Update: Yahoo! Account Fixed or "The Awful Face of Customer Service"

As noted before I was having trouble with my Y! id. My alias account (that I give out most frequently) no longer worked.

As I mentioned my experience with emailing Yahoo! was really bad. Canned messages saying the same thing no matter what I wrote -- the only difference was the signature at the end.

Phone calls weren't any more helpful. After searching and finding the phone number, I called to explain the situation. It seemed we had reached the point where she finally got my dilemma. However just at that point of epiphany the phone went dead. Somehow we were disconnected. So I called again. Finally reached that point again and she promised me a response in 3-5 business days. Yea, right. That was 2 weeks ago and nada :-(

Fortunately I used to work at Yahoo! I still know lots of people internally so in parallel I sent them a note about my problem (as well as many emailed me when they saw my blog post). Once I got in contact with one of the leads on Y! Mail they got the ball rolling internally. Somehow my alias account got corrupted. It was now a "child" account (you can create parent/child accounts for minors) and could not be accessed. It took a little over a week but finally it got fixed. Very thankful to the hard work of some of the folks in the Mail/UDB/Member teams that resolved the issue.

This got me thinking though. What if I had not worked at Yahoo! before? Well this account I guess would just be dead and I would have lost that email address. I really don't see any other outcome.

It also got me thinking about the various faces of any company. If my only experience had been email then I would have felt that Yahoo! was uncaring and faceless. If my only experience had been the phone I would have heard a sympathetic voice but no follow through. But I happen to know that once the problem came to the attention of people inside Yahoo! they jumped on it and worked extra hours & the weekend to resolve the problem.

This is always the problem with anytime we have a problem with a company. It does not matter if the engineers inside the company are caring, dedicated people. The customer service organization is the face to our users. Unlike in most cases, I also had the unique perspective to know that the number of user accounts created on a daily basis is staggering. And the level of calls/contacts to customer support is huge.

I guess if I did not have the inside view I might have fallen prey to conspiracy theories -- seems that when people have a problem with a company it becomes personal or the screw up is really a way for the company to squash the little guy.

But it was not. Nor is it hardly ever that way. It was just an odd, rare bug that just happened to clobber my account that was not easy to detect and not simple to fix right away. And if the right people get it brought to their attention they work hard to resolve it.

Share this post:


Sr. Director, UI Engineering, PayPal. Former Netflixer, Y! Pattern Curator. UX & Engineering Leader, Author, Speaker. Early Mac game developer (1985)

comments powered by Disqus