Outsourcing Blues

An actual transcript from a “technical support” chat with Microsoft.

Outsourcing telephone support jobs to cheaper foreign labor sources is one of the reasons my sister is currently unemployed. But that’s just one of the reasons I’m so opposed to outsourcing. The other is obvious from this actual transcript from a recent technical support session I had with Microsoft. This alone is one good reason to avoid buying products from companies that outsource their technical support.

Welcome to Microsoft Windows XP Chat Support
The Windows XP Chat Session has been accepted.

{Vinoth}Thank you for using Microsoft Windows XP Chat Support. My name is Vinoth. May I address you by your first name?
{Maria Langer}Yes.
{Vinoth}Thank you.
{Vinoth}Maria, how are you today?
{Maria Langer}I’d be better if I could get this thing to work.
{Maria Langer}Can I explain my configuration to you? It’s somewhat unusual.
{Maria Langer}I think knowing what I have here will help you.
{Vinoth}Maria, please do not worry, I will put my level best to fix this issue.
{Maria Langer}All the computers are networked via a wireless network on an Airport Base Station.
{Maria Langer}So I know the wireless part is okay.
{Maria Langer}The printer is an HP LaserJet 2100TN network printer.
{Maria Langer}It is connected to one of the Macs via an Ethernet cable and hub.
{Maria Langer}I cannot, however get the PC to print to the printer.
{Vinoth}Is your computer is connected to a Domain or a Workgroup?
{Maria Langer}Domain or workgroup. Not sure what you mean.
{Vinoth}Is the airport basestation is connected to any fileserver?
{Maria Langer}No.
{Vinoth}Just to make sure I have the correct information, could you please confirm the following information?
Case ID : SRZ050606001585
Email Address : mlanger@xxx.com
Phone Number : 928-684-XXXX
{Maria Langer}That looks right
{Vinoth}In case, if we need to contact you through phone regarding this issue, what would be the best suitable time (A two hour time slot with the time zone)?
{Maria Langer}Mornings are best. I’m here by 7 AM MST.
{Vinoth}We are going to troubleshoot this issue through chat and in case if we need to contact you through, can I take the suitable call back time as 7 am – 9 am MST?
{Maria Langer}Any time from 7 AM to 3 PM should work.
{Maria Langer}That’s a more precise answer.
{Vinoth}Maria, I understand that you want to install a network printer in your wireless network environment, is this correct?
{Maria Langer}Let me try this again.
{Maria Langer}I want to connect to an existing printer that is connected to a computer accessible via a wireless network.
{Maria Langer}Ok.
{Maria Langer}I guess the terminology would be to “add” a network printer to Windows.
{Vinoth}May I know how many computers connected in your network?
{Maria Langer}There are actually 3 Macs and 2 PCs, including my husband’s laptop in the other room. But I don’t access the Laptop.
{Vinoth}Maria, I understand that you have 3 Macs and 2 PCs and your laptop, currently the HP Printer is connected to one of the MAC and working correctly as a Local Printer, now you want to install that printer as a network printer so that you can give print from any one of this computer, is this correct?
{Maria Langer}Yes, but that printer is also working fine as a network printer among the Macs. Printer sharing is turned on on the Mac.
{Maria Langer}I don’t think it’s working as a “local” printer at all. They all access via the network.
{Maria Langer}The answer, according to the Apple support site, is to set up SMB/CIFS printer sharing.
{Maria Langer}There’s nothing about it in onscreen help.
{Maria Langer}http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?path=Mac/10.4/en/mh1770.html
{Vinoth}Do you able to access that network computer through any of the other two Windows XP Desktop computers?
{Maria Langer}Yes.
{Maria Langer}The computer I’m trying to print from has no trouble “talking” to any of the Macs via the Wireless network.
{Vinoth}May I know the operating system of both the MAC and the Desktop Computer (XP Home or Professional)?
{Maria Langer}Mac = Mac OS X 10.4.1
{Maria Langer}PC = Windows XP Home
{Vinoth}Thank you for providing this information. Please give me 2 to 5 minutes, while I go through this case information. In the meantime, please read through the following:
{Vinoth}In the meantime, if for any reason you need to reconnect to Chat Support regarding this issue, please use your SRZ case number.

To reconnect, please do the following:
1) Open “Help & Support”
2) Choose to “Get Support”
3) Choose to “Get Help from Microsoft”
4) On the next screen, choose the option to “View My Support Requests”
5) Click on this SRZ Case number in the ID list and then select Chat.
{Maria Langer}Okay. Perhaps you can point me to a document with the following information:
{Maria Langer}”To print to your printer, Windows users must configure an SMB/CIFS network printer and use the Postscript printer driver, even if the printer isn’t a Postscript printer. Your Mac will translate the Postscript code into code the printer can understand. Have the Windows users see their Windows documentation for information on adding a network printer.”
{Vinoth}Now, all the computers in the network able to communicate with each other (both the Mac & Desktop Win XP) and the HP printer is working as a network printer and you can able to access the printer on all the MAC computer and now you want to share the printer so the Windows XP Computer can also access that computer, is this correct?
{Maria Langer}The printer is already set up for sharing, but the PC can’t “see” it.
{Maria Langer}In other words, I’ve done everything correctly on the Mac side. It’s the windows side I can’t get set up right.
{Vinoth}Does only the Windows XP Desktop computer unable to access the Printer or the MAC?
{Maria Langer}Yes.
{Vinoth}Does the MAC computer able to access this network printer?
{Maria Langer}Yes.
{Maria Langer}All of the computers can print to the printer EXCEPT THE WINDOWS PC.
{Vinoth}Okay, please give me 5 to 7 minutes to research this issue.
{Vinoth}Thanks for waiting. I appreciate your patience.
{Vinoth}Maria, since the printer is connected to one of the MAC, it lies under out of our Windows XP Support boundary, but still I will my level best to fix this issue.
{Vinoth}I’m going to research this issue for you now. It could take up to 5 to 8 minutes to check every possible avenue for a resolution to our issue. If you need to step away from the computer for a few minutes while I’m researching it, please feel free to do so. Your patience and co-operation is highly appreciated.
{Maria Langer}THIS IS BULLSHIT. The problem is, you don’t understand English.
{Maria Langer}While I was waiting for you to decipher the information, I FIXED THE DAMN PROBLEM.
{Maria Langer}Why do you think I have FIVE MACS and only one PC?
{Maria Langer}Because I’m sick of dealing with support people who will use any excuse they can to NOT answer a question they don’t understand.
{Vinoth}I am sorry for the inconvenience.

At that point, I left the chat.

Subsequently, Microsoft tried to contact me several times to talk to me about this session. I refused to talk to them.

It’s a shame that one of the biggest companies in the world, owned by the richest man in the world, turns its back on the U.S. public by outsourcing jobs to people who don’t even have the basic communications skills needed to get the job done.

I’d ask everyone to boycott Microsoft, but we all know how impossible that is. Instead, I ask that if you have a similar experience, write to Microsoft to complain. Let them know that U.S. customers want to be supported by U.S. workers. Keep jobs for American companies in the U.S.

What do you think?