The efficiency of today’s vaunted “help desk”

A recent phone conversation to a “help desk” illustrates how far we’ve come since the “good ole days”:


A recent chat session with one Company’s vaunted “HELP DESK” (Skype), as I was in a BIG HURRY…

  • First, a wait on hold for 8:23 before reaching representative because the last call ended without results. After 30 minutes of getting nowhere I decided to call back to try and reach a more “knowledgeable” person. This time I recorded the session, and here are the results:
  • thom.adams.56 = mostdiggity


11/20/2012 5:05:46 AM          Michael Julius S.  

Hello! Welcome to Skype Live Support! My name is Michael Julius S. Kindly give me a few minutes to review your previous chat.

 11/20/2012 5:06:07 AM          thom.adams56


no problem.

 11/20/2012 5:10:33 AM          Michael Julius S.  

As I’ve understood, you are placing a call using your Skype to go, but it never pushes through because it was not recognize by the destination phone, correct?

 11/20/2012 5:13:35 AM          thom.adams56


No. I connect to the other phone. As you well know many businesses have a que system whereby you are then asked something like, If you would like to speak with the Head Garbage Master, please press 1, etc…ya-ya-da-ya-da. Now, when I use my Skype call pad to “press1” their system cannot recognize that I’ve pressed any number at all. After dozens of attempts and a few minutes have transpired, I get the obligatory, “thanks for calling… bye” and your system hangs up on me.

 11/20/2012 5:15:09 AM          Michael Julius S.  

Kindly hold on while I check on this for you.

 11/20/2012 5:19:56 AM          Michael Julius S.  

(ten minutes have passed, but I’m still patient)

Upon checking on your concern, and your statement, you were able to place a Skype call to a business number via their trunk line, and upon connection, the system will ask you to press a certain number to be connected to a department local number.

 11/20/2012 5:20:56 AM          thom.adams56

(getting tense)

Correcta-mundo! Now, what is your answer?  What do I do?

 11/20/2012 5:22:46 AM          Michael Julius S.  

As soon as you were able to connect to a certain line using Skype, it is already connected, since you pressed a number and the call suddenly drops, it is already in the provider of that destination whose having technical problem connecting you.

 11/20/2012 5:26:01 AM          thom.adams56

(getting pissed)

Do what? No. You are incorrect. The call does not “suddenly drop”. I am connected to a phone system which, if I want to speak with someone (a real live person), they require that I “press” a certain number. Upon doing so my good friend, the system (phone on the other side) does NOT recognize numbers that I “press”. How is it that Skype hasn’t thought of correcting this basic issue that MUST be common to all of mankind?

It’s as if I didn’t “press” any number at all, which… I swear to the heavens above… I have done so, did, and have done so many times. 

 11/20/2012 5:29:43 AM          Michael Julius S.  

I respect how you feel. You are absolutely right to feel that way.

 11/20/2012 5:29:50 AM          thom.adams56

(curious but anxious)

Michael? Tell you what… who is it that I can email or call that actually understands the issue and can give reliable feedback?

 11/20/2012 5:30:42 AM          Michael Julius S.  

You said a while ago that the call is connected, Correct?

 11/20/2012 5:31:02 AM          thom.adams56



 11/20/2012 5:32:31 AM          Michael Julius S.

But when the recipient number asks you to press a local number for them to connect you, it will not recognize the number that you pressed, and that you will be dropped, correct?

 11/20/2012 5:33:53 AM          thom.adams56

(thinking violent thoughts but staying composed)

NO! It does not drop me immediately, but I suspect after “NOT” hearing/recognizing that I’m over here pressing the hell out of numbers on my keyboard… the system is designed to hang up my call.

 11/20/2012 5:37:21 AM          Michael Julius S.  

What I am trying to explain here is the fact that the call is connected from you to the other line where in a system is prompt to answer, if it does not recognize the number that you pressed, then the issue should be informed to the local provider of that destination.

 11/20/2012 5:38:53 AM          thom.adams56

(trying to overcome screaming and throwing my phone through the window)

Look my good buddy, all I want to know is how do “we” fix this issue? What do I do?

 11/20/2012 5:39:59 AM          Michael Julius S.

I clearly understand how you feel and I am here to assist you with your concern.

