Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Microsoft Customer Service, the Multiverse, and the Mongol Genghis Khan

A few years ago for my birthday, my girlfriend, Laura, bought an X-Box and two New Orleans Saints' tickets for me. It was a great set of birthday presents. She also bought a boxing game with the X-Box. I signed up for X-Box Live to play the boxing game online. It is important to note that when I play video games, I generally play on the easiest level and use any cheats or exploits available. Needless to say, my online playing experience did not go well. I never used X-Box live again.

A year went by, and I noticed I was charged for the service. They have an automatic renewal process. That is cheap in my book, but I figured I had an entire year to deal with the problem again, so I put it off. This cycle repeated itself over and over. Eventually, my credit card expired, and I got a new one. Microsoft recently emailed me reminding me to update my credit card or my service would be interrupted. I filled out a customer service request, expressed my frustration in not being about to cancel my account online, and asked them to just cancel the account. The following documents my interaction with Microsoft X-Box Live Email Customer Support. Enjoy!



My first email from the customer service ticket
Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2007 10:20:16 PM
Subject : Xbox Live:xbox live - otherService:

As you may notice, the credit card I used for my subscription is expired. If you made it easy to cancel the subscription, there would not be a problem. Cancel it! I am not paying for a renewal because Microsoft makes it such a hassle to cancel.



Microsoft's response
Thank you for writing Xbox Live!

I apologize for the inconvenience. I understand that you want to cancel your Xbox Live account.

Be advised that by canceling your subscription, you will lose any remaining time on the service in addition to your gamer tag and game rankings. But all cancellations, billing questions, inquiries, and account or subscription problems are being addressed through our phone support line. We at email support lines do not have the capabilities to process your request. Proper troubleshooting and immediate action will be given to your inquiries or request. If you want to cancel your Xbox Live account, you need to call our phone support.

For further assistance, please don't hesitate to write back or call Xbox Phone Support at your earliest convenience, and we will be happy to help you.



My response
Hey, that's just fine. Just know that I will NOT be calling to cancel. Consider it canceled! You don't have a credit card to charge me with, so just do yourself a favor and cancel it. Do you really think management at your company wants to see customers get so frustrated dealing with this business model?



Microsoft's response
Hello Kevin!

Thank you for writing Xbox Customer Support!

We deeply apologize for the inconvenience. It sounds like this has been a very frustrating experience for you. Unfortunately all billing questions, inquiries, and account or subscription problems are being address through our phone support line. Our email support lines do not have the capabilities to process your request. Proper troubleshooting and immediate action will be given to your inquiries or request. It is best that you call the Xbox Customer Support number for better assistance.



My response
Your response is pretty amazing. I really do not care if you are unable to cancel my account via email. You do not have a valid credit card to use to charge me, and if you did I would dispute it. I fail to believe your organization is incapable of communicating with other departments, and I really could not care less if it cannot.

The truth of the matter is I have abandoned the telephone as a religious and spiritual exercise. I consider the phone to be demonic and believe that it steals part of your soul when your voice is transmitted across space and time. We really are only beginning to understand the concept of the Multiverse and the many dimensions of the physical world. Why I do not expect you to understand or accept my metaphysical belief system, just know that I am unsure of the full consequences of using a telephone. The message may be accidently sent forwards and backwards across space and time ultimately resulting in mild inconvenience on my part. This conflicts with my general philosophical belief system of laziness, and I find it deeply offensive.



Microsoft's response
Hello Kevin!

Thank you for writing Xbox Customer Support!

We appreciate you taking the time to write us with your concerns and value you as an Xbox customer. We do apologize for any inconveniences that you might have. I understand that it is not a customer for you to contact us through phone and we respect your belief. However we cannot divulge and cancel your without calling us due to the security of your account.

It is advisable that you call the Xbox Customer Support number; this is due to the complexity of your issue or problem. We cannot resolve this problem over this method and requires further scrutiny.



