The HelpDesk Game

I think everybody nowadays has had to deal with a help desk of some sort. I bet everyone has become somewhat frustrated with the way help desks treat their users (i.e. you and me). They don’t keep any sort of history, e.g. every time you call you’ll find yourself talking to someone who you’ve never talked to before and you have to explain your entire case/problem all over again. If they accept emails then it’s via their own web form, just to make sure you can’t quote them without copy-pasting from your email client to your web browser. Of course they do this to discourage you to press the matter any further.

Just recently I had to deal with the UPC help desk. They had made an error in the bill they sent (their billing department is infamous in the Netherlands) and I needed to make them deduct about €80. I found out that I can’t call them from the UK, probably due to the 0900 number their help desk has. After a short call to their ordering line, where I was rudely told that I had a problem and they couldn’t help me, I had no option but to use the web form. Previous experience interacting with their help desk through the web form had left me discouraged to say the least, but I had no choice. Pay €80 to much or endure the web form? Not a difficult choice! Then I came up with the Help Desk Game.

The rules are easy. You use the web form to send in a “mail” every day, until you receive your first reply. Chances are every “mail” will be answered by a different person, who doesn’t know about the other “mails” you’ve sent. This means you should receive one answer for every “mail” you send in. Then you collect all answers and keep score to see what side wins. It’s a marvellous little game that definately helps to push your help desk experience from please-let-me-die-now to a-coma-would-be-nice. You might survice the latter you know ;-).

As I mentioned I recently played the game with the UPC help desk as unknowing opponents. The outcome? The game lasted four days, hence I sent four “mails”. I came out as a clear winner, 3 to 1 in my favour (i.e. there was one help desk drone who claimed that UPC had made no error and I had to pay the full amount on my bill, despite my having cancelled the subscriptions the month before, amazing!).


Way-to-go Magnus! This triggered an idea to me: Let’s all play the HelpDesk game at UPC, even those of us who not yet/anymore a customer there. Just for fun! I mean it’s a helpdesk, so they are meant to help you. “How do I best boil an egg?” “How do I turn off the internet?” A question a day will build enough good karma such that people who are really in trouble can find comfort in others having so much fun with the game :-)

Leave a comment