Before I dropped off the planet for my birthday, I received an email from the very generic marketing team at Prometric in response to Prometric Disses One CPA Exam Candidate…with a Note, a post I wrote last month based on an email I received from one CPA exam candidate on the Sunday after Thanksgiving (ouch). Up until this point, I assumed Prometric read us (if for no other reason than to evaluate how they treated the ostomy bag candidate) but never expected to receive an email from them.
I commend Prometric for monitoring the conversation and reaching out to me to get their side out to the audience. Keller tried this and it didn’t go very well so it’s certainly a gamble. As proven yesterday with the Illinois Board of Examiners, we don’t really claim responsibility for anything people suggest in the comments.
What I gather from this email is that the candidate who came to test at Prometric only to find a note either didn’t pay his cell phone bill or never checked his email (unlikely), in which case we need the candidate to get back in touch and let us know if he received any phone calls or emails from Prometric on that date. If he is anything like me, the phone was on silent and emails could have been buried in the 24,400 unread emails piled up on the BlackBerry. Or they never went out. No one wants to suggest that Prometric didn’t do everything possible to keep this person from actually going all the way out to the testing center on that day. To find a note, I remind you all.
Does anyone have any additional questions about this situation they would like answered?
We’re writing in response to a Prometric blog post and related comments, dated 30-November 2011. First and foremost, we’d like to extend our apologies, on behalf of Prometric, for any inconvenience or stress caused to the candidate you blogged about by the unexpected site closure. We understand the pressure that many of our CPA exam candidates are under, and we truly regret the fact that this particular candidate was unable to sit for his FAR exam as scheduled.
That being said, I’d like to provide you with some information on Prometric’s procedure for dealing with closed test centers and why this specific center was forced to close on this day. Though we understand that this will not alter the unfortunate circumstances the candidate experienced, we believe we owe him, and any other candidates affected by the site closure, an explanation.
Sites sometimes have to close quickly and unexpectedly for myriad reasons: power outages, floods, hurricanes or snowstorms, political unrest in a city or technology problems. In this particular instance, there was a sudden and unexpected server crash at the site where the candidate was scheduled to test during Thanksgiving weekend.
As per our normal process, the site contacted our Global Help Desk as soon as the problem was noticed. The Global Help Desk then worked closely with the site to do everything they could to resolve the problem so as not to impact any of the candidates scheduled to test. In some cases (and what happened in this particular scenario), even after troubleshooting problems, it became clear that the center would not be able to test because the problem affecting the site was not resolved. When this happened, a chain of communication was kicked off, which started with the center letting the Prometric help desk know that the site would be unable to conduct testing. This chain of notification, which only took a few hours, resulted in a list of test takers being given to our Candidate Care team, who immediately began trying to contact any test takers scheduled for an exam at that site. They used outbound phone calling and e-mail to attempt to contact any impacted test takers, advise them of the closure, and help to reschedule them. Most of the time they were successful in reaching the candidate prior to the scheduled appointment date and time; sometimes, they were not. Sometimes, it was because the situation was unexpected and there was insufficient time available to get in touch with a test taker or because there was outdated contact information. Still, they made every effort to reach every test taker.
Our number one goal is to prevent what happened to this candidate; having a test taker show up expecting to take an exam only to find a note on the door is certainly frustrating, to say the least. We know better than anyone the time that test takers put into getting ready for their exams, and we regret ever adding undue stress to the process. We would never knowingly, carelessly or intentionally let a candidate just show up at the center if we knew far in advance that the site was going to be closed.
Again, we apologize that this happened. Obviously, a server crash during a holiday weekend is a less than ideal occurrence for many reasons, and we’re sorry that we weren’t able to reach the candidate in time. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any additional questions about this situation.
Prometric Communications Team
Again, I think it’s awesome that Prometric emailed me at all. I’m not sure if I like the response. I don’t think they’re sadistic enough to intentionally (“knowingly, carelessly”) let a candidate just show up at the test center if they knew far in advance the site would be closed. I don’t picture a bunch of Prometric agents huddled around a glowing computer conspiring against CPA candidates. But I have difficulty finding it acceptable that they had a guy drive all the way out to the testing center – be it half a block or 30 miles – only to find a note saying the center was closed.
Have they emailed or called the candidate after the fact to express this? Did our hapless candidate just forget to check his email?
Did they at least get in touch with all the future nurses and nail technicians?