Cloud support: why is the hold music so bad?

Summary:If we're to adopt cloud as a strategy for everyone, everyone will either wind up with a headache from bad, repetitive hold music, or an earworm, or both.

My friend and colleague Jason Perlow insists we will all be assimilated by cloud services . He's probably right. I've spent much of the week moving my email from one Exchange provider to Microsoft 365.

My move is relatively complex for a 2-person company. We have email archives going back before the turn of the century, at least half a million messages, and we have quite complex mail configurations, due to some specific business needs.

In other words, spending time on the phone with support was an inevitability.

An early problem in the transfer was one of the domain MX records was just not getting recognized. After talking with Microsoft and GoDaddy, the issue was resolved overnight. I've worked with Microsoft support and GoDaddy support, and both teams are really quite helpful.

In fact, after a bunch of calls to Microsoft on a bunch of complex Exchange-related issues this week, I'm quite impressed with Microsoft's support. I'll write more about that in the future.

But that's not my point for today. My point is the hold music.

See, if you believe Jason's contention that we'll all eventually be using all-cloud-all-the-time, then we will have to deal with tech support more than we do today. Today, if I ran my own DNS, like I used to when I ran a BIND server, I could just force a reboot. But I don't. My DNS server is run by GoDaddy.

I don't run an Exchange server either. My Exchange server is run by Microsoft.

That means, if I want to get anything done outside the management console, I have to call support. Again, don't get me wrong. I've very grateful that both groups provide competent phone support.

But the hold music, oh my, the hold music. Take my experience last weekend, which inspired me to write this piece.

On Sunday, I spent about an hour on hold for Microsoft at various stages of the process and their hold music (especially at the tech support level) is essentially static (very loud static) backed by an unrecognizable tune.

In my more paranoid on-hold moments, I sometimes suspect they're doing it on purpose — just to get us to hang up and go away. But I'm tough. I can suffer through the terrible sound. I just get cranky and crank out cranky articles while I'm waiting. Then, of course, they have to deal with a crankier customer when they finally get around to my call.

Sigh. I'll be nice. Grrr.

GoDaddy is better. You can hear the tune with GoDaddy. The only problem is they seem to cycle between the same three songs over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.

I remember when there were hold DJs at Microsoft. An actual professional announcer would announce how long the hold queue was, and spin music that seemed appropriate for the number of calls and the mood of the listeners. It was still a long hold, but the audio quality was at least pleasant.

Now, however, if we're to adopt cloud as a strategy for everyone, everyone will either wind up with a headache from bad, repetitive hold music, or an earworm, or both.

Speaking personally, I am starting to doubt there's enough Acetaminophen on the planet. And I'm still on hold — again.

Jason is usually right in his predictions of the future. Given that, we're doomed to a life of very, very bad hold music.

Sigh.

Topics: Cloud, Microsoft

About

In addition to hosting the ZDNet Government and ZDNet DIY-IT blogs, CBS Interactive's Distinguished Lecturer David Gewirtz is an author, U.S. policy advisor and computer scientist. He is featured in The History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets, is one of America's foremost cyber-security experts, and is a top expert on savi... Full Bio

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