MSDN concierge service useless, customer service still sucks

Already, for the second time in four years that I've subscribed to MSDN, I find that you don't get what you pay for. After my last post about the product key not working for the latest Vista build, this is the chat I had with the "concierge" service.

{Peter}Hello Jeff and welcome to the MSDN Online Concierge. How may I assist you today?
{Jeff Putz}The Vista CTP product key doesn't work for me during installation. I've tried it on two different machines. Other MSDN subscribers that responded to my blog have had no problem.
{Peter}Jeff, the key on MSDN site appears to be outdated. You may contact MSDN customer service by calling toll-free number (800) 759-5474 and reference department A622WEB from 5:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Pacific Time, Monday – Friday, except holidays. (They are closed today).
{Jeff Putz}What's the point of you being here if I need to call someone? That makes no sense. I shell out more than a grand a year so I can be told to call someone else for your problem? That's really poor customer service.
{Peter}Jeff, I can fully understand the inconveniences brought to you by the MSDN Subscribers Download Site. The Online Concierge is a one-to-one web-based chat service for MSDN subscribers to address non-technical questions regarding navigation of the MSDN site, Knowledge Base (KB) article searches, and Subscriber Downloads.

At the same time, you are invited to send MSDN Subscribers Download Site your feedback by posting the survey .
{Jeff Putz}Whatever. You're making excuses. This IS an issue with the download site. It has outdated content.
{Peter}Yes, Jeff. The product key on MSDN Subscribers Download Site is still for the initial Windows Vista Beta 1.
{Peter}Is there anything else I can help you at this moment, Jeff?
{Jeff Putz}Obviously not. I'm going to have to waste more time on the phone and then blog about how useless the support for MSDN subscribers is.
{Peter}Thank you for using the MSDN Online Concierge service. Please feel free to come back at any time again!
The user has ended the session.



  • I can definitely feel your pain. My company is a Certified Partner with ISV Software competency. We STILL have not received VS.NET 2005 Team Edition for Software Developers. I can't even download it because it doesn't show up in MSDN Subscriber downloads. I called MSDN Subscriber help AND chatted with them using Concierge...everytime I call them they tell me that as a Certified Partner, I don't have a REAL MSDN Subscription...that it is provided only as a benefit of the Certified Partner program. Nice...yeah, that's what we pay all that money for is just a lip-service version of MSDN Universal (now Premium). They always hand me off to Partner support.

    So I call Partner support. They tell me that VS 2005 was supposed to be in our November shipment...but wasn't. They say that they know about the problem. Ok, fine. When will I be getting VS 2005 Team know, what I PAY for? They have no ETA. What?! I call them up on December 21st...still don't have my December shipment...still don't have VS 2005 Team Edition...they know...but have no ETA when I'll get it. So, when will I get it on MSDN Subscriber downloads...well, you have to talk to them. ARGH!!!!

    The stratification of VS 2005 and the inoperability and miscommunication between MSDN and the Partner group is ridiculous. If I were a retail customer, I could have already purchased TEam Edition...but since I'm a premium, I get to wait. Until when? Who knows...<sigh>

  • I have had the same experience with the concierge service. The folks on the other end never have an answer for anything and they always end up with the "call our toll free number at ...." reply.

  • Hey guys

    (at the risk of putting my reputation on the line here ;-)

    I used to work @ Microsoft as a DSTR (Developer Support Technical Router) a _LONG_ time ago; those are the folks who route all incoming developer related support calls, and they also man the MSDN/Partner chat sessions.

    @Jeff: The DSTR team simply doesn't have access to the keys on MSDN, nor did we have access to MSDN account information, that's all handled by the MSDN fulfillment center. Our main job was to help MSDN customers locate content on the MSDN site, or answer general questions as they related to the subscriptions program. There's simply nothing we could have done in your situation except forward you information to help you out (which is what it's all about, right?).

    @Todd: Again, same thing...the concierge service is simply that...a concierge. The DSTR team does indeed handle the partner chats, but only as they relate to the partner website content (helping folks find stuff), and program related information. We didn't have access to any of the account related information, that's all handled by the partner support folks. So again, there's nothing that we could have done.

