The Canned Response

by on 12/03/10 at 9:48 am

The Canned Response

There’s one thing that really annoys me when it comes to companies that provide email based support. It’s known as the Canned Response. When the company doesn’t even read your message properly and just sends back a prewritten response that has absolutely nothing to do with the issue.

By far the worst experience I’ve ever had with this would have to be the mobile provider 3. They even have canned responses for their phone support. A couple of years ago, I couldn’t get to the net on my phone. I did all the normal things; reset the phone, check the APN. I then called up 3 support and told them that I was unable to access the net and what I had already done. Their response? A factory reset of the phone was required. I did not want to do this as I knew it was an issue with their network. I said that I did not want to lose all of my settings. Their response to that shocked me the most.

They told me that a factory reset will not reset all of the settings. I just sat there for about 5 seconds and hung up. Seriously, if you’re going to train your staff, at least tell them basic facts.

Funnily enough, after about 20 minutes, the net suddenly started working again. I knew it was an issue with their network, but their call centre staff were too stupid to figure that out. I decided to send an email to their complaints department about the treatment I had. I detailed everything in the original conversation so they could effectively follow it up. Try guess their response… To factory reset the phone – even after I said it was working fine now.

The reason I’m only writing this now, however, is because of this happening to me today as well. At home, I run a fairly complex network. This network has 2 subnets, one of which is fully routed to the outside world. What this means is that on the external router, I need NAT disabled otherwise it won’t route.

I recently bought a new router from my provider. This router is supposed to be their top of the line, best at everything router. However, it seems it is not. When I finally got online after waiting for 6 weeks (see the previous post), I had a chance to test out this new router. I had configured it weeks earlier so that I could just get straight online without any delays.

The first thing I noticed when I went online was that my mail server still wasn’t receiving mail. So I decided to try connect to it from outside and instead got a connection refused error.  I then thought I should check the external IP, to my surprise, it was actually the router’s IP and not the one it should be using. Of course, this means NAT is enabled. I checked the config and NAT was disabled. Obviously turning it off does nothing.

I decided to contact Belkin support (they make the modems/routers for my ISP) and tell them about the bug. Of course, they didn’t actually read the message. They just presumed I was like any other idiot who contacts them without first reading the knowledge base or FAQ. They asked me which ports I wanted to forward and whether I was trying to use DMZ.

Seriously, can’t companies just take an extra two seconds to actually read the problem instead of assuming it’s another idiot who can’t read? All this does is turn competent people away from your business. If someone sounds like they know what they are talking about, hand the message off to someone who also knows what they are talking about.

  • porcraddish

    Having worked in a call center for an ISP, the reason for the stupidity in responses is simply that they do not train their employees beyond what is in the FAQ’s or KB.