How Not To Do Customer Support

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Recently oDesk and Elance began completing their merger. The new site is called Upwork.

As can be expected, there are glitches and resets. The first thing that caught my attention was when my email inbox started receiving a LOT more email notifications than usual. So of course I logged in to Upwork and went to the notifications page.

Sure enough, every single possible notification was turned on. So naturally I attempted to customize these to my preferences, and that’s when the problems occurred. When I attempted to save the settings, a white, opaque window popped up with an animated spinning icon. The spinning never stopped, the settings never saved. When I reloaded the page all boxes were still checked.

So I tried logging into the site using a browser I had never used on this new Upwork site before, Internet Explorer. Same result. This led me to opening a support ticket, mainly to let them know that there was a problem to be fixed.

In response, I got a canned email talking about browser caches and cookies. On top of that, the ticket was closed with a presumption of being resolved!

I also tweeted a link to this blog post, and in fairly short order the @UpworkHelp account responded with an actual, official explanation of the problem. No, it wasn’t me - it is a known issue being worked on by their engineers. It’s been an issue since the switchover. This matches what I had suspected, but it doesn’t give me any greater confidence in their support procedures. I’m now less worried about the future viability of this company, but my confidence in my ability to get timely, actually helpful support is still pretty low…

Copyright © by Glenn Dixon