I serve at the pleasure of the customer (except maybe when they annoy me?)

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2011/02/05 07:01 -05:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2011/02/05/10125236.aspx

Over in the Suggestion Box, regular reader Yuhing Bao asked:

What do you think about going to you directly via going through PSS?

He was referring to a conversation going on in the comments of a blog of mine from over 4 years ago titled Is MSLU still supported?.

I was pointing out how in the specific case of MSLU at that time, if people asked a question of PSS it would make its way to me eventually, and if people asked me directly then it would also make its way to me.

I know that some people are more comfortable with one way, some with the other. They both work, so really I was slightly annoyed when the same request got to me via many different channels but I really did not judge one channel as better than the other.

I mean, I serve at the pleasure of the customer (except perhaps when they annoy me?), so why should I judge them for which way they like to talk unless their way is every way? :-)

Now this is going back half a decade ago, when the landscape in PSS was pretty different.

These days, when I send notes to specific folks in PSS about writing a KB article on a particular topic, they tell me that someone else does those now. It is no longer PSS writing them based on specific cases where they provided assistance (and KB articles became a way that the help could get to others, whether by another PSS engineer finding it or a customer finding it directly).

And I suddenly realized it had been a while since I had received email from a PSS engineer asking me about a customer question.

Over the past six months I had probably had more interaction with the VP I mentioned in Are you Mr. Kaplan? (and he is now in customer and partner advocacy) than I had with anyone in PSS.

I know product support still exists, thouh now the only trace I see of it is in PSS folk asking questions of some of the distribution lists I'm on.

They get answers and therefore customers still get answers.

So perhaps this change, this shift, this (dare I say it?) re-organization has not impacted Product Support Services in a negative way.

Though I know I am not really contributing a much as I used to.

So while I would have used to have said "ask any way you like!" about MSLU or topics I know about, maybe now I'd say "if you think it is something I know about and you want an answer from me, you should probably ask here, via the Suggestion Box." Because otherwise I may never see the question, and I am probably less likely to be a significant contributor to the response.

if I don't know the answer I'll point you to PSS. And if you ask the question via multiple routes I am less likely to even know about it so perhaps the annoyance factor isn't a factor for me anymore.

So I guess you can just ask whoever and how-many-whoevers you wish to, based on your own personal preferences. This may be the most efficient org structure yet built for customer satisfaction via support.

Well, at least until the next re-org....

Otaku on 5 Feb 2011 9:05 AM:

It's so interesting, my first 5 years with MSFT was with PSS. After leaving that org, so many things changed. Probably the biggest being that they don't call themselves PSS anymore - it's CSS now.

Michael S. Kaplan on 5 Feb 2011 7:06 PM:

I know about the CSS thing, but I don't think I'll ever stop thinkin of it as PSS. :-)

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