Email message receipts

Dear Customer,

Expecting our secure message receipts to behave exactly like Outlook message receipts is just plain silly. Here’s a tip: our application is NOT OUTLOOK. No, receipts returned by our mail encryption system do not use Outlook-specific properties like "OutlookMessageClass". Since our receipt is just an email message, it’s up to Outlook to decide what message class it is. If it doesn’t set it to the same "class" as the return receipts generated BY Outlook, well, we have no control over that.

(Tip number 2: Yes, Outlook/Exchange dominate the business email market. However they do NOT define how email works. Please stop expecting everything on the Internet to conform to the Microsoft Way.)

Dear Computer User,

Customer Support are not mind readers.

When emailing tech support about an issue with a user’s account, please keep in mind we don’t know who “Joan Smith” is. If you want us to do something for her email address, include her email address!

Oh, I’m sorry, did you need me to interpret that error message for you?

Dear Computer User,

When sending an error message to Tech Support, it’s generally helpful to say something about the message you are forwarding. We are not mind readers. Something like “I was doing X and clicked Y and this error message appeared” goes a long way to diagnosing the problem. While we’re at it, if the error message clearly says what the problem is, and it’s not something we can fix for you, but rather you need to fix for yourself, why waste our, and your, time?
To wit: forwarding us an email bounce message (and ONLY the bounce message!), when the bounce says:

The mail system

: host[IP.AD.DR.ESS]
said: 550 5.1.1
: Recipient address
rejected: User unknown in virtual mailbox table (in reply to RCPT TO

Says exactly what it means: User unknown. Forwarding this message to tech support of the sending mail server (without even saying why you’re sending it to them) is like dialing a phone number, getting a “number has been disconnected or is no longer in service” message, recording it, then dialing 411 and just playing the recording back to them. If you’re expecting the operator at the phone company to just figure out what you REALLY meant is “Why is my friend not answering the phone?” is rather silly. Expecting them to give you an answer more informative than “that number is out of service” is only marginally less silly.


Every Technical Support Representative on the planet

Office annoyances

Dear Coworker,

You have a private office. This office has a door. Please close said door when you’re going to use speaker phone for extended periods.

Info, please?

Dear Computer User,

Sending tickets to Support with a subject line of just “Help” (even when spelled correctly!) is not very helpful for the poor techs who are staring at a screen full of tickets, trying to prioritize which one’s need immediate assistance and who can wait.

This falls in the “It’s broken. Fix it.” category. Help me help you.


Thank you,

Your friendly neighborhood support technician

Dear Computer User,

“Intranet Explorer”? Seriously?

Dear Computer User,

Dear Computer User,
Some details, maybe?

Dear Computer User,

Do you call your doctor and say “I don’t feel well”?
Do you call your mechanic and say “My car isn’t working right”?
Then why in God’s name do you email tech support and say “it isn’t working”? We can’t help you fix it if you don’t tell us WHAT is wrong?