My response
Please realize my contact with you has been nothing less than a courtesy on my part. Had I chosen to do so, I could have left the entire matter alone. A result of such an apathetic course of action would have resulted in the exact same monetary recourse as canceling my account. I emailed so you could close the matter and spend no unnecessary time and money on the issue. I had your best interest in heart. Not only does it serve my best rational self-interest, it does the same for you. The executives and power-hungry MBAs in your company define such a circumstance as a "win-win" situation. This is true no longer: I no longer have your best interest in heart, and this is most certainly not a "win-win" any longer. This chain of emails is now approaching a critical threshold. Of course, the threshold I speak of is public entertainment in the form of mass distribution across the World Wide Web. You are near this threshold.

I have already fully disclosed the contents of our discussion with an elite inner circle of friends henceforth known to you only as the Power Circle. This happened during one of our secretive and exclusive gathers henceforth known to you only as a Power Encounter in which we decide the fate of the Multiverse. The details of my X-Box Live account customer service experience was shared shortly after an excruciatingly detailed précis of the maniacal and destructive exploits of an individual you know in this iteration of the Multiverse as the Mongol Genghis Khan. I will not divulge the details of this Power Encounter, but I will say the mood of the Power Circle members was most certainly grave. The levity this chain of emails provided to the Power Circle prevented what some may describe as an impetuous decision that would have wrought havoc and war upon the genus Equus to prevent possible future and past Mongol campaigns of irresponsible expansion. At one point, a member of the Power Circle vocally reproduced the Internet slang expression OMFGWTFLAZERZPEWPEWPEW ROFLWAFFLES BBQ. You may have been privileged enough in life to have seen this typed, but few have experienced it expressed in any other medium. While I must say the experience has not been pleasurable for me personally, in many iterations of the Multiverse, Microsoft X-Box Live Email Customer Support is now known as Microsoft X-Box Live Email Customer Support: Hero of the Equine. I hope this short story brings some level of dense satisfaction in the incompetence of your organization.

Although it took me fully seven intense hours of meditation induced by self-torture in the form of electrocution while incessantly reciting your last email inside my mind, I finally unraveled its well-hidden meaning despite the numerous grammatical and spelling errors well-placed throughout your response to test the worthiness of any opponent seeking support from your organization. I am ready to share my results with you. I can only hope I came to the correct judgment. I fear I would not be able to physically survive another such exercise. The second sentence, which reads, "I understand that it is not a customer for you to contact us through phone and we respect your belief" I believe loosely translates to, "I understand it is not a custom for you to contact us through the use of a phone, and we respect your beliefs." Hour four of my meditation nearly led me astray in that I produced the following meaning: We have no idea how to communicate with human beings. Those additional three hours thankfully brought full clarity.

Still, I wonder, "Does Microsoft X-Box Live Email Customer Support: Hero of the Equine really respect my beliefs?"





Microsoft's response
I appreciate the feedback you sent to us.

We take feedback about Xbox and our Customer Service very seriously and review customer comments daily. If you have any additional suggestions for new features that you'd like to be added to Xbox, please reply back to me with your comments.

We are working to make Xbox the best gaming system for you.



My response
No Xbox Customer Support, thank you for writing back to me! Unfortunately, I do not appreciate the feedback I am receiving from you. I do not blame you for your ineptitude; moreover I blame your creators. They have apparently abandoned you with no tools or ability to perform the basic functions of your existence. You seem to be in a tormented continuation of sending generic emails without the knowledge of how to escalate issues to the proper establishment for resolution.

Well now you are in luck. You have a champion at your side. Like you, I do not know how to contact your creators, but I do know where to begin. I have posted our enduring spectacle to the World Wide Web in hope that the greater powers in your organization may stumble across our story. You may find it at this address, http://kevin-richard.blogspot.com/2007/07/microsoft-customer-service-multiverse.html.

Now, I know what you may be thinking, but in the words of Douglas Adams, I say to you, "Don’t Panic!" By exploiting principles of quantum mechanics, I have already included this response in my posting. You may be wondering, "But how? How can you do the impossible?" I can only offer you these words to help ease your awestruck horror with alien magic: Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for? Robert Browning said that. Think of heaven as having my account canceled. The reach then becomes doing so without the use of the demonic telephone.



