Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Reminiscing: The Dead Queue trick

Today's update is a little different: a little reminiscing about my job in customer service, inspired by Blank Top Cab and Bannable Offenses.

As I've mentioned before, I wasn't always an e-mail rep. I used to work the phones.
Back then I was the model of professionalism. I could argue with a customer for 20 minutes and not give an inch if the policy backed me, and even though they'd be swearing at me and calling me all kinds of things, I never got mean with my customers. There are a lot of things a tech support CSR can pull to make your life harder, especially if you're an IT guy and depend on tech support for your job. I knew all of them, but I never went there. But other CSRs did.

One of the favorite punishments: the Dead Queue trick.

See, for just about every product Microsoft makes, tech support has a different phone queue for their phone calls. The CSRs job is to put you in the right queue (once you pay up, or whatever you have to do). Sometimes, a product gets old and they stop supporting. Usually, when they do that, they remember to turn off the phone queue. But not always.

Once in awhile, they would overlook that step. They would train the techs to support a different product and have them logging into that new product's queue to take calls. And the old queue just sat there, unused, because the CSRs new that product was unsupported and would just turn you away.

Until you piss one off.

Let's say you call in because your e-mail server is down, and you're being a jerk. Demanding to speak to a tech right away, one in the good ol' U.S. of A., for godsakes, and you're not going to pay because it's a problem with the product, and on and on and on. And then you call the CSR a "piss-ant" because he can't deliver this miracle support. And this CSR knows that the old queue for, say, Kid's games for the Macintosh is no longer used, but still exists.

He gets all nice, gives you your case number, promises you sunshine and roses, and transfers you. Into the Kids' games for Mac queue. You hear the hold music, you hear the pre-recorded announcements about how you can look for answers on support.microsoft.com. And you will hear that music until you hang up or die, because no one is logged in to take calls from that queue.

I.T. guys are used to waiting an hour or more for tech support. They'll listen to that hold music for a looooong time before they realize something's wrong.


Blogger Brian said...

That's good.... Too bad you can't be there when they realize what happened....

12/08/2006 08:02:00 AM  
Blogger Customer Service Hell said...


The bad part was being the rep who got the call they made after the Dead Queue trick was pulled on them. When you tell the customer who's been on hold for 2 hours that the queue for their product only has a 15 minute wait time...it's not pretty.

12/11/2006 07:15:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home