So Hard to Get Good Help

Black humor - customer service
Image by lawgeek via Flickr

Getting the October 2011 issue of Forever Nocturne formatted and sleek was an effort in frustration. I had nothing but problems with formatting and links being stripped out, paragraphs being rearranged – and then it happened on my personal blog a week later. So – being me – I decided to contact WordPress Support. 

Here’s my support request (demand?):

OK, I’ve held my tongue for a week now, but this is ridiculous. WTH is going on with WP lately? In some of my pages I was formatting last weekend, paragraphs were rearranged – and not by me! I pasted them in correctly. Widgets wouldn’t save correctly (one widget contained links, and when I hit save, all or some of the links would be stripped out). This was on my blog Now on my other blog, I just formatted three footer widgets with images and links, went to view the blog to see how it looked – and the widgets had reverted back to the old widget content despite the fact that I SAVED THE THINGS THREE TIMES!!!!!!! I do not have time for this!!!!!

I received this reply today:

Hi there,

Sorry for the trouble. I would like to get some more information. Can you please walk me through the problem?

1. What’s the issue? Please be as specific as possible.

2. What web browser and version are you using? Please try using a different browser like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

3. Where are you encountering the issue? Please send specific links.

Screenshots are a huge help – can you please send screenshots of the issue so we can better understand the issue? Please see for information on making screenshots.

Kind regards,
[technician’s name withheld] – Happiness Engineer
Automattic |

SAY WHAT?!?!?! My jaw dropped, bouncing off my marble table and sending excruciating pain through my entire head, which is, no doubt, why I keyed this reply without second thought:

Dear [technician’s name withheld],

If you were indeed a Happiness Engineer, you would not have sent me that response, because it did not engineer any happiness in my frustrated little heart. Did I NOT already explain the problems I experienced and where they were happening? The only thing I omitted was my browser. I was using Google Chrome. I tried Firefox – which gagged & puked on your widgets. Internet Explorer does not get fired up on my computer. At. All.

If you were indeed a Happiness Engineer, you would not have asked me for screenshots of these problems, because what could they tell you? That yes, indeed, my paragraphs were rearranged and my links as well as the formatting on another page were stripped out, and that my widgets didn’t save with the information I just put in them.

If you were indeed a Happiness Engineer, your response would have included these words (or something close): “WordPress was experiencing some highly frustrating technical difficulties which made us wonder if stone tablets and chisels weren’t a better way to communicate after all. But everything is back to normal now, and the technicians who had to figure out the problem are now undergoing psychotherapy for extreme frustration and technology rage, as well as seeing eye specialists about correcting vision problems caused by hour after mind-numbing, eye-crossing hour of searching code for the culprit.”

Because, [technician’s name withheld], I’d rather hear the truth than be asked canned questions that demand I explain what I’ve already explained, which tells me you didn’t bother reading my complaint to begin with.

Now you can try to be a real Happiness Engineer by taking this message back to your boss: “I understand the need for certain questions and information that aren’t always forthcoming in the original complaint. So instead of having your Happiness Engineers copy & paste a standard response, please have them read the complaint in full first, and have them actually – gasp – engineer an appropriate response from scratch. THAT is true customer service.”

I baked a chocolate cake. Two layers. With cream cheese frosting. I served it, making my kids, my husband, and my granddaughter smile. You see, [technician’s name withheld], that makes ME the true Happiness Engineer.

Sharon Gerlach
Writer on the Edge

Although I felt better after writing it, I didn’t send my response. 

Because it’s so hard to get good help these days.


8 thoughts on “So Hard to Get Good Help

  1. Lauralynn Elliott says:

    Oh, how I hate those canned responses! A lot of help desk people don’t know what to do when something goes out of the parameters of what they are familiar with. The best customer service I have ever gotten has been from two companies. Big Fish Games and Verizon Wireless. These customer service people were nice, helpful, and actually had a sense of humor. Of course, I may just have gotten the right person in these instances, but Big Fish Games is known for its customer service. The Verizon person was already supposed to have been off from work during our conversation, but she said she was staying until the problem was resolved.

    I just don’t understand why customer service people can’t be trained properly. Sometimes, it’s their own fault because of their attitude. But most of the time, I think it’s lack of training.

    1. Sharon says:

      I don’t understand it either. But I was seriously not amused. I give fantastic customer service at my job, so I really notice when I’m not given it.

  2. Karen in Breezy Point says:

    Hilarious! I need permission to copy and paste your response to use the next time I get one of those “canned” responses.
    Karen in Breezy Point

  3. Melissa K Sandahl says:

    I stopped by on the Blog Tour de Troops and saw this post below the the Tour de Troops post and just about wet my pants reading it!! ROTFLMAO!!! I’ve had the same kind of issue with customer services before – and I loved your response! Personally, I think you should have sent it, if nothing else, just to give the “Happiness” technician a little training that they obviously didn’t get from their job. LOL
    Thanks for the laugh!
    Melissa Sandahl

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