue. Two times engineers came out, it improved a little as they fiddled with our cables, however, we still get the issue now and again. I am wondering if it’s nothing to do with Shaw but the feed they get from the US. Who knows.

Siteground

  • Siteground is my web hosting provider I’ve been on for just over a year now. They are awesome.
  • 3 minutes unplanned downtime since I’ve been with them (competitors are nowhere near this). Superfast connectivity to the website and CRM I store there. Customer service calls answered in a flash.
  • I am amazed how good this company is.

UPS

  • I ordered something from Wayfair and UPS was their chosen company for the delivery. Twice the company never appeared when they said they were supposed to deliver. I struggled through their telephone system and when I got someone he was actually in the US, not Canada.  He told me the parcel had been lost, I agreed with them if they ever find it to return it to Wayfair.  Wayfair kindly agreed to refund my money and give me a $75 gift certificate, that was really nice.
  • The next day UPS tried to delivery the item, maybe it hadn’t been lost after all. However, I didn’t accept deliver and the took it back to Wayfair.
  • If UPS is Wayfair’s chosen supplier then I cannot do business with them, our local delivery depot is not that good and consistently get poor reviews online, and not useful feedback from their Head Office.

Summary

The Best

Every company I didn’t have to call and could resolve issues on their self-service website.  I really don’t like wasting my time on the phone or in live chats.

The Not So Bad

Has to be DHL, they were helpful in fixing the issue and send us a gift! Well, it helps.

The Worst

It’s a toss up between HSBC and UPS. Misdelivery of items I can probably deal with but errors with my finances have a knock on effect down the line.

2020-01-01T06:18:33+00:001 January 2020|Customer Service|0 Comments

UPS Failure

WayfairEvery now and again I will write about good and bad customer service issues, today I’m sharing a story about UPS.

I ordered some furniture from Wayfair Canada. My friends rave about them especially those who work in Real Estate as they feel this is a great method of ordering items to prepare a property for sale. Before I get onto my experience with UPS I will start with the positive about Wayfair:

  1. They have a lot of choice on their website, high end and budget items
  2. Ordering was easy, a few clicks and it was done
  3. Unlike other companies, I wasn’t bombarded with emails after the order was complete
  4. Their customer service is pretty amazing

Wayfair uses different courier companies depending on what you are ordering, for the item I ordered, pictured, they used UPS. This is what Wayfair and myself went through with UPS.

  1. Supposed to deliver on Tuesday 15th October
  2. After waiting at home all day UPS pinged me a tracking update to say my address didn’t exist.
  3. I phoned UPS who had all the correct details. They said they didn’t have a name but seconds later contradicted themselves saying they did have it.
  4. They promised they would re-deliver the item on Thursday 17th October
  5. I called Wayfair to provide feedback at this point, they were kind enough to put me on hold while they contacted UPS. UPS also promised Wayfair the package would be delivered on 17th October.
  6. So 17th October came along, I waited in for a good portion of the day and didn’t see any tracking updates so I called them.
  7. After a challenging 45 minutes on the phone, UPS said they had lost the package and had to “open an investigation”, whatever that means.
  8. I called Wayfair again and they were kind enough to offer me a refund, which I accepted.
  9. I sent UPS a message through their website to ask them to return the package to Wayfair should they ever find it.

I looked up the UPS Depot who should have delivered the item which is in Delta, British Columbia. The reviews on the Yellow Pages website are pretty bad which explains the horror story I’ve been through. When I go to a UPS store for printing or other needs, whether it’s been in Washington DC, Denver CO or Vancouver Canada, the experience has been great, so I’m sad they don’t have the same service levels in their delivery branch.

Sorting this out consumed a lot of my time which was quite draining. Wayfair did everything they can to resolve the issue but UPS performance was obviously out of their control. So I will buy an alternative product at one of the local furniture stores here in the lower mainland. I’m sad as I was looking forward to doing business with Wayfair.

2019-10-17T23:27:24+00:0017 October 2019|Customer Service|0 Comments

My Customer Service Approach

Customer ServiceEvery year I appear to have more than one trauma dealing with customer service departments of various companies, mainly blue chip in size. Whenever I approach a company it is for fairly basic and reasonable requests, shouldn’t be out of the ordinary, but they do appear to have many issues dealing with them.

