Last week, I reported on our battles to try to get our project management program to improve. I’m happy to report that I got a very nice and thorough answer to our many comments and suggestions, and I look forward to using their newest version.

This week, I decided to try to write to the all-mighty Microsoft to get an annoying little issue fixed in my Outlook email program. Every time I log in, I have to go through the same six steps because a little checkbox doesn’t “stick.” Here’s my report. I’ve changed the Microsoft person’s name to Microsoft representative. At first I was excited that there was a live person to “chat” with, before I realized that she couldn’t help me with this simple problem.

Doesn’t Microsoft get it? People don’t want to post problems to forums. (At least I don’t.) I just want things to get fixed – not necessarily now, but eventually.

Here goes, from 22 Jan 2013. Sorry, don’t bother reading the whole thing! The point is, I had a simple technical problem, and they gave me three support options: a support contract (I don’t want to know what this is), pay for the support (ha – yea, right), or use an online forum (ugh, ugh, and double ugh).

You are now chatting with ‘Microsoft representative’.
Bill Siever: Hello? I’m having trouble getting through.
Bill Siever: ah good this is working.
Microsoft representative: Hi, Bill.
Microsoft representative: Thank you for contacting Microsoft Customer Service chat. This chat service is designed to assist you with site navigation, technical support case submission, and customer service questions.
Microsoft representative: If you need technical support, I can provide you with your support options or help you submit your case to the appropriate support professional who can work with you to resolve your issue.
Microsoft representative: How may I help you?
Microsoft representative: I am sorry for the inconvenience.
Bill Siever: I just sent in a somewhat detailed message to Microsoft to try to get an “Advanced Editing” thing to “stick” in my Outlook, but when I hit Submit I just got a message saying “Thanks for your feedback.”
Microsoft representative: Yes. It is working now.
Bill Siever: Can I retype that request again?
Bill Siever: Basically, every morning when I log into Outlook I have to go through the same six steps to get my AutoCorrect options to fill in messages.
Bill Siever: So I want to see if there’s a way that by checking off the checkbox, it will “stick” the next time I log in.
Microsoft representative: I see. I am sorry to hear about this Outlook issue.
Microsoft representative: Is this for Outlook 2010?
Bill Siever: I can tell you the steps, if that would help.
Bill Siever: Yep, Outlook 2010
Microsoft representative: I am not a technical person but I can provide support options and redirect you to the right support team who can best assist you.
Microsoft representative: Do you have Outlook open?
Bill Siever: I go to File – Options – Mail – Editor Options – Advanced – and then click the box that says “Show AutoComplete suggestions” – and then when I log back in the next day, I have to do it all over again.
Bill Siever: Yes I do (have Outlook open, that is)
Microsoft representative: Okay.
Bill Siever: It’s not the end of the world, but annoying nonetheless (and I’m sure other people have the same problem)
Microsoft representative: Please check at the bottom right corner of your Outlook window, do you have information that says “Connected to Microsoft Exchange”?
Bill Siever: Yes indeed, I am connected.
Microsoft representative: Does it say “Connected to Microsoft Exchange”?
Bill Siever: It says “Connected to Microsoft Exhange (Headers)”
Bill Siever: I think I set it to Headers only because it was making my email REALLY slow – but I was having the same problem before I did that.
Microsoft representative: I see. Thank you.
Bill Siever: You bet
Microsoft representative: Did you also try searching online resources like the Microsoft Answers forum and Technet forum about this issue?
Bill Siever: I’ve tried that in the past and have never ever had success, so no, I didn’t.
Bill Siever: Actually wait, yes I recall trying that about 9 months or so ago.
Bill Siever: But it didn’t help.
Microsoft representative: Okay.
Microsoft representative: Did you try to post your questions or issues on the forums?
Bill Siever: No
Bill Siever: Those forums never work for me.
Bill Siever: The answers I get are usually not applicable, or are too technical for me to understand.
Microsoft representative: That is an options as well and we have Microsoft MVPs and Microsoft Partners who can answer you.
Bill Siever: I would prefer not to use a forum. Is there a more straightforward way to get this answered? I can be patient for an answer – I don’t need it right away.
Microsoft representative: Okay.
Bill Siever: What I would really like is to be able to send it to someone, and be assured that I’ll get an answer sometime in the next month or two.
Microsoft representative: This issue requires professional level of support and you need to have a support contract so you can submit a case online and work with a Microsoft technician. It is pay-per-incident support if there is no support account.
Bill Siever: ugh
Microsoft representative: Do you know if your company has any support account like Partner account, Technet subscription, Software Assurance, Premier account or 5 Pack from Microsoft?
Bill Siever: I don’t know.
Bill Siever: Probably not.
Bill Siever: OK – so should I just post it to a forum then, and hope for the best? That doesn’t seem like a great solution, considering what a big company Microsoft is. Can you please advise me on someone I could write to about issues like this?
Bill Siever: It’s silly to have to pay for help for a product we already have paid for.
Microsoft representative: I understand where you are coming from.
Bill Siever: Thanks
Microsoft representative: We provide support options base on your issue.
Microsoft representative: Your Outlook is connected to Exchange server that requires professional level of support.
Bill Siever: I’m sorry, I don’t know what that means.
Bill Siever: Could you explain?
Microsoft representative: The support options are support contract, pay for the support or the online forums.
Bill Siever: I don’t really know what the Exchange server is.
Bill Siever: ugh
Bill Siever: OK I’ll try the forums.
Bill Siever: There has to be someone there I could contact about things like this.
Bill Siever: It’s ludicrous really.
Microsoft representative: Please contact the IT department of your company for further assistance.
Microsoft representative: They will know if your company has a support contract that you can use to open up a case online.
Bill Siever: Yep, he’s in the same boat as I am. (As is anyone else who uses Microsoft.)
Microsoft representative: Yes. But the support is not free.
Bill Siever: OK, thanks for your help.
Microsoft representative: You’re welcome.
Microsoft representative: Is there anything else that I can assist you with today?
Bill Siever: I’m assuming I can blog the above exchange?
Bill Siever: I can change your name if you prefer.
Microsoft representative: Yes, you may.
Bill Siever: OK – thank you.