Thursday, January 5, 2012

Further Adventures in Management, or: What Happened to the Casserole?

 So you see, children, the Bible clearly teaches us that you can never trust an employer.

Fiddler on the Roof

The stage was set thusly.

It was midnight in a dark downtown office building. On only one floor, the second, were the lights on. Two teams, the Europe/Africa Customer Service Team ("Us") and the Europe/Africa IT Support Team ("Them") went about their business in the solitary bubble of florescent illumination.

It was the birthday of one of the Customer Service agents. In honor of the occasion, her team members had brought dinner to share: apple crisp, chocolate cake with ice cream, pomegranate juice, seasoned corn, and the magnificent chicken and broccoli casserole that had become a staple of these get-togethers.

The situation was as follows.

For the previous couple of weeks, one agent ("Me") had been playing her favorite game: Issue Form Ping-Pong. This particular issue/ball was a customer whose online store account wouldn't let him send materials to anywhere but his old ward's bishop's home address. By the time the customer actually sent an email that this agent could get hold of, the problem had been standing for eight months.* He was  understandably a touch irate by this time. (You should understand the word 'Irate' to mean 'Ticked as Heck.')

This agent, when she first received the e-mail two weeks or so ago, reached out the hand of peaceable friendship to the IT Support Team. It is within their power to re-sync online accounts, which (she had been given to understand) should fix this customer's problem. She offered food in exchange for the re-sync, capitalism being how it is and all. The food was accepted. The account was re-synced. The customer was assured that the problem would now go away.

The next day, another e-mail came: the problem had not gone away.

The agent submitted an Issue Form.

When she got the issue form back, Management had asked her for more information. When she tried to edit the form to add the necessary information, her browser fritzed out. Huh, thought she, the issue form must be corrupted or something. How inconvenient.

She submitted another form. On the top of the form, she put IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS that this was a duplicate because the original form is corrupted. She added the necessary information. She added AGAIN IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS that she had had this account re-synced and it didn't make any difference.

The next night, she received an e-mail informing her that her second issue form had been deleted because it was a duplicate. She was instructed to use the original form. She checked. It was still corrupted and unusable.
She submitted a third form. In ALL CAPITALS, she requested that this form not be deleted until the problem was confirmed as solved.

Management responded to her issue asking if she'd had the account re-synced.

The customer e-mailed again. 'Irate' has been upgraded to 'Livid.'

Before she could beat Management to death with a desktop white board, another Management talking head (Management 2) popped up to inform Management 1 that yes, she did say clearly that she'd re-synced the account.

Managment 2 was silent for a couple of days. Management 1 informed the agent that the problem probably wasn't important enough to actually get solved. The agent broke this news to the customer. The customer was not pleased.

Then, on a white charger, shining armor all a-gleam and a-twinkle, Management 1 announced that he had consulted the Programmers, tweaked one or two things, and now a re-sync was all that was needed.

The agent, filled with deep suspicion, nevertheless sent another envoy of goodwill over to IT Support. Having no food of her own to offer in exchange, she proffered the chocolate birthday cake. The cake, after all, was huge and rich. There was plenty of cake to share with an IT agent in exchange for his cooperation.

The IT agent re-synced the account. Then he came over to get some chocolate cake.

Then the other IT agents came over to get some chocolate cake.

Then the cry was raised: "What happened to all the chicken casserole?"

The agent hunched down in her chair and didn't say anything.

The moral of this story is:

It's Management's fault that our chicken casserole is gone.

*In case you're skimming, that was EIGHT MONTHS (all capitals). Like, since last April or something.

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