Case Study from Real World Experience: Microsoft Customer Support

08/12/2019 by Jon Fincher

Case Study: Microsoft Customer Support

I was hired at Microsoft as a Support Engineer in Customer Support Services (CSS) in 1995, and over the course of my early career, I supported a number of products. At the time, Microsoft had telephone support available for anyone who purchased a product, as well as second tier of support for developer products and difficult cases. We were expected to analyze and answer customer questions, provide answers or explain why the problem could not be solved, and in general ensure customers were satisfied with the products and support they received.

To help ensure customers were satisfied, CSS engineers were empowered to do a number of things over and above simply reproducing issues and providing solutions. On several occasions, customers were unable to install the software they received. Remember that this was the late 1990’s, and all our software was distributed on diskette. Windows 95 came on eight different disks. Sometimes customers would find that one disk of the eight was defective, and required a replacement. In these cases, we were empowered to send them a brand new set of diskettes. Under certain circumstances, we could even send them a copy of Flight Simulator, Arcade, or Golf if they were very dissatisfied with the situation, to help make reparations for the poor experience.

No matter what happened, I knew that I was empowered to do what I could to resolve the customer issue and keep them as satisfied with our products and support as possible. I also knew that my management trusted me to do the right thing, which went a long way to my own sense of empowerment.

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