Wednesday, 11 April 2012

A story of a failed exam.

The Microsoft's SQL Server 2012 beta exam 71-464 has failed. Yes, the exam, or rather Prometric, not me.

Yesterday morning I went to an Authorized Prometric Testing Centre ready to sit the beta exam. It was all going well until the actual exam. The time has come, I clicked the 'start' button and an error message popped up.


Obviously the test administrators did their best to help but with limited technical knowledge on their side and almost non-existent support from Prometric after 210 minutes they gave up and sent me home promising an exam next day. With travel that's 6 hours wasted. Fine.

But then it started, the usual customer abuse vicious circle. First I got a call from the testing centre saying they have spoken to Prometric's operations manager for the UK (I wander if such a person exists) and that it is all settled, they accept it is their problems that stopped me from taking the exam and it will be rescheduled for the next day, they just need to call a different department to book the exam for me now.

The smile was still on my face when they called me the second time soon after saying I will have to call myself as that way it will be faster. I did call, just to learn that to reschedule I will have to have the issue number to prove there was a problem with the exam. Obviously I didn't have it as you cannot take any notes from the testing centre and the poor customer abuse agent could only kindly explain to me how big company they are, how limited access he has and that being in the Netherlands he cannot check if there was an issue in UK handled by their technical support team on 'the other side of the world'.



Now, I cannot say I didn't see it coming and luckily I got a bit more involved with my general IT and typing skills to help resolve the issue. About 150 minutes into the party I was chatting to the support 'on the other side of the world'. The conversation was something along these lines:
Support: hi
We: hi
(nothing happens for a while)
We: we cannot start an exam, can you help us?
Support: yes
(nothing happens for a few minutes)
We: then please do
(and then they started asking some questions and finally said)
Support: No problem. I fix it. You disscoonect. You restart. No problem.
It wasn't the first support contact that day, but the first one I was involved and I was not going to leave it like that. Especially that with every single call, or chat that was made it was all starting again from the very beginning. After few more minutes of 'you restart no problem' I was given a ticket number, one Prometric now requires from me to reschedule the exam. Lucky I it is just that... having nothing else to write on I scribbled it down on the laminated exam notepad, which I had to leave behind and with the local office already closed I could not even check if it is still there.



So back to the story. While still on the phone to the Prometric call centre in the Netherlands I called the test administrators and it was all agreed that they will try to find the number first thing in the morning, I will call Prometric again and 'because it is a beta exam' they will be able to schedule it for the same day. Tidy.

Next morning I got the issue number, called yet another call centre and then was switched around few times to finally hear from somebody with an authoritative and I-don't-really-care-like voice apologising that all that I was told so far was not true, and that in fact because it is a beta exam it cannot be rescheduled and the only thing that they can do is to offer me the exam free of charge once it becomes publicly available.



I wonder what will they tell me when I call to claim my free exam in July. After all it is a customer abuse call centre in a big company. I have seen it from the inside. Everything's possible. You've got an issue, they will make up a credible yet worthless solution for you. If it doesn't work, they will pass you over few times, play some music and 'did you know, you can now get answers on-line too' messages and sooner or later you will give up.

2 comments:

  1. Hi,
    I guess it was not your day! Sad to know that problem wasn't fixed in-time. I appeared for 71-462 in UK and it was without any problem. Anyway, all the best for exam when it becomes publicly available.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yesterday wasn't my day for sure. I'll be testing my luck tomorrow again with the 71-465 in a different testing centre.

    ReplyDelete