Why do so many companies put people who are unable to communicate clearly in frontline roles? Whether it’s someone at the counter who can’t deliver a coherent answer to a customer question, or “Bill,” the highly accented voice that tells you he is really sorry you are having this problem, and then offers advice you can’t understand, these poor choices forever tarnish your impression of the organization behind them.

I’ve encountered it plenty of times when trying to get help by phone, but had my first experience with email recently. I contacted an American technology company – a name you know and probably respect – with an issue related to a misbehaving installation of their product. They offered assistance by email, and I jumped at the chance, just so I wouldn’t have to listen to “Bill” tell me that he was really sorry I was having this problem.

Their service rep’s reply still has me scratching my head. Maybe you’ll understand it. “In order to assist you, we will really appreciate you use nero in order for you to create your data disc, if you try to do this my computer, you could only copy the shortcuts of the application or files. Have a great day.”