Bitter Grounds - espresso fueled ramblings

Monday, October 23, 2017

Last week my beloved out of warranty, Surface 2 died.  I'm surprised you couldn't hear the wails of despair coming out of Toronto. It has been lugged all over the city on service calls, espresso breaks, sitting on my bed reading newspapers, watching Netflix, reading books, listening to radio - it was rarely off.  I LOVED MY SURFACE.... yea, a bit sad and nerdy but the tablet did everything I needed in a portable device. The big bonus has always been the inclusion of Office.  All my invoices were quick and easy to use, Word to peck away at and OneNote. I've become a OneNote power user by the way.  It's like carting a big ass binder around, without the hassles of paper falling all over the place.

Anyone who knows me, also knows my legendary and epic tales of disasterous tech support calls I've encounterd. I'm a computer consultant (fancy schmancy way of saying "I go to the customers and fix what needs fixing) for home and SOHOs, and often have to call companies on tech issues.  I tend to avoid contacting companies  because I can often resolve the problem long before I move past "Please wait, your business is important" phase  or get overly frustrated with the level of knowledge. Too often staff is reading from a script and can't vary from it or worse still are so unresponsive, you spend a month trying to find out why they haven't fixed a tablet (hint, hint ASUS). I girded myself for the usual bullshit, fired up my laptop and contacted Microsoft support via their on line chat. Well, I have to admit, I was a bit taken aback. No, no...wait ... it's not a tale of horror. I was kind of gobsmacked actually - support was efficient and helpful. I nearly fell off my chair. The fellow on the other end of the chat went through a number of steps and suggested it will likely need replacement or a new battery and after chatting, suggested it would be far faster to take it directly to the Microsoft Store here in Toronto.  He sent me a follow up email to use in case I was unhappy with the service at the store, just incase.

Next day, I trotted down the the Microsoft Store in the Eaton Centre (downtown) and waylaid the first staffer I saw, a young man called Jacob.  He sat down with me and went through a number of troubleshooting steps and we chatted while he worked. We talked about Windows 10, tablets, laptops and more. It took quite a bit of time to check out the device, in the meantime, he showed me some great features on Windows 10, and a couple of laptops that would be perfect for a few of my customers and showed me some things about Surface tablets I'd been oblivious to.  Not only that, he showed me some seminars that mght help my customers (some free, some paid) and told me about their instore support such as free virus removal. So, the morning was actually ... er ... um ... kinda fun. Yea, yea, my Surface was DOA and I was heartbroken, yada yada yada, but it had to have been one of the most hassle free tech calls I've ever experienced. Let me tell you, I've dealt with some epically stupid tech support people in my day (the one that comes to mind is "go to the basement and find the main circuit breaker and shut off all the power. When you turn it back on your email will work") so, this was exciting. Tech support without the ritual nashing of teeth and head banging on desk.  Novel.

Oh and they will do tech support on any windows machine, no matter where you purchased it. Remember that...

And yes, Microsoft did make a deal on a replacement, that was above and beyond. so I walked out of the store happy. I also walked out armed with a ton of info for customers, which I've already started passing along to them.  I reallly wished I had it in my budget to take them up on their offer to upgrade to a Surface 3, but that just wasn't possible this month. However, I had my tablet, I was back at work with it that afternoon. So, happy endings. 

If you are interested in any of the seminars they run, look up the nearest store here and click in-store events. Some are free, some you pay for.  If you are still struggling with Win 8.1, check out their Windows 8.1: Fundamentals workshop. You can also go to the Word 2013: Fundamentals workshop to get up to speed on the changes in Word.  But the one I'd recommend, if you don't have handy tech support you can rely on is their PC TuneUp in a Snap seminar. It will help the average user tuneup and speedup their computer. This means fewer hassles, faster computers and fewer trips to the repair shop. Do yourself a favour - go.  

Ok, gushing is over, move along. I'll be back to my crabby tech support self tomorrow.

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“We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.”

 ― Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

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