Wednesday, 23 December 2009

What does the letter P stand for?

For the past 5 days, TOH has been having trouble with the Norton AntiVirus Helpdesk.  It had gotten to the point that it is so bad it's started affecting me.  So of course I had to blog about it.  Because yes, I am going somewhere with my (seemingly) disjointed rants.

TOH's computer woes started when a worm got past Norton AntiVirus' version 2.  Which necessitated a call to their Helpdesk; a techie comes along, sorts it out and all is supposed to be well.  And in a few hours the problems start again.  TOH's computer starts running slower then stops dead.  So the calls to the Helpdesk start again.  13 calls later, TOH has accumulated 10 priority numbers, spoken to 13 techies, repeated the case history 13 times, and seen the computer die each time.  Techies went into TOH's registry and modified it, then suggested TOH upgrade to version 3 and taken TOH's money for it.  This is where good faith and desperation can be the undoing of you.  Because after AV v3 went in, the shit really hit the fan.

Now several days and daily phone calls later, TOH's computer is worse off than when the first call to the Helpdesk was made.  The techies started suggesting it was due to clashes with other software on the computer, so they started uninstalling other stuff.  The problem persisted and the case was passed up to the 'elite team' who were apparently defeated by it all.  Because in the end, they started telling TOH that it wasn't a Norton problem.  Never mind TOH's numerous reiterations that there were never any software clashes with the older version of Norton AV.

The long & short of it?  TOH manages to speak to a manager who says the same thing; essentially, it's not Norton's problem.  No matter that a virus got past their AntiVirus software, no matter that their support team had a hand in disabling a computer; they simply said, oh well, it's not our fault, guv, you'll have to sort it out yourself now - and walk away.

No mention of apology for the inability to resolve an issue (because they refused to acknowledge it).  No mention that they took somebody's money for software that isn't usable or even the offer of a refund.  No mention of having taken someone's time up - because most nights TOH was on the phone to them until 03:00 AM, which seriously screwed up my sleep patterns.  But that isn't Norton's problem, is it?

I am accepting of human fraility.  I can understand not being able to solve every problem in the world.  But do you have to pretend it isn't there?  Feign having had no hand in exacerbating a situation?  Wouldn't it be better to accept defeat gracefully and try to placate the customer somehow?  Because turning around at this point and acting like it's the customer's fault is only going to piss them off even further.

And while I may have no problem with placing technical support services in areas where costs are low, I have every issue with Helpdesk personnel who are (a) supercilious, (b) do not listen to and talk over the customer while they are explaining the problem, and (c) do not man up and acknowledge their shortcomings and don't even make any concessions to the damage left in their wake.  That sums up as unhelpful and a shitty attitude in my book.  I understand that they may be faced with a lot of customers who are barely computer literate, but that does not mean that ALL their customers are in the same boat.  And even then, so what?  Does that justify giving people attitude?  Isn't there a clue in the word 'HELPdesk'??

What they don't seem to realise is that theirs is essentially a customer-facing role.  They are the voice of Norton AntiVirus that I have indavertently been listening to for the past 5 days.  Most companies may not have a face anymore in these days of remote working, but their employees are still the embodiment of their company values. 

And this time, the embodiment of Norton AntiVirus has demonstrated that Norton only wants our money but doesn't give a shit about me or TOH.  Symantec, your values suck.  Ease of doing business with you?  A big fat ZERO.

So in this case, the letter P could stand for.... plonkers?  Phucking passholes?


  1. totally agree, although I'm still with aol, they got me to load a new version that kept going wrong and then said 'well that version has bugs and we don't know how to fix them'

    hey ho

  2. Commiserations! It's very much a case of being caught by the short & curlies, isn't it? Can't be with them but can't do without them either...

    Sometimes I wonder if there's even any way to fight back or get even. So I just vent on this blog.

    Like you said, hey ho.

    Still. Bunch of jerks. They just want our money! That's my version and I'm sticking to it.

  3. Thats why I went with F-Secure. Their system has guarded my computer for the past 4 years w/o probs(touch wood).
    But you are right its when you ring time after time and give the same story don't these guys have computers to make entries on? Its even worse when the centre coulb be in Mubai or Cape town or Warrington! If in the first 2 they cant understand you and you cant understand them......