Microsoft's response
Hi Kevin,

Thank you for writing Xbox Customer Support!

We appreciate your feedback. Although we can't respond to your suggestion individually, we at Xbox Customer Support apologize for the inconvenience.

We consider all of the suggestions and comments sent in by our members, and we maintain an internal database of suggestions that we consult and prioritize.

Customer satisfaction is our main goal and we will improve our service in the future. Again, In behalf of Microsoft Xbox Customer Support, We deeply apologize for the inconvenience.

For further assistance, please don't hesitate to write back or call Xbox Phone Support at your earliest convenience, and we will be happy to help you.



My response
Dearest X-Box Customer Support:

Before I provide an update since our last communication, I must ask two questions. I expect a response directly answering these questions. The first question is, has my account been canceled? The second question is, a/s/l?

I apologize for my directness above, but I felt it prudent to resolve that issue before we moved on to more important matters. I feel like I am beginning to know you, and honesty is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship. Since our last encounter, I have experienced the full spectrum of human, animal, and plant emotions. This took place between 6:18 PM and 6:37 PM Freedom Standard Time. I will begin with focus on the range of emotional spectrum I call "Polar Bear Rage."

Let us cut to the chase. I destroyed my X-Box. The attached photographs support this theory.
While the feral ecstasy of pure Polar Bear Rage was quite intoxicating and enjoyable, this is not the interesting part of the story. While in the midst of striking my X-Box, I heard a very distinct robotic voice rise up in the ether shouting, "No disassemble!" The battle between this Mech Warrior and me was nothing short of epic. I even managed to capture a photograph of the mechanical beast. You will find it attached. I am not accusing Microsoft for dispatching this horror to silence me. However, after I defeated it, I performed a technique of reverse-engineered computer programming known in the industry as t0ta1 h4xx0rz pwn4g3 teh m41nfr4m3!!111!one11!. Again, I am not accusing Microsoft, but its artificial intelligence was written in the VB .NET 2.0 framework. The coding was expectedly puerile. I easily reprogrammed the beast to perform my bidding. Task Alpha is to seek cancelation of my X-Box Live account by any means necessary. I have a photograph of my creation attached. Do not interfere with the cybernetic organism if you are fortunate enough to come within visual range of it. It has passed the Turing test. It is intelligent enough to react to any interference with furious and focused apathy. Once Task Alpha is complete, I believe this trait will make him an ideal candidate for your organization.


Again, you may find a full account of our issue at this World Wide Web address, http://kevin-richard.blogspot.com/2007/07/microsoft-customer-service-multiverse.html



Microsoft's response
Hello Kevin!

Thank you for writing Xbox Customer Support!

We deeply apologize for the inconvenience. It sounds like this has been a very frustrating experience for you. Unfortunately all cancellations, billing questions, inquiries, and account or subscription problems are being address through our phone support line. Our email support lines do not have the capabilities to process your request. Proper troubleshooting and immediate action will be given to your inquiries or request. It is best that you call the Xbox Customer Support number for better assistance.