 11/20/2012 5:41:22 AM          thom.adams56

(falsey appealing to his humaneess and understanding of my plight)

Seriously, I am want to understand your answer, as it is apparently way over my head, or maybe it just REALLY isn’t in the ballpark. Therefore… in the interest of civility, good faith, and trust in you and your employer (contractor) and mankind in general, could you please direct me to another person who specializes in such matters as these?

 With all due respect, you appear to be giving me the run-around or don’t have a clue what the real issue is Mike. Just…PLEASE… I beg you… GIVE ME ANOTHER PERSON TO CHAT WITH.NOW!

  11/20/2012 5:41:22 AM          thom.adams56  

(THEN pretending empathy)

Perhaps someone who speaks on a more “direct” level with me (as I feel we have a slight issue of communication). And hey, isn’t that what Skype is ALL ABOUT? Communicado? And customer service?

 11/20/2012 5:44:14 AM          thom.adams56

BTW, tell me Michael, are you a real “live” person, or some sort of artificial intelligent program that has yet to be provided with information such as this?

 11/20/2012 5:44:58 AM          Michael Julius S.  

Clearly, we’ve upset you and I want you to know that getting to the bottom of this is just as important to me as it is to you.

 11/20/2012 5:47:52 AM          thom.adams56


No, no… I’m not upset. Now… just simply curious about this session. Are you a “live” person? This isn’t meant to be an insult because I respect everyone (alive) and such. We, if you are a live human, have no problem excepting a slight communication problem. I can easily understand that, and it doesn’t at all make me angry. But, if you are not “real” or “alive”, I feel a bit duped by someone or something. Are you for real?

 11/20/2012 5:50:17 AM          Michael Julius S.  

This is not a system generated chat, Thom.

 11/20/2012 5:50:40 AM          thom.adams56


So, that means you are indeed alive?  Really?

 11/20/2012 5:51:00 AM          Michael Julius S.  

You are correct.

 11/20/2012 5:53:25 AM          thom.adams56

(feining friendliness)

Great. Thank you. Now, as for the other matter, I think we both realize that we are no closer to solving the issue or even understanding it between ourselves. Not a problem, my fellow human. It’s all good. But, I have one simple request:

Who else at Skype might I consider contacting about my problem? And, please remember, this isn’t about you, it’s about me and my Skype problem. Understand what I’m getting at?

 11/20/2012 5:57:31 AM          Michael Julius S.  

Thank you for that, and for your patience as well.

 11/20/2012 5:58:53 AM          Michael Julius S.  

I would like to find the best solution to this for you.

 11/20/2012 6:00:24 AM          thom.adams56

(The ole I’m on you’re team pal and we’re in this together against the POWERS THAT BE)

Ok. Now we are on the same page. How about giving me somebody’s email address or something? Maybe a name you’ve heard or a number you have that guys like me are not usually given because as such we are not lining their pockets fast enough? I can tell them what a great job you are doing.

 11/20/2012 6:02:17 AM          Michael Julius S.  

May I provide you with a possible solution to this issue?

 11/20/2012 6:05:06 AM          Michael Julius S.  

We understand that you want to dial DTMF tones with Skype for Windows?

 11/20/2012 6:05:28 AM          Michael Julius S.  

Please note that our DTMF tone sending system is configured to work with the highest possible number of different DTMF systems. Nevertheless, some may have special requirements (for example, differing tone duration). In this case, try pressing the numbers more slowly to create longer tone duration and spaces between tones.  To call a number manually using the dial pad:

 11/20/2012 6:09:02 AM          thom.adams56

(resignation but indignent)

Mike, as patience is a virtue… but one that I was shorted on by god above I am going to leave you in the spirit of peace and happiness (in other words, quit bothering you today). Trust me on this my good buddy when i say that Skype in all their glorified holiness has not left you with enough details as to be able to answer basic simple sessions such as this. You are doing a good job, but Skype is lacking. I shall seek answers in other quarters about this fairly commonplace problem (of which thousands or millions of others must have also suffered with no obvious relief). Perhaps they have programmers all over this right now as we chat? I don’t know, but I am damn sure gonna find out. Peace out!

 11/20/2012 6:10:23 AM          Michael Julius S.  

It’s been a pleasure speaking with you today. Thank you for contacting Skype Live Support, have a great day.

 11/20/2012 6:09:02 AM          thom.adams56

(yeah right)

Hey Mike! Eat me!!

NOTE: Time spent not including 8 minutes of hold time – 1:03:23