Posted by: brian | November 4, 2007

First blog with the new lappy

My first entry from the new lappy, whom I’ve dubbed “Smurfette.”

Time for a rant: So I’m looking at maybe upgrading from Adobe Creative Suite 2 (hereafter referred to as “CS2”) to CS3. CS3 has some spiffy new featureness and functionality, but of course it’s pricey. There are actually a variety of CS3 packages available that combine different programs for different user groups. There’s a “Design” package, a “Web” package, and a “Production” package, and each is available in both “Standard” and “Premium” editions. The Premium edition adds a couple extra bells/whistles. If you want to go whole hog, you can also splurge for the “Master Collection,” which bundles pretty much everything. After looking through the options, I determined that my needs are perfectly met by the Design Standard package. It’s got precisely what I need – nothing more, nothing less.

So, I should upgrade, rather than pay for the whole package, right? Of course! Saves money, etc etc. Hmm. According to the site, regular retail for the full version is $1200, and the upgrade is $400. Ahh, but I’m a student, and can get the education pricing. Let’s see… full version, $400, and upgrade … huh. I don’t see a price for the upgrade. I look around some more, and find nothing, so I decide to call customer service and find out if they have an education discount for the upgrade.

Note: The following transcript is paraphrased, and heavily expurgated in the interest of me not typing 14 minutes worth of boring crap.

*RING* Thank you for calling Adobe blah blah words. Your call will be answered something something. *RING* *RING*
Customer Service Rep [with strong Indian accent]: Hello, thank you for calling Adobe Customer Service, my name is Victor, may I have your customer number?
Me: I don’t have a customer number, I’m just calling to ask a question about pricing.
Victor: Okay, and how can I help you?
Me: Right now I have the education version of Creative Suite 2, and I’m interested in upgrading to CS3. I’m wondering if there’s an education discount for the upgrade.
Victor: Okay, before I can answer this, I need to create a record for you, so I will be creating a record now, okay?
[I give him my name, address, email address, DOB, SSN, TLA, IBM, LOL, and most recent sperm count. This requires me repeating a lot of things, and spelling out “3rd”. Seriously. Then he gives me a customer number. I’ve been numerated! At last!]
Victor: Okay, and what can I help you with today sir?
Me: [repeats request, provides additional info such as: operating system, exact product I’m looking at (CS3 Design Standard), mother’s maiden name, and US citizenship status.]
Victor: Okay, I am understanding that you have Creative Suite 2 Premium on Windows XP … (he basically repeats back to me everything that I told him – I’ve noticed these Indian customer service reps do that – which is probably a good thing, because it verifies that he got the information right, but it’s kind of annoying after the 2nd time.)
Me: Yes, and I want to know if there’s a discount for educational purchases on the upgrade.
Victor: Okay, while I do research for this, I will put you on hold, okay? Please be on the line.
Me: (holding)
Victor: Okay, sir, I can give you good news, you want to upgrade [blah blah], and you can do that. So, is there anything else I can help you with today?
Me: I was wondering about the pricing —
Victor: Okay, the pricing for the upgrade is dollar three hundred ninety-nine, and for the full version it is dollar one thousand one hundred ninety-nine.
Me: Right, but is there an education discount on the upgrade?
Victor: I do not know that information, but I can transfer you to the sales where they would be the best place to give you that information. So please be on the line.
Me: (holding)
Sales guy (obviously American): Thank you for calling Adobe Sales, my name is Noah. Do you have a customer number?
Me: Yes I do. (tells him number)
Noah: And what can I do for you today?
Me: I currently have Creative Suite 2, which I bought through the university where I’m a student right now, and I am thinking about upgrading to CS3. And I see that the regular price for the upgrade is $399, and the educational pricing for the full product is also $399.
Noah with a bit of a chuckle: (says something about how silly that seems)
Me: I was wondering if there’s an educational discount for the upgrade.
Noah: Unfortunately, we don’t offer education pricing for the upgrade.
Me: Okay, that’s all I needed to know. Thanks.
Noah: Thank you for calling Adobe, have a nice day.

So basically, in four seconds, the American guy was able to answer the question I couldn’t get resolved in 14 minutes with the other guy.

My experience with Lenovo customer service was pretty much the same: Talk to someone in India for several minutes, get nowhere, get transferred to someone in the U.S., problems solved almost immediately. Also, there is a pattern of customer service being based in India, and sales being in the U.S. I guess this is because once they’ve got your money, you’re screwed, and have to take whatever crappy service they dish out. But when you’re a prospective customer, they want to give you an actual good experience with the company, so they have you deal with Americans. Jerks.

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