Tech Support Sucks

from the just-a-reminder dept

USA Today is running an article about how, in general, tech support sucks. People wait on hold forever, speak to people who don’t understand their problems or can’t help, and (worst of all) are often charged a lot of money for problems that aren’t their fault. I’ve already complained here about both Dell and AT&T tech support, and I’ve noticed a strange pattern in my dealings with tech support people. When I deal with tiny companies (5 people or fewer, on average) I get great tech support. As soon as the company gets bigger, the tech support gets worse and worse.

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Comments on “Tech Support Sucks”

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Lee says:

I worked in tech support

I worked tech support for several software publishers, a total of 4 years.

I do NOT want to do that sort of work again. It was fun for a while and I learned a lot, but I must repeat this ,”I do NOT want to do that sort of work again.”

To be sure there are clueless tech support people, but a big part of the problem is the clueless customers. It seems like we spent 80 percent of out time helping the same 20 percent of the customers. That is where the long hold times come from.

Those jokes about “broken cup holders” (CD trays) and other tech support stories from hell are not urban legends, they are true.

I suppose it is a matter of balance. Trying to have enough tech support personel to handle the calls with minimum hold times without breaking the budget. Bug free, bug minimal, software would help a lot, the one firm that I worked for had a horrid software program. Still the consumer has a responsibilty to have a basic understanding of comon computer terms.

thecaptain says:

Re: I worked in tech support

Having worked 9 months in tech support for a niche industry software (chemical production) and dealing with users (many of which had Phds and such) I can say
Some of these people were highly intelligent and educated and were a joy to help…but the ones I spent 90% of my time on were total LUsers (like during the Icestorm up here, power went out throughout most of the city…and this idiot called me up..and BLAMED OUR SOFTWARE…it took me five mins to realize that it wasn’t our software that crashed his pc, or that it was our software keeping him from booting up…it was because he had no electricity.) And when I pointed this out to him VERY politely (trust me, it wasn’t easy), he called me every name in the book and threatened to have me fired because I couldn’t fix his problem (although he didn’t say “problem” he said “Piece of S**T software made by *ss**les like me”)

Anon Y Mous says:

... and it will continue to suck

I worked at a large internet corporation a few years back. When the company was smaller we had only a few techs (I was the 5th person hired for 2nd shift). The idea was that they needed to have people with a techincal background on the phone because the vast majority of the end users would also have technical backgrounds. Our service was thought to be too expensive for most peoples taste. Before we knew it we had 10,000 users to 5 support personel. Most people found the product was worth the money. That is when the company adopted what one manager called a “warm body” policy. If you had a warm body you could have a job. We had people who never worked with computers trying to help answer calls. Some of the backgrounds included a security guard who had a computer at home but no internet connection another was in drywall his whole life but had a computer at home and was good with AOL. This helped to empty the call queue. Contracts are based on certain numbers. One of which is/was time on hold. Even with all tese people we still had a long call queue (because no one knew how to fix computers). The company called in a consulting group to look into how to solve this and other problems. The consulting group held a focus group with the users to find out how important certain things were to users. Number 1 was minimum hold time. I forget what Number 2 was. Number 3 was knowledgable staff. Even the consultants were surprised by this. The solution was to impose rates on certain items that users called the most often for and to hire more warm bodies. Warm bodies are also less expensive than smart bodies. Once the warm bodies learn they leave for greener pastures and a warm body is hired in their place… and so the cycle goes.

Amanda says:


I totally agree. The fan went out in my dell and so I called their 1 800 number. Thought it would be easier than driving 80 miles to the nearest computer store. Not true. I was on hold forever and all I got was angry. They said I didn’t need a new fan and that a computer can run w/o one. Needless to say I ended up driving the 80 miles.

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