Here is how I have handled customer service queries in the past, these are my expecations on how I should be treated.

  1. Thank the customer for reporting the issue
    Often you can learn something from the customer, about a gap in the product or service levels, as they really are your best asset in finding bugs. So, be thankful, show empathy, apologise, and of course professional.
  2. Timescales
    If the issue cannot be dealt with immediately agree a turnaround time with the customer. A customer doesn’t like to be kept in the dark so it’s also important to continue to touch base with them during the process. I find it useful to have an online system where I can look up ongoing isses and their status.
  3. Deal with the issue
    Either deal with the issue or escalate it to a subject matter expert within the organization, but keep an eye on it to ensure it’s not forgotten.
  4. Sign Off
    Get back to the customer to thank them for reporting the issue and let them know it’s resolved BUT ensure they are happy that it has been sorted.
  5. Product or Service Enhancement
    If there is an error in your product or service ensure that it’s added to a roadmap for a fix, if it can’t be fixed immediately. Getting it fixed will limit other customers having to call in and the bug can be marketed to say your company is on top of product development.
  6. CRM and Data
    Personally, I use a CRM (SuiteCRM) to register all issues for which I can pull of useful data ie 1) reports of open/closed issues, 2) current or past bugs, 3) time spent, and so on.

If I can keep to this basic workflow so can other small businesses and especially larger companies, I don’t think I’m asking for too much.

It’s been another bumper year with bad experiences with customer service departments, which I will be reporting on soon.

2019-09-27T23:38:24+00:0027 September 2019|Customer Service|0 Comments

PayPal Minimum Withdrawal Amount

PayPalI would say most people know about the maximum withdrawal amounts that PayPal has but they also set minimum withdrawal amounts too and the company doesn’t want you to know why they have them set so high, at least that is my experience. Asking why they have set these amounts so high has made me realise their customer service isn’t so great.

Backstory

I bought a subscription on behalf of a client which came to CAD$12, the client paid me back via PayPal.  So, I then attempted to withdraw that money to my bank account but received an error message stating I had exceeded the limits, didn’t mention “minimum”, but had to figure it out by groping around their system.  I reached out to the company to find out why they have the minimum withdrawal amounts, why they are so high and why it differs greatly from country to country (ie GBP£6 in the UK, CAD$15 in Canada).

  • Call 1: nobody knew about the minimum withdrawal amount so they decided to hang up on me
  • Call 2: nobody knew about the minimum withdrawal amount and they got into such a pickle over the phone I just said goodbye
  • Call 3: had problems with their phone system and got through to fraud for some reason, finally got someone who knew about the limits, told me to move money into PayPal to then withdraw $15. I told them this creates unnecessary red tape for a client and asked why they had the minimum withdraw amount, the only answer got was “those are the rules”
  • Email 1: didn’t answer the question
  • Email 2: replied with a lot of copy/paste messaging about irrelevant stuff I already knew but did say the minimum amount related to “integrity of our system”, didn’t know what that was supposed to mean, not really an answer.
  • Email 3: again didn’t answer my question and told me to phone in, however, given that most staff don’t know there is even a minimum withdrawal amount I thought this would be a futile effort and there is no reason why they can’t tell me over email.
  • Email 4: again didn’t anser my question, copied and pasted some fluff from their system
  • Email 5: yet again didn’t answer my question, copied and pasted even more fluff from their system.

Conclusions

  • There could be a perfectly legitimate reason why they have set this amount, even though the majority of PayPal’s competitors have set it at $1, but I can’t get that answer from the company, or more likely they don’t want to tell customers.
  • It actually takes 10+ days to transfer money into PayPal Canada in order for me to withdraw the $15 out, which is a nightmare really. Other platforms have faster “deposit from bank account” process.
  • If PayPal customer service cannot answer this simple question how are they going to perform at other, probably more important, questions?
  • People will, rightfully or wrongfully, assume they are holding onto these smaller amounts to maximise their profits
  • PayPal might be a great company with a good product and hard dedicated workers but these frustrating issues override any worthwhile things they might want to achieve.
  • There are many other companies that provide similar services to PayPal so it’s worth looking around for one that meets your needs.

