ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Is Customer Service a Myth in the Internet Age?

Updated on September 16, 2010


Growing up, I can remember my grandmother calling down to the grocery store to put in her order and having her groceries delivered.  When I got older, I still was called by name by the clerks at the stores where I shopped, and when being trained for my first job, it was drilled into my head that the customer is always right. A lot of things have changed since then, in particular, the introduction and rapid growth of Internet has made it easier to do business with companies across the globe than it is to run down to the corner drug store. The Internet has also made doing business more impersonal. Internet retailers and service providers don’t ever have to deal with customers face to face, and due to this fact, many Internet companies no longer value customer relations they way that they were valued in the past. 

A good example of this is occurring with the recent epidemic of Hotmail accounts that have been hijacked, including my own.  The hijackers go into the accounts, change the password and secret question, so the legitimate owners cannot access their accounts. The hijackers then spam all their contacts, presenting themselves as the owners of the accounts, and claim to be stranded and in need of financial assistance. Microsoft makes no contact information available to distressed customers, leaving the only avenue for assistance, the Windows Live Customer Support Forum.

In this forum, the customer posts their problem and waits for a response from moderators, sometimes for several days. Microsoft Corporation has outsourced these forums to a third party company, which trains their moderators to scan the forum posts for key words, search a data base, then copy and paste scripted responses that may pertain to the difficulty the customer is experiencing. Many of these scripted responses do not apply to the problem, or do not function as they are supposed to and so, are ineffective. Moderators do not seem to have any real technical support or trouble shooting skills, and one might even doubt that they actually read the posts, as many of the responses instruct customers to carry out steps that the posts have stated were already attempted. The resulting situation is many frustrated, dissatisfied customers that are unable to get any real help in solving their problem and are left feeling that no one is really listening.

While it is true that Hotmail is a free service, many of these people have other paid accounts with Windows Live, and Microsoft still makes ad revenues off of Hotmail accounts. All of the Windows Live services are connected to the same login, so when one is locked out of their email, they are consequently locked out of all of their other Windows Live accounts. In my case, I have a Windows Live Messenger account, a Windows Live Spaces account, and an Office Live website. Customers use emails for many things that are important in their daily lives, such as business correspondence, storage of contact information, bill paying, and notification of payments through PayPal. One quick glance at the forum reveals a whole line of frustrated customers, with threads concerning this problem and others like it, which are not receiving solutions within a reasonable amount of time. These customers are left scrambling to open a new email accounts and switch over all of their online accounts that are attached to the old email address. Customers have on other option, but to keep posting in the forum and then waiting again for a reply, for an additional two to three days, each time. In the meantime, they may have payments floating around in cyberspace or late payments, because they aren’t receiving their bill notifications. They also may be unable to follow up on urgent business correspondence matters that were left unfinished, and have no way to notify any of their contacts of the scam emails that are being sent out in their names. It took me three weeks to regain access to my Hotmail account, and hence my other Windows Live accounts.

At one point, after filling out a detailed form answering questions regarding my Hotmail account, I was finally validated as the account owner and allowed to change the password. When I tried to login with the new password, I was told that I had to finish signing out, (because the hijackers were still logged in), but when I went to the forum to inquire as to what to do next, found a response stating that their investigation had determined that there had been “questionable activity” with my account and so, they had placed a block on it. So, even if I could have gotten the new password to work, they were now preventing me from accessing my Hotmail account, because of the “questionable activity” that I brought to their attention. 

Microsoft has the ability to correct this problem if they cared to do so. As one forum participant pointed out, “Microsoft has recently released their revenues for the last quarter. Those revenues (for just one three-month period) were over $16 BILLION DOLLARS. That is a 22% increase over the same period last year.” ( They could easily offer methods of contact to obtain some true customer support, with live people, who possess technical and trouble shooting skills. They could employ people to investigate and fix technical problems and keep customers informed as to what the difficulties are and what is being done about them. When questions like these are posted in the Customer Support Forum, they are simply ignored, with no reply given. On the Customer Service Scoreboard, (, Microsoft is rated as disappointing, (#166 out of 302 companies), with 48 negative comments and only 6 positive comments, out of a total of 54, and an overall rating of 36.51 out of a possible 200.  It seems to me (and to dozens of other frustrated customers), that Microsoft simply doesn’t value their Hotmail customers enough to provide good, old fashioned customer service. 


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • alocsin profile image


      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Apple has superb customers service, at least according to Consumer Reports. Unfortunately, since I have a Windows machine, I'm stuck with Microsoft. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • GodsAngel1 profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      A great idea, Stephen! Absolutely brilliant! You would think the masterminds that brought us the Internet and continue to get fat from it, would have not ony thought of it, but done it.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      A simple solution for Microsuck (if they can ever get their thumbs out of their butts long enough to make it happen) would be to log your IP address into their database. No one (not even you) can have access to this database logging. And as long as your are signing in on the same computer, using the same IP address, then you should be able to sign in without any trouble.

      But, when anyone tries to sign into your Microsuck account, at another IP address, they would then have to correctly answer the security questions before proceeding to the account. If the questions are properly answered, then Microsuck should give you the option to add that IP address to the database for that account.

      Personally, I don't think that Microsuck has the mental capacity to setup and run such a simple, yet secure method of protecting accounts from hackers.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)