Customer Support for Dummies

Step 1: Assume that the customer is a dummy.
Actually, cancel that - presume that the customer is a dummy and then proceed.

Is it just me who has these encounters? Is it etched on the lines of my palm?

So, to start the rant, the old faithful, Sony Cybershot s40, nigh on 5 years old now, which in camera years is about 85 was having a problem. On fresh, highly charged batteries, it would last 5-6 shots maximum, before the indicator went to zero and the thing gave up the ghost. Sometimes, even before the lens had time to retract.

Act 1: Scene 1:
Telephone Conversation:

Me: Yes, I have this camera, s40 and it doesn't last even 10 shots on fully charged batteries.
CSE*: How old is this camera?
Me: About 5 years or so..
CSE: Hmmm ... I see, are you using Sony Batteries?
Me: No.
CSE: Sir, I recommend that you use Sony Batteries.
Me: What difference does it make?
CSE: Sir, its the capacity ....
Me: I have a set of 2700mAh batteries, same story.
CSE: Sir, there are other specifications...
Me: Really, like what?
CSE: Errr..... Why don't you test with Sony Batteries and see if it works.
Me: So you want me to spend 1000Rs. on another set of batteries just so you can test your theory? Are you going to reimburse me for them?
CSE: Our service center is open till 6:30 .... this is the address....
Me: You could have saved both our times and just told me this before ...
<hangs up>

*CSE: Customer Service Executive

Act 1: Scene 2:
At Customer Service Center:

Me: <repeating same old story>
CSE:(extracts batteries from camera)
CSE: Now, you see, these are 1.2 volt batteries. Thats why you are facing a problem.
Me: (thinking) Oh God, not another idiot!
Me: Really?
CSE: Yes, you need atleast 2500 megaAmps capacity.
Me: You just said volts.
CSE: Yours only have that written on them.
Me: (thinking) okkkk .. why isn't mercy killing legal, anyway ...
CSE: (showing Sony NiMh cell) See, this is 2700megaAmps. (the '2700' is printed in a larger font than 'Sony', presumably for people like him)
Me: (showing small, but perfectly legible print on my cell) Well, this is a 2000 mAh.
CSE: There is your problem.
Me: Look, when this camera came out, 1200mAh was all there was on the market. It worked fine then. Do your cameras adapt to higher capacity batteries?
CSE: (undoes lanyard) ok. We'll take a look at it. (fiddles with all the buttons)
The mode selector is stuck.
Me: Ohh is it? yeah, I probably didn't check while putting it back together. I moved the switch when it was open, so they don't align anymore.
CSE: (looking at me like I had just confessed to killing my cat and turning it into a handbag) You opened it! <shock><awe><disgust>
Me: Yes, is that a problem? Its out of warranty. And its mine, I can do what I want to with it.
CSE: (avoiding looking at me) I will have to consult with our Engineer to see if we can take this in.
Me: Really? Go ahead.
CSE: <hush-hush conversation on phone. Probably in proprietary Sony® invented language. And compressed in ATRAC>
CSE: Well, we can accept it.
Me: <batting eyelashes> My Hero!
Me: <getting up to leave> Ohhh and by the way... its milliamps. You almost solved India's power crisis single handedly there....

On a side note, 'Executive' in this sense seems to be defined as:
1.a person or group of persons having administrative or supervisory authority in an organization.
2.the person or persons in whom the supreme executive power of a government is vested.
3.the executive branch of a government.

4.of, pertaining to, or suited for carrying out plans, duties, etc.: executive ability.
5.pertaining to or charged with the execution of laws and policies or the administration of public affairs: executive appointments; executive committees.
6.designed for, used by, or suitable for executives: an executive suite.

Some dimwit recruited off the street and made to sit behind a desk after a week of training in parroting phrases out of a manual doesn't really fit any of those meanings.

What gives?

P.S.: Further Scenes and Acts to follow. No doubt, they will be along similar lines.


mak said...

"Do your cameras adapt to higher capacity batteries?".... hilarious!

Akshay said...

What! Software always adapts to higher capacity hardware .. !

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