Friday, March 17, 2006

Cyber-boy

My smartphone has stopped working. First, all my photos disappeared. Then it stopped saving new photos. Now it won't even start up; it just displays the logo with a creeping bar underneath, as though it's in a start-up loop.

Now, in the old days, if you bought something from a shop and it stopped working a mere five months later, you just took it back and let the retailer sort it out for you. Usually you'd get a new replacement.

With hi-tech products, it's apparently a different process. First, you go to the product manufacturer's website and look for an answer in their help pages. Then you look in the website's discussion board in case other people have encountered the same problem and found a solution. Then, if you still come up empty-handed, you fill in an on-line form which is emailed to the support team.

In my case, it took less than 24 hours to receive a seemingly helpful reply. Unfortunately, the instructions in their reply didn't work, so I sent them another email.

And then I realised that the support people I've been communicating with aren't even human. They couldn't be; the language used in the emails is stilted, as though English isn't their first language, but that's not all. It's as though Cyber-boy hasn't been following the thread.

It's a bit like that Buffy episode where April shows up in Sunnydale looking for a guy named Warren. She's pretty and nice, but there's something just a little bit wrong about her. The Scoobies can't quite put their respective fingers on it, but they know - she's a robot.

And that's how it is with Cyber-boy.

I'm going to give it one more email. If Cyber-boy continues to talk to me funny and give me instructions that don't make sense, I'm going to visit Dick Smith Electronics and demand to talk to a human.

9 comments:

Juliabohemian said...

Maybe their Asian or Middle Eastern. Sometimes their pronouns and verb tenses are off.

small one said...

Bots are used regularly in IT help now, I've had experience with them a lot. Maybe it's spilling over into IT email... ech yuck.

Violet said...

juliabohemian: it's possible, but they shouldn't be stupid.

small one: I could be wrong of course, but if I am then their hiring standards are not very good!

portuguesa nova said...

Haha!! I hate those stupid robot e-mails. Hate them hate them hate them.

I wish there was some secret code word you could write to alert the company that you need some personalized help, but typically it only happens after months of useless e-mail exchange.

Violet said...

portuguesa: The latest email-bot tells me to send the phone back for a replacement one (so cyber-boy isn't quite as unhelpful as I thought). Which is great, but now we're all stressed out because we can't find the receipt!

onscreen said...

Dick Smith don't employ humans.... they employ robots, at least thats my experience...

Violet said...

onscreen: oh, I thought they were just nerds.

EB said...

That's good news that they will give you a replacement phone.

Violet said...

eb:yes it is, but now we're all in a frenzy 'cos we can't find the receipt!