Final Say

PayPal might be ok to deal if:

  • Any transactions you may want to withdraw quickly into your bank account are over the minimum withdrawal limit, the platform is not good for small amounts (as is often advertised).
  • You are not reliant on moving funds into them from your bank account quickly,
  • You don’t have to deal with customer service as they don’t appear to be particularly helpful in resolving matters.
  • PayPal have had a lot of media attention through their dodgy practices, been the subject of class action law suits and many unhappy people can be found online. Here is one frightening incident involving PayPal I picked up on:
2019-04-28T23:55:20+00:0024 April 2019|Customer Service|0 Comments

Worst Customer Service 2018

Customer ServiceEvery year I have reported on my worst Customer Service experiences, this is a summary of my bad experiences in 2018.  I seem to report the same companies year in year out who aren’t able to get their act together or at least don’t learn lessons from previous experiences. I’m not sure why that is, maybe they just don’t want to listen to clients or they are too big to be able to pull themselves together.

When it comes to Customer Service my expectations are as follows:

  1. Preferably I can resolve any issues via self-service through a website/online account.
  2. If I have to reach out to a company I expect that:
    1. I only have to call them once
    2. I don’t have to keep chasing them for an answer
    3. I don’t have to escalate to social media, or even worse the Better Business Bureau, to get them to do something about the issue

Sounds easy huh? Not for some companies.

Kaiser Permanente

I stopped doing business with them 18 months ago when we moved from the US to Canada.  I had many awful experiences with them when I was a customer I was so pleased to be shot of them.  All of a sudden this year I started receiving sales emails from them despite telling them to never contact me again. Of course, they don’t have any business in Canada so I reached out to them to find out why they had started contacting me and asking them to take me off the mailing list.  This episode went on for many weeks trying to get an answer from them to the extent that I had to report them to the Better Business Bureau.  They finally responded to the BBB comment but not only did they lie but didn’t answer the questions I had. So, the issue was never resolved but hopefully, they got the message and won’t ever contact me again.

HSBC

Again, another company who we consistently having issues with, the UK is much better than Canada and the US.

We closed our accounts in the US as we experienced some racism from one of the Virginia branches. We tried for over a year to get a safety deposit box here in Canada.  We went to multiple HSBC branches, some had availability and some didn’t. No one ever seemed to be available to take us through the “sign up and approval” process, not sure why we had to go through that, didn’t have that workflow with any other banks. So, this went on and on with promises of a call back’s and more, it never happened. Finally, we escalated to a manager who we were dealing with about something else. She tried to be as helpful as she could but it took weeks for her to get something going too by which time we were so fed up and dragged down by the process we just had to say we’d take our business elsewhere.  This should have been the simplest thing to resolve and I’m not sure why it was so difficult for them.

Hostgator

I used to host my website with this company and had multiple problems, in particular with downtime. I had so much back and forth with them I was never getting really helpful answers. They charged me for something they shouldn’t have done but fortunately they did resolve that, not without a bit of aggravation, but it was thankfully put to rest.  I just think this company take on more than it can chew with the number of customers on shared hosting plans that many sites fall over despite not reach the limitations of the plan they signed up for.  I’ve never come across a friendly and helpful person in this company, I wonder what the work climate in there is like.

Telus

Earlier this year Telus tried to sign us up for their cable package but there was so much confusion over the plan they were offering we decided not to go ahead.  I believe this was mainly due to Telus agents, companies that act on Telus’ behalf to sell plans.  We wanted to see details of the plan in writing with terms and conditions, I thought this was reasonable before signing up to anything.  This was not forthcoming from anyone, even Telus told us this wouldn’t be available until after we had signed the contract.  I found all this terribly bizarre and they wouldn’t supply me with what I needed to make a decision so we didn’t go ahead. It could have gone better for them. We have encountered some of Telus’ own salespeople at various events, to say they are aggressive is an understatement, although I do appreciate the company sponsoring so many good community events. There was one issue I had with them which was resolved very quickly, maybe they are improving?

Summary

It could have been worse, I know many people who are going through far worse issues with companies that I have, so I am thankful most of these are just annoyances rather than something more serious.

2019-01-07T23:33:30+00:007 January 2019|Customer Service|0 Comments