This is part four of a four-part series, detailing the last year at my old software job. I was a front-line guy, I answered the phone, did most of the tech support, as well as sales, implementation, and commiserating when it all went wrong and the customer had no one else who really understood their pain.
We did good software, I still maintain that it was super powerful stuff, but it suffered from a development staff in another country (OverseasLand) who didn’t really care about our little offshoot office in Australia, and who didn’t really understand the benefit of making the software better unless that specific bit of improvement was being paid for. Doing good for the sake of it was against policy over there, while over here we created an environment that made the customer’s life easier whenever possible. There’s also a support staff in a low-wages Foreign Country, a wholly owned subsidiary of Head Office, who have recently been brought online.
The relevant staff: me, the support guy, and the boss. And now there’s the new Manager, from OverseasLand. He’s only just moved to Australia, temporarily at this point.
All names are changed, of course. They’re not innocent but I’m sure they’re wrathful. 😉
Here we go.
December 01, 2011
My phone wasn’t working this morning. Wouldn’t call out, no one could call me. When I messaged Head Office, they said “Oh, yeah, that happens.”
Oh, OK I guess. As long as it’s not, like, unusual…
The division of labour in this company is starting to get on my nerves. As a sales guy, my job is to call people, and get them to part with their money. I am apparently supposed to be pretty aggressive about it. The thing is, if I’m not involved with the followup support and, you know, regular contact with my customers, where exactly is my incentive to sell the right thing to the right person?
By asking me to get money money money and then rigidly enforcing the division between me and the customer, they’re practically encouraging me to make bad sales just to keep the numbers up. And why not, I’ll never hear from them again.
It goes on.
We used to have one main point of contact in Head Office for all things customer account and license related. Yesterday I get a panicked call from my favourite dealer, he hasn’t received his licenses yet. I checked, I ordered them a week ago. I sent off an email asking what’s up to our main contact in Head Office, and she replies “Oh I sent it directly to the dealer.”
See, before, they’d send it to ME. When the dealer calls me I know what’s going on. Now I have to fire off an email to OverseasLand and wait 24 hours for a reply (’cause of the time difference), and the reply is “Oh, we didn’t keep you in the loop ’cause, you know, you’re in sales.” Apparently the license went to the dealer, who didn’t get the email.
So I replied with the dealer’s current email address, and asked her to change it. “Oh that’s not my department. I’ve changed it this time, but from now on you have to send it to the account manager. I think that’s Brenda.”
You think. You’re not sure. I’m new here, hello? If you don’t know what the fuck’s going on, what chance have I got? You used to be the one person who could do everything for us, how come suddenly you’re not even able to tell us who can update an email address?
No wonder shit never gets done in this company. The divisions between departments have been carefully designed to be as inefficient as possible.
The stupidity has infected me. I just remembered that I can update the fucking thing myself now. Why didn’t that dumb girl tell me that!?
It’s too late for me. Save yourselves!
For years I’ve maintained that a good backup contains everything in the database directory. Lots of things go here, not just the database files. Painstakingly created invoice templates, for example. Our Overseasland Head Office has been quite adamant, in all their documentation and customer dealings, that we only need the database files themselves, just the ones with the .ext file extension. Certainly not all the extra stuff in the database directory that only serves to increase backup sizes, and besides, what if the customer files all their other random shit in there?
You can guess where this is going.
A large customer just had a server failure, and they were following the Head Office method. Their backup contained only the *.ext database files.
Which didn’t include the *.ext-01 file, where the rollover data went after the file became unusually large after some 15 years using our software.
So the official Head Office backup instructions work great except when they don’t, and this customer’s missing a bunch of shit.
I keep getting phone calls. When I pick up the phone, I hear the caller’s voicemail, then I get put on hold.