Today I decided to buy Microsoft Office for Mac 2008 via Microsoft Home Use Program. Ordering is easy, paid with a credit card, downloaded the DMG file and voila â€“ itâ€™s all installed in a matter of minutes. Here comes the interesting part â€“ ACTIVATION.
Product activation refused to work behind my work proxy. Fair enough, not every proxy is catered for. Thatâ€™s what manual activation is for? Right? I thought so too. The screen looks pretty straightforward, call your call centre, tell them your product key and hardware fingerprint and ask them for activation code:
Office Mac 2008 Activation screen
It took about 15 minutes and 10 repetitions for Australian activation hotline to understand that Iâ€™m activating Office for MAC. No, itâ€™s not a Apple product, itâ€™s a Microsoft product. No, I canâ€™t give you installation ID as I only have Hardware Fingerprint number. No, I donâ€™t want technical support, I want to activate a product I bought. No, I cannot go back to the retailer (WTF?!!!!), I bought it directly from Microsoft!!! What Url? Which site I downloaded the product from? Oh, you donâ€™t know what Digital River is? etc.
It turned out, they donâ€™t activate MS products for Mac, my option is to contact customer service for Mac by visiting a MS customer service for Mac support link, which doesnâ€™t even have Australia as an available country for support, not to mention that it will take a day or two at very least.
20 minutes later I was transferred to technical support(WTF?!) that decided to fix my proxy or ask my system administrator to bypass it. Sorry guys, itâ€™s a bank, I canâ€™t switch it off. No, I donâ€™t want to re-install the product, it works just as you designed it, all I want is to activate it. No, I donâ€™t technical have problems, I JUST WANT TO ACTIVATE THE PRODUCT Iâ€™VE JUST BOUGHT!!!
1 hour later, after sending them screenshots of activation screens (another WTF), links that point to customer service page, etc., I was transferred to a department that supposedly looks after Home Use Program only to be advised to call my local support line where I started about 2 hours ago. I gave up and just hung up on these absolutely pathetic useless customer â€œserviceâ€ officers .
- When designing a product, allow users to use it immediately. Vista works without serial number for a month.
- When deciding to force customers into a certain path, make sure the path exists.
- When setting up call centres in India make sure workers understand your product range.
- When outsource, make sure you at least set them up technically. I couldnâ€™t hear half of what they said due to background noise (â€œSir, itâ€™s a call centre, there is a lot of noise hereâ€) and whenever I could hear them, the line was breaking up (joys of IP telephony). Thankfully, they called back on my mobile number to resolve this issue.
My first experience as a Microsoft Retail client is abysmal, contrary to my MSDN user experience. I was treated like a thief and when requested help felt like a ping pong ball bounced between various hopeless operators.
It wouldâ€™ve been easier to download pirated version of BitTorrent than to go via legitimate channels. No wonder piracy is blossoming.
PS: I finally activated the product by finding an Internet connection without proxy.
PPS: The only time I will consider calling Microsoft so called Customer Service is when I decide to raise my blood pressure by 20 points.