Two times since I have been in Suriname, my Hotmail (yes, I still use Hotmail) account has been blocked. Microsoft tells me that someone else is trying to access my account, asks me for my password (which I know, of course), then offers to send me a code to unlock my account.
The first time this happened, the code came quickly and I was able to get back online. This time, no code ever came, and apparently I exceeded the number of times to request a code. So I asked for assistance in getting back into my account. The first note I received, when I submitted the request, was that it would take a couple of hours.
Apparently, Microsoft’s standard has changed, because I received a follow up e-mail at my second e-mail address. Here is the standard e-mail I got:
We have received your Microsoft Account recovery request for _________. Your issue number for this request is 50014686.
Once we have reviewed the answers you submitted we will update you on the status of your request at this email address. If we can verify that you are the account owner you will receive a link to reset your password.
Please note that due to high volumes, it may take 5 to 7 days for us to review the information you submitted. Issues are being processed in the order in which they were received.
We apologize for the inconvenience, and we will respond as soon as possible to your request.
Microsoft Support Team
Five to seven DAYS??? What the hell kind of support is THAT?
So I went online to find a way to talk to a PERSON to get this resolved. After 1/2 hour of being sent round and round the Microsoft “Customer Support” site, I found a place to do an online chat. So I got in the queue.
Three hours later, nothing. I was asked for my name, e-mail address (because THAT will work) and what was my problem.
What is my problem? My problem is with companies that have eliminated all forms of customer service and send us in circles on their web sites. My problem is that you keep blocking me and won’t allow me back into my account, even though I know all of the answers to all of the security questions you pose. My problem is that I use that e-mail account for both work and professional purposes, so I am right now effectively crippled, because most everyone does not know my secondary e-mail address (it’s Gmail, and before you all comment on how SUPERIOR Gmail is to Hotmail, well, it’s not. At least with Hotmail I can sort things into folders easily, I have a preview pane, and can maintain a contact list. Gmails functions are 10 years behind in these respects).
What this does remind me of, however, is a time before our reliance on the Internet and e-mail to conduct business and personal lives. I am certainly able to work more effectively and efficiently, and to reach out to more people than I was able to before the advent of e-mail, but when it goes down, you have to wait it out and find something else to do.
I also wonder when did large companies who are automatically industry leaders decide that it was okay to do away with customer service, and to send their customers in circles trying to find a person to help? Why is it okay that they do this – why do we tolerate it? Certainly they can afford to hire Customer Service Representatives, especially because so many of them now off-shore that function to countries in Asia. So why make your customers angry? Do you think that any one of us don’t matter?
Microsoft will never answer these questions – it does not have to. And no one really holds them accountable for this – poor customer service seems to be a growing trend in the U.S. (certainly it already exists in other countries).
By the way, I still cannot get in.