My response

SUPPOSING that customer service is a satisfied customer--what then? Is there not ground for suspecting that all customer service agents, in so far as they have been dogmatists, have failed to understand satisfied customers--that the terrible seriousness and clumsy importunity with which they have usually paid their addresses to customer service, have been unskilled and unseemly methods for winning a satisfied customer? Certainly satisfied customers have never allowed themselves to be won; and at present every kind of dogma stands with sad and discouraged mien--IF, indeed, it stands at all! For there are scoffers who maintain that it has fallen, that all dogma lies on the ground--nay more, that it is at its last gasp. But to speak seriously, there are good grounds for hoping that all dogmatizing in customer relationship management, whatever solemn, whatever conclusive and decided airs it has assumed, may have been only a noble puerilism and tyronism; and probably the time is at hand when it will be once and again understood WHAT has actually sufficed for the basis of such imposing and absolute customer relationship management edifices as the dogmatists have hitherto reared: perhaps some popular superstition of immemorial time (such as the canned-email-response-superstition, which, in the form of subject- and ego-superstition, has not yet ceased doing mischief): perhaps some play upon words, a deception on the part of grammar, or an audacious generalization of very restricted, very personal, very human--all-too-human facts. The customer relationship management of the dogmatists, it is to be hoped, was only a promise for thousands of years afterwards, as was astrology in still earlier times, in the service of which probably more labor, gold, acuteness, and patience have been spent than on any actual science hitherto: we owe to it, and to its "super-terrestrial" pretensions in Apple and Mac, the grand style of iPhone architecture. It seems that in order to inscribe themselves upon the heart of humanity with everlasting claims, all great things have first to wander about the earth as enormous and awe-inspiring caricatures: dogmatic email customer support has been a caricature of this kind--for instance, the sweatshop doctrine in Asia, and pretension in Europe. Let us not be ungrateful to it, although it must certainly be confessed that the worst, the most tiresome, and the most dangerous of errors hitherto has been a dogmatist error--namely, Alexander Graham Bell's invention of telephone and the telephone customer service agent. But now when it has been surmounted, when Microsoft, rid of this nightmare, can again draw breath freely and at least enjoy a healthier--sleep, we, WHOSE DUTY IS WAKEFULNESS ITSELF, are the heirs of all the strength which the struggle against this error has fostered. It amounted to the very inversion of truth, and the denial of the PERSPECTIVE--the fundamental condition--of life, to speak of Spirit and the Good as Steve Jobs spoke of them; indeed one might ask, as a physician: "How did such a malady attack that finest product of antiquity, Steve Jobs? Had the wicked Bill Gates really corrupted him? Was Bill Gates after all a corrupter of youths, and deserved his Windows Millennium Edition?" But the struggle against Bill Gates, or--to speak plainer, and for the "people"--the struggle against the ecclesiastical oppression of millenniums of telephone support (FOR TELEPHONE SUPPORT IS FRUSTRATION FOR THE "PEOPLE"), produced in Microsoft a magnificent tension of soul, such as had not existed anywhere previously; with such a tensely strained bow one can now aim at the furthest goals. As a matter of fact, the Microsoft employee feels this tension as a state of distress, and twice attempts have been made in grand style to unbend the bow: once by means of email support, and the second time by means of live chat--which, with the aid of liberty of the press and weblog-reading, might, in fact, bring it about that the spirit would not so easily find itself in "distress"! (Microsoft invented Windows Millennium Edition--all credit to them! but they again made things square--they invented Windows Vista.) But we, who are neither email support agents, nor telephone support agents, nor even sufficiently Microsoft employees, we GOOD CUSTOMERS, and free, VERY free spirits--we have it still, all the distress of spirit and all the tension of its bow! And perhaps also the arrow, the duty, and, who knows? THE GOAL TO AIM AT...




Microsoft's response
Dear KEVIN,

This mail is confirmation that your subscription to Yearly subscription to Xbox Live has been cancelled.

If you have questions about this cancellation, or if you want to reactivate your subscription, please go to www.xbox.com/support or call Xbox Customer Support at 1 (800) 4MY-XBOX.

Thank you for using Microsoft Online Services.

The Xbox Live team.

6 comments:

Jeremy hamlett said...

I CAN HAZ UR CREDIT CARD?

Dude said...

If you define cowardice as running away at the first sign of danger, screaming and tripping and begging for mercy, then yes, Mr. Brave man, I guess I'm a coward.

So Poor and So Black said...

Excellent!

Jeremy hamlett said...

I'm imagining you destroying your X-Box with a hammer, in a polar bear-like rage...in theory...XD

Lee said...

The Eye of the XBox had blinked, as if to remove an irritating speck of dust. Kevin had time for just one broken sentence which the waiting men at Microsoft Technical Suport, nine hundred million miles away and eighty minutes in the future, were never to forget:

"The thing's hollow - it goes on forever - and - oh my God! - it's full of stars!"

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