Talking with Herbert from Microsoft

At work I’m stuck with Microsoft Office XP Professional. My previous workstation was one that belonged in a museum (and now luckily is) and had no problems activating Office XP. With my new and shiny workstation (running Windows 7 Professional 64-bit), activating the software was impossible.

After some googling I found a forum with a post suggesting to contact Microsoft Support via chat. The following is my conversation with “Herbert” from Microsoft support…

Here it goes:

Please wait for an agent to respond. You are currently ‘1’ in the queue.

Privacy Statement

You are now chatting with ‘Herbert’.

Herbert: Welcome to Microsoft Customer Service, Oliver.

Oliver: Thanks. Hi.

Herbert: I understand that you are trying to activate your copy of Office XP.

Herbert: May I have the Installation ID so we can activate your Office XP over this chat session?

Oliver: Coming right up…

Oliver: It’s 1xxxxx 1xxxxx 5xxxxx …

Herbert: Thank you for that ID, please wait a moment while I check it.

Herbert: Thank you for waiting, your ID is perfect. It generated a Confirmation ID, please type this in the boxes provided and then click on Next. Please tell me if you are able to activate successfully.

Herbert: Confirmation ID: 1xxxxx-7xxxxx-….

Oliver: Perfect.

Oliver: It worked. Thank you.

Herbert: That’s great Oliver. I’m glad that we are able to resolve this issue. Have I fully answered your concern today?

Oliver: You did. Goodbye.

Herbert: By the way, Microsoft values your feedback about the quality of service that you received today. We will be sending you an email survey and I would like to request you to share your opinion. Our goal is to continuously improve and provide great customer service to you.

Herbert: Thank you for using Microsoft Customer Service Chat. Please feel free to come back again. We are available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.

Chat session has been terminated by the agent.


I don’t know. Something about this creeped me out. Was I having a conversation with an actual human or a well written support bot? “Herbert’s” answers were just too well phrased and also came popping up just a little too fast.

Although “Herb’s” support was superb and Office XP activated, this chat left an eery hollow feeling to my stomach…

3 Responses to “Talking with Herbert from Microsoft”

  1. Galymzhan said:

    Jun 18, 12 at 3:25 pm

    LOL, this is really weird, I can’t tell if it is a human or not :) If Herbert is really a bot, I’m sure it’ll be the first AI program which is going to pass the Turing test.

  2. Giles said:

    Nov 09, 12 at 4:08 pm

    Maybe it was an Indian with a set of keyboard macros? Who knows?

  3. goreSplatter said:

    Nov 09, 12 at 11:17 pm

    I still hope that that is the case and I had interaction with an actual sentient entity… Whoever used these macros, he, she or it was a master at providing the answers in an instant.


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