What is it about calling to activate a Windows installation that makes us feel like we’re stealing cable? Is it just me? In any event, I’ve had occassion to call or be called twice in the last few weeks and so have several other people I know.
In my specific case I had one installation on new <relatively new> hardware by phone. The representative was both cordial and courteous. I bombarded him with my information and probably at 4:00 AM my stampeding monotone voice should have made him a bit jittery. To be fair I drink a lot of coffee and have my relevant information in front of me whenever I call anybody, not just Microsoft.
In less than 5 minutes we were rolling on a freshly activated Windows 10, and now if I can sing someone’s praises I shall do so. Microsoft you have great people behind those desks.
The second call wasn’t a call at all or it wouldn’t have been…
The help desk software through microsoft.com patched me through to a girl who (later) sounded like she was perhaps from India. She called me as my computer unexpectedly shut off during her remote desktop session. (I accidently ejected the battery because I’m trying to see the product code on the bottom of the laptop while typing on the keyboard and basically yes also drinking coffee.)
If anyone could virtually sabotage a customer service person’s target time it was me… (Why am I telling you all of this?)
Short version of that story goes like this, this girl got it done inside of 10 minutes in spite of a remote session going dead, and a bad internet connection. Not to mention she had to list the product code phonetically because we couldn’t hear one another.
This girl deserved an award… unfortunately and on a related note, two days later I dumped off that installation because Windows 10 literally hates that laptop. It hated it during the testing phase of the insider program and it hates it in exactly the same way now. No decent video drivers, no decent sound drivers… I tried everything, most of it twice in every mode imaginable from admistrative to compatibility modes xp through 7.
Some older hardware isn’t meant to carry the newest software forward I guess. (I’ll try again eventually, and that is probably enough to keep some of the nicest customer service people wary of my call.)
They handled it like champions. True professionals.
What have we learned?
Computer manufacturers need to change their policies as to which hardware they’ll try to support through major upgrades in software. These cycles aren’t hard to predict, every three years a new Windows, every ten minutes a new Linux. Either make them all (the hardware drivers) marginally more compatible, or more clever companies will probably own those markets sooner than later.
Some customers tend to keep our machines until they don’t work no matter what we do to fix them. If a company started selling driver software that made older machines run newer software better I’d invest in their stock.
*I’ve ripped the broken monitor off of old laptops to run them through vga cables on desktop monitors… Like a deranged caveman who knows how to get another 4 years out of that machine.
We’ve also learned that no matter what Microsoft does, or Linux for that matter it all filters through the limitations imposed by time constrained hardware. Though I suppose we just learned that a paragraph ago.
Most importantly we learned that the human element is the most memorable to a difficult customer whether he meant to be or not. I wouldn’t write something like this unless I knew that my friends had all recieved this same level of consideration through what is essentially an awkward phone conversation waiting to happen.
Thanks Microsoft team!
And for the love of all things fluffy come up with a video display driver that has graphics acceleration enough to play games that came out 10 years ago!