The company I work for is a big software company. And because it is so huge, everything takes forever to do, and has to go through a gazillion approvals.
When I used to be a customer, it was frustrating. Now that I am an employee, it’s fucking embarrassing.
I cringe when I read through the histories of some of our open bugs. They tend to read like this:
- Day 1
Customer: Hey this isn’t working.
- Day 2
Support Person: Try this one really easy thing.
- Day 3
Customer: That didn’t work.
- Day 4
Support Person: Oh. OK, try this other little thing.
- Day 5
Customer: That didn’t work either.
- Day 6
Support Person: Oh. Um… lemme get back to you.
- Days 7-8
- Day 9
Support Person: Hey, I’m going to pass this to another person who can better help you.
- Day 10
New Support Person: Hi. I’m gonna need a day to read up on this bug.
- Day 11
New Support Person: Can you try this one little thing?
To be fair, a lot of the times the customer takes a long time to try what was suggested. And bugs are hard to troubleshoot because the support person doesn’t know what the customer has added to the base application (usually a LOT) so it takes time to narrow down what it could be. So it’s not always because of us that a ticket drags on and on. Still, speaking from experience as a former customer, the slowness of our responses is maddening.
This is what I’m dealing with at the moment: one of our customers is in the middle of an upgrade, but when they applied a recent patch to their test environment, it caused their application to crash. Obviously, they cannot go live without this being fixed. This bug has been open for over a MONTH, and we cannot get our engineers to tell us when they can get it fixed. I have been pushing them every day just to tell me when they can tell me when they can get it fixed. I’m not even asking them to tell me when it can be fixed! I just need an ETA on the ETA. The worst part is that the engineers are pretty certain they know what is causing the error. They just don’t know when they can fix it.
My manager says that because the engineers support so many different customers’ applications, they are extremely resistant to committing to any dates because another more urgent bug might come up.
So every day I writhe with embarrassment when I have to tell our customer that I have no update on their one single critical bug. I feel like they probably think I am totally useless.