“Your case has been closed” is a sentence you come across from time to time in the process of interacting with a helpdesk team. And in normal circumstances you feel pretty good when that sentence is presented to you, as it typically implies that your problem has been fixed. If, however, that particular sentence – in a case I have recently experienced myself – is the opening sentence of the very first reply you get after submitting a question, you will agree with me that this is far away from what is commonly understood as normal circumstances.
In this particular case, it was pointed out a few sentences later that I could re-open the case by replying to the mail, but obviously the damage had already been done. One of the support agents I was in touch with at a later stage explained to me that this was their default procedure. Who on earth comes up with that kind of procedure? Have these people never heard of the term user experience?
When you get in touch with a helpdesk, your mood is bound to be more negative than positive already (after all, the reason you get in touch is some kind of problem – my estimation is that the number of compulsive helpdesk contacters is relatively small), so factors contributing to more negativity should be avoided at all cost. A logical consequence would be that the opening phrase of the conversation with whoever is sending you a message – a.k.a. a complaint – would be an attempt to evoke a positive feeling. Bringing across the message that the case has been closed at that specific point in time most definitely does not achieve that goal. Especially if the helpdesk this person is getting in touch with is related to a public service – a.k.a. paid for with the tax money the aforementioned person has been so kind to contribute, as was the case in the incident I am refering to.
As I mentioned in earlier blogposts: a good rant every now and then does bring some relief. Which was needed, as the case I am talking about is still not really solved. We exchanged some more emails, but now I’m waiting since a couple of weeks for a reply to an additional question I asked. I’m beginning to suspect that they might also have some procedure running that automatically deletes cases when a certain number of interactions have taken place (“to avoid wasting public funds” of course).