Microsoft Technical Support Rules!
... and no I'm not being sarcastic either.
It has to be said; Microsoft does make some of the best PC hardware around. Like a lot of people, I've been using their mice for some considerable time, but it wasn't until I started experiencing excruciating pain in my wrists and along the back of my hands that I started to use their 'Natural' keyboard range.
Within days of using the Natural MultiMedia Keyboard at home all the pain from my hands had disappeared and my typing speed was as good if not better than it was before I switched over - impressed, I got my employers to order an identical unit for when I'm in the office. However, apart from the annoying double-sized Delete key and the infuriating F-Lock status on startup there appears to be a slight design flaw with these keyboards. On both units, the feet that raise the keyboard at the rear snapped during normal use. To be honest, this was not a huge issue for me - I simply used a couple of old paperbacks to raise the rear of the units when in use at home, and a couple of unused DAT cartridge cases at work.
However, it occurred to me a couple of weeks ago that maybe Microsoft could send me a couple of spare sets of feet - I was quite willing to pay for them - to make my work environments slighly less messy. So, I phoned Microsoft Technical Support. Or at least I tried to - the Indian support call screening centre that I was routed through at first refused point black to give me a support request number or to let me speak to anyone at Technical Support. Undeterred, I used the online support request system on the Microsoft site - and within a hour I had a phone call back.
I explained that all I was after were a couple of sets of replacement feet, and that I was quite willing to pay for them, at which point the technical support representative asked for my home and email addresses. "Terribly sorry", explained the representative, "but we don't carry any spare keyboard stands - so I've ordered you a pair of brand new keyboards. Are you happy with the service you've received from Microsoft today?"
Sure enough, two brand new Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 units arrived at my front door earlier this week. Now that is what I call customer service.