MICROSOFT APPEARS to have fired its paid Xbox support team in favour of unpaid volunteers.
The world's seventh richest company is valued at $749bn, but has decided that customer service is something they can skimp on.
Worse still, it looks like the "Brand Ambassadors" that are assisting customers were actually trained by the staff who are being made redundant, with their last weeks being spent passing on that knowledge to a bunch of strangers who were going to be cheaper.
A skeleton staff will remain for high-level enquiries and to oversee the Ambassador Program, but day to day stuff will now go through a bunch of people with too much time on their hands.
The side effects of this for Xbox owners will probably include a slow down in responses on social media - after all, they're unlikely to give volunteers the keys to the Twitter feed… are they?
And with no rotas and no guarantee that people will stick to them anyway, there's also a fair chance that staff shortages in peak periods will mean you could be twiddling your thumbs for quite a while the next time your console borks.
Breaking off for a second - that figure again was $749bn.
What's in it for the volunteers? The vague possibility of prizes, some reward points and the chance to stroke their egos as opposed to any other part of themselves.
In the interest of balance, Xbox is a pretty reliable console range and the likelihood of needing the support team is limited. However, it doesn't excuse Microsoft ($749bn!) for providing significantly shittier service to loyal users, in order save a bit more dough.
There is a "bot" for basic queries too - but the average Xbox user is likely to have a basic tech knowledge, making such a developing technology rather obsolete.
In short - this is almost as awful as when Yahoo rewarded bug bounties with merch including a purple rubber duck.
The fact of the matter is customers have a right to expect a service level. Community members were brought on to share the load when it was too busy, but this can surely only end in a diminished service.
Then there's the issue of payment. Microsoft is rich enough to pay people properly. The fact it has gone down this route is showing both the volunteers and users are held in massive disdain. End of. µ
Privacy of the ballot box
See how you don't get to like them Apples
Who do Yahoo think you are
Out to Glassture