I stumbled upon this marketing tool while researching manufacturing software at Microsoft.com. Five clicks into my search, I was invited into a chat session with a Microsoft representative who said his/her named was Taryn. The chat window I was invited into was called "Live chat with a Live Person." Knowing Microsoft, I was talking with a computer that KNEW who was playing in the World Series. I bet the computer even mispelled "partner/parnter" (see below) to trick me into thinking Taryn was real. Clearly, many of the responses were canned. What do you make of it?
Welcome to Microsoft.
Hello my name is Taryn. To help us serve you better, please provide your name and the name of your company.
You: no way
Taryn: Hello there
Taryn: How can I help you today?
You: are you really a person?
Taryn: Yes, I’m a real person
You: Who’s in the World Series?
Taryn: Red Sox and the Rockies..
You: Who’s gonna win?
Taryn: This chat is designed to connect prospective business customers with Microsoft Dynamics partners. If you do not have a business need, I will need to end this chat to allow others to access this service.
You: You’re a lot of fun.
Taryn: I apologize. Do you have a business need I can assist you with today?
You: No problem….I do have a couple of business questions. Are most MS’ manufacturing software solutions provided by partners or MS itself and what MS Dynamics as it relates to manufacturing?
Taryn: The Dynamics ERP solutions are designed to manage an entire business from Accounting to Inventory to Project Management.
Taryn: They are sold through Microsoft Partners.
Taryn: Are you currently researching Dynamics solutions for your company?
You: I’m trying to get a handle on what manufacturing software at MS is homegrown and what isn’t. Who do you like in the Super Bowl?
Taryn: I see.
You: What percentage of your manufacturing solutions are homegrown at MS v. those provided by partners?
Taryn: Working in Inside Sales, I am not aware of this information.
Taryn: My role lies in connecting customers with Microsoft Partners for their software needs.
Taryn: What type of solution are you researching for your company?
You: Ahhhh….I am doing research on this so I sound like I know what I am talking when I meet with Microsoft. But what I gather is that most of the specific manufacturing solutions are from third party partners. Microsoft provides the infrastructure, hence the frequent use of the term at the MS "Microsoft-based solutions." Is Dynamics a MS produce or a partner product?
Taryn: I see. I am actually not sure of this, as I do not work directly with the solutions. Just to clarify, are you looking to become a Microsoft Parnter?
You: I want to be a Parnter…sorry, could not exist. Do you sit there eight hours a day responding to questions like mine?
Taryn: Pretty much
Taryn: I can get you a few resources on becoming a Partner.
Taryn: Let me grab you a couple links to start.
You: resist, not exist. I’m a human, too!
Taryn: Partner Program Overview <———Click Here
Taryn: Partner Program Home <——–Click Here
You: How much business to do you generate by grabbing people on instant messenger when they are searching the Microsoft site? I was gonna ignore it at first and then I said what the heck.
Taryn: It works out pretty well for us
Taryn: I would also suggest contacting the Become a Partner Team at 1-800-772-0246, Option 2
Taryn: You can also reach them via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
You: Everything works out well for Microsoft and Bill Gates as far as I can see. Do you JUST focus on manufacturing in these dialogs?
Taryn: This chat actually helps customers understand each solution.
Taryn: As well as allowing potential clients to find a local reseller of the solution.
You: Ahhh….you’re like a reseller directory
Taryn: Sort of
Taryn: Is there anything else I can assist you with today?
You: One more question - do you get in trouble when you go off-topic?
Taryn: I apologize. I will need to end this chat now to allow other potential customers to use this service.