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Old 19 January 2008, 11:54 AM
BluesScale BluesScale is offline
Join Date: 29 December 2005
Location: Woolhampton, Berkshire, UK
Posts: 1,355

I do work for Microsoft and 10 years ago, I was an escalation engineer in tech support. I still handle escalations for technical support though I am no longer on the phones and tech support is more or less a background task these days. I spent the last two months preparing and delivering lectures. However, I know the tools and processes like the back of my hand.

A new call comes in and an SR (Service request) is created. It has a severity (A-D) and a priority (1-4) which doesn't mean much. It is dispatched to a queue - 10 years back, the customer would normally get their phone call transferred directly to a technician after they had been through call screening who would determine what technical area the call was in and route it to the right team - there are dozens of teams although not every country has every team. For, Developer support (for example) would have had teams for different programming languages and technologies and often a premier and non-premier team - Premier being contract support for large corporates. Even then, some of the calls would be handled by an outsource partner including most OS support. Now almost all of the operation is handled in Bangalore or China and we call you back rather than transferring you to a live technician most of the time.

Back in '98, there were two different applications for tracking calls, each with its own database - CITS and Manager. Both tools are long since retired and it replacement gets phased out soon. The databases that would have held the call are long gone and so is the team. The databases have been sanitised and migrated many times since '98. There are no products in support that were available in '98 although there have been a few cases where a customer had a critical problem with some legacy product and we have attempted to find some old timer who could remember the product in the hope of helping them out until they could migrate to something less obsolete.

I really don't see any way that it could have happened.

Oh, and we would sometimes contact customer at 11 at night if they said it was OK to do so. We are a 24 x 7 operation, 365 days a year in over 40 languages. For severity A cases, we work them continuously. I once pulled a 36 hour shift that way.

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