- Talking to “Customer Service” while on the way home – 30 minutes
- Calling “Customer Service” back after getting cold transfered to the wrong department – 15 minutes
- Finding what I need on Download.com within five minutes of looking – priceless
I use a little known product from Intuit that allows me create and manage invoices. It is a basic piece of software, but does exactly what I need it to do. I recently bought a new hard drive and loaded Vista Business and Office 2007, of which I got for free from Microsoft earlier this year. I have been slowly moving everything over to Vista and have been very picky on what stays and what goes. Well I need the Quickbooks Invoice Manager and I have a legit copy that I paid for and downloaded in June of 2006. With receipt in hand, I call Intuit to discuss retrieving the download. I had already checked online and my account was not showing the download as available.
So I get Rep#1 on the phone and explain my need. He asks me for lots of generic information and leaves me sitting with dead air for minutes at a time while does stuff on his computer. Occasionally I would ask to make sure he was still there. At one point, unannounced, he just dropped me to hold music. He did come back though. He eventually told me that the download was not available and that I would have to buy a CD, but he didn’t know how to order it and didn’t know how much it would cost. Then he transfered me to a department that couldn’t help me at all. They offered up a phone number to call. So I hung up and called it.
Guess what? IT WAS THE SAME PLACE I HAD ORIGINALLY CALLED! So I go through the painful automated system again and get another rep. Rep#3. I explained the situation and made it clear that I simply wanted to re-download the software or find some way to get the disk. The girl then put me on hold for a few minutes. When she got back she offered to transfer me to another department, since their department only dealt with the higher end Quickbooks products.
I never got nasty with the reps, it’s usually not their fault, but I did give her a breakdown of the poor experience I had been dealing with from the moment I started my call to Inuit. Luckily I had been doing some searching of my own, since I had made it home at this point, and I was delighted to find that the Intuit Quickbooks Invoice Manager I had been looking for was right there on Download.com.
My bad for calling the the software maker to get a copy of software that I already own. I realize that making software more accessible (Trialware easily available on your site) leads to higher potential of piracy, but I am not sure that over protection is the answer. My core belief is this. If software is well made and very popular, people will pay for it. A great example would be Adobe products. The cost of entry is very high. So some pay for it. If the cost of entry was lower, more people would pay for the product and that would lead to less Adobe piracy.
Software issues aside, it was amazing to me that my simple need was impossible to fulfill with a quick call. Not only that, I was able fix my simple problem using resources that had nothing to do with Intuit AND it was legal.
How many times have you called a large company, only to be transfered multiple times, and in the end either had to work very hard to get the help you needed or walked away with no help at all? I have worked in a call center before and guess what. I was that guy that people loved to talk to because I would fix the problem. And if I didn’t fix it on the spot, I would follow up until the problem was fixed. The problem with that? I got lots of heat for not taking enough calls. This was a consistent problem for me and the fact that my rate of successful repair was three to four times my neighbors had no weight in the situation. My performance was on quantity only.
I realize big business exists because they are filling a need, an ever changing need at that. This ever changing adjustment leads to an ever changing internal environment, which is why the turnover is so high and you run into problems more often. Here is where I run into trouble on a personal basis, I love forward progress. I love to continually challenge myself, more importantly, be continually challenged by the people I work for. So I guess you could say that I have something in common with those big wigs at big business X. My only hope is that the bad personal experiences we have all had are inadvertent. A stumbling block that is more of a growing pain, rather than a result of greed and abused social and economic power.
So what can I expect in 15 or 20 years? More of the same, or will those guys that get it make the changes and turn big business into the vision that most Americans want to have about big business. Don’t forget, big business, as it is today, can still be considered young. And as we all know, youth is often spent learning lessons for the future.
Will big business become an honor roll student and get a scholarship to Harvard, or might big business end up in the clank for all of the bad decisions they made?
Only time will tell…. But for now, I will tolerate as much as possible, while at the same time, try to find the more reasonable and simpler solutions to my big busniess problems.
PS – An update on a previous post. Verizon never sent me the packing materials I need to return my freaking receiver. Guess I will be navigating ye ole’ endless automated systems again tomorrow.