    My take on it is this...MS needs to do a better job of explaining exactly who people need to contact for what. In the cases stated above, we were simply doing our job of "concierging" by providing customers with the information they needed to get answers to their issue. I realize everyone has terrible stories about customer service (as a professional developer who's had to call MS quite a bit, I understand), but before everyone starts jumping to conclusions put yourself in the shoes of the person on the other end of the line (or chat in this case) and stop to think "well, they couldn't help me out...but they gave me a number for someone who CAN help me out." Sure, time is money, but this is part of the game folks...customer service exists for a reason, b/c there are always going to be issues. Both parties need to be amicable to the situation at hand, and conduct themselves in a professional manner. Never once in my tenure as a DSTR did I tell a customer something just to get rid of them, and I can speak for my colleagues at the time as well.

    That all being said, I certainly don't miss being a DSTR :-). MS consistently gets some of the highest ratings in the customer service me, it could be a lot worse (I won't name names...ok yes I will, try dealing with Oracle support...bleh). I realize everyone gets stressed around this time of year, but take a deep breath, relax, and realize that the folks at MS are just there to help.

  • I also wanted to say that this line speaks volumes:

    "Already, for the second time in four years that I've subscribed to MSDN"

    I'd say 2 times in 4 years ain't bad my man. How much time has that really cost you? Also, how much time are you really losing by not being able to install a CTP of a product that won't be released for at least 6 months? The CTP's are a gift from MS...this time last year we'd be sitting on our hands waiting for beta 2. Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

  • I wouldn't want you working there either. I took three years off subscribing because there was zero benefit. Getting activated and getting what I bought was a pain in the ass both this year and when I did it in 2001. What a joke. These idiots aren't providing resolution to anyone. The "not my problem" route is pathetic and not something I expect as an indie developer shelling out a ton of money.

    There is no "gift" here when MSDN is marketed as a means to keep up with the technology as it is released and before it's released. Don't be a fanboy.

  • It seems to me that if the MSDN subscriber site needs live chat help to navigate the site, then maybe the site is poorly designed.

  • @Jeff: Dude, no need to resort to name calling...I was simply trying to give you guys an inside view of what actually goes on over there. I will say this, I totally agree that the concierge should have more authority as it relates to the MSDN/Partner folks as far as being able to provide solutions w/o having to hand folks off to another group; you should definitely provide some feedback saying just that. MS has always been good about pleasing the customer (just look at what's been accomplished via their blogs/bug report tools/etc). Bitching about it here accomplishes nothing other than a chorus of "me too's"...go to the source, if enough people chime in MS will change the way things work.

    Looking at the chat you had w/ Peter, not once did he take the "not my problem" attitude...he was curteous (which is more than can be said about your approach) and gave you the information you needed to solve your issue. There's simply nothing else he could have done to help you out given the tools he had available to him The CTP's are indeed a gift from MS (name one other company similar to MS that does this) what if you have to wait a bit for a product key? Frankly I'm insulted as I used to be one of the "idiots" you refer to...these guys are just doing their jobs like anyone else. No amount of yelling can make rabbits appear out of hats. I really hope you don't refer to your customers in this manner.

    @Chris: It goes w/o saying that the live chat is optional, and was generally geared towards new subscribers who might be overwhelmed by the MSDN site at first (there is a ton of content available, and finding exactly what you need can be tricky at times). We worked closely with the MSDN site group to stay on top of new content/site changes/etc so that we could provide our customers with the best up to date information as possible. It has nothing to do with "poorly designed", and everything to do with giving the customer options as to how to find what they need on the site (hence the term "concierge"). As we were constantly exposed to MSDN site content, more often than not we could provide information for people that they might not have otherwise known about.

  • You don't get it. Your "inside view" is irrelevant. I don't give two shits what goes on internally. It doesn't matter if someone is nice or not, the "not my problem" sentiment is the same.

    You're a fanboy, and I don't care if you're insulted.

  • Jeff I totally agree with your points. I had enough of Microsoft years ago and they couldnt provide me with the service I needed so they got kicked to the curb. I was very displeased with their service just like you are. Good Luck!

  • Where can I find this concierge?
    Old URL's are not working anymore.

Comments have been disabled for this content.