Is It Tech Rage Or Bad Customer Service Rage?

from the let-it-all-out dept

Over the past few years there have been numerous stories about the growth of tech rage, where people get so frustrated with technology products not working as they should (or it not being at all clear how to work them) that they get incredibly pissed off — often breaking the very object of their frustration. The latest article on the topic points out that an awful lot of that tech rage seems to come from the awful experience people go through when they contact customer support. In other words, it’s not necessarily rage directed at the technology, but at the company for (1) creating a crappy product and (2) doing little to nothing to support it after the customer has been sold. It still is amazing how little effort some companies put into customer service, often looking on it as a cost center, rather than the most direct channel a company has with its customers. Companies also don’t pay nearly enough attention to the positive impact of a good customer service encounter as well. In this day and age, people almost expect things to go wrong (and to have a bad customer support experience as well). So, when things go wrong, but the customer support is fast and helpful, it tends to make them even more loyal to the company in question.

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Comments on “Is It Tech Rage Or Bad Customer Service Rage?”

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Brandon says:

It's all subjective.

You can talk with a thousand people about 100 different companies and get a thousand different responses. Having worked in both retail sales and customer service for a few of the comapnies whose products I’ve sold over the years, I could tell you which ones I would say have crappy customer service. But the problem is that alot of people just suffer from basic user error and either didn’t put the disc in, didn’t plug the thing in, or forgot to remove something before turning it on. These are the people that most service reps end up being able to help because it doesn’t require any type of replacement equipment. But that’s just my experience.

moe says:

Xbox, too

I just had a wonderful experience with the Xbox360 tech support. On Tuesday, I bought a brand new 360, hooked it up online and was notified of an update. So, I applied the update and it bricked my 360 … total uptime: 5 mins.

Tech support told me, they weren’t aware of an issue, and to just exchange it and try again or send it in for repair. Granted, it was a brand new issue but others had already reported it and “Just take it back and try again” isn’t a good answer. In fact, the supervisor I asked to speak with told me just the opposite, “Under no circumstances should you try to update again.”

So, I exchanged the box on Wednesday — something people who bought it online wouldn’t be able to do easily, mind you. On Thursday, I called back to see if the issue was sorted. Of course, the first person told me, “The issue isn’t fixed, but you should try to update and if it breaks the machine, just send it in for repair.” Not a great deal to have a brand-new machine repaired and recieve a refurbished machine in return. So again, I asked to speak to a supervisor. He told me, “The issue has been fixed and you’re safe to update.” I already knew thins from an unofficial Xbox blog, but wanted to be certain.

Anyhow, I told the supervisor that he should probably tell his front-line folks that the issue is indeed fixed. His answer … “Well, we don’t get the information as fast as the web does, and we have to rely on the Xbox blog, too.” So, was he going to let his front-line folks know? “No, communication within the call center isn’t that great and we have to rely on the system telling the tech support folks.”

Wonderful. So, their support for a bad update that bricked new Xbox360s was, “Just try to update it, and if it bricks your machine just send it in for repair.”

Old Guy says:

Not tech..but still

Ok I know this isnt a tech issue, but it defintely falls under the category of unbelievable customer service.
Couple months ago I needed a Rubbermaid product (saw it on their website). I called all over Richmond (not a metropolis but hardly a backwater town either). I could not locate it anywhere. Emailed Rubbermaid’s customer service, asked them who carried it…they didn’t have that info. OK, called their customer service. Do they still make it? Yes. OK, then who do you ship it to? We dont. Wait a minute, you are saying you manufacture the item but you don’t ship it anywhere. Yes. How am I supposed to get it if you dont ship it. Ask your local vendor why they dont order it…

chucklebutte says:

i was with sprint for a little over 4 years and let me tell you worst expierence ever! horrible customer service horibble reps, it got so bad that a managing supervisor told me the reason sprint treats me this way was because i was on a credit class, meaning i had to pay a cash deposit for the phone :/ all in all i have been permantly banned from all sprint stores and from ever having sprint service.

so i switched to verizon and let me tell you first 3-4 months was the best customer service in the world. an example if i call and got connected to the wrong department they would transfer me, rep give all my info to the other rep, new rep and i pick up where i started. no repeating of name and password etc etc, if i called more than 3 times in one month i would get a call back making sure everything has been convered and if i had any more questions. truley remarkable to the point i told everyone switch to verizon…. im in my 8 month with them and its sprint all over again they hooked me the first few months and treat me like dog shit afterwards.

i just wanna know why people arent angry anymore? why arent people protesting anymore?
where did all the hippies go? sad to say but we need some hippies right about now with the sad state this country is in :/

Matthew says:

Re: 6

i just wanna know why people arent angry anymore? why arent people protesting anymore?

I believe that’s the topic here. Having worked as both customer assistance for an insurance company, and for a computer technical group, I can say that there is a wide variance on expectations from customers.

The people that called me with something other than “I want to change my doctor” were IRATE. They just assumed that an insurance company was going to screw them, take their money and light cigars with it, and/or not cover something they felt was important. BTW, the last item is controlled by the place you work for and not the insurance company. If your birth control, or whatever, is not covered talk to your HR Rep.

But as a technical support rep 6-7 years ago, people called you and respected your knowledge. They knew you knew something they didn’t understand and listened carefully — for the most part. Nowadays, a lot of this stuff is taken for granted and people call with false expectations.

I think the rage is part pf underlying issues here. There’s a lot of stress involved created by marketing departments. Their fancy commercials and smoke-and-mirror displays make things seem so easy, and yet when you get it home its a nightmare that comes with a dictionary-sized instruction manual in 7 languages. I saw my parents go crazy trying to piece a bike together when i was young, and there was no phone support in those days.

So your customer service department is your lifeline. Companies need to stop putting billions into advertising a product they won’t spend at least tens-of-thousands to help the public understand.

People are angry. They’re upset that they don’t understand something the commercial and salesperson made seem so easy. Your support needs to be part technician and part psychologist to help them. People are protesting, but sometimes it seems the businesses were happy to have their money and dissappear with it.

As a consumer you must do your research. As they say, Caveat Emptor. Or, in today’s language, hold onto your pants if you like your wallet.

Vampiro. Moon Glorious. says:

Re: Chuckle Nutts

“if i called more than 3 times in one month i would get a call back making sure everything has been convered and if i had any more questions. truley remarkable to the point i told everyone switch to verizon…. im in my 8 month with them and its sprint all over again they hooked me the first few months and treat me like dog shit afterwards.”

How stupid do you have to be to have to call customer service more than twice in a given month to use a cellphone?
Better question, chucklenut, how f’ing retarded do you have to be to get banned from doing business with a long standing, large corporation?
If you can not interpret the user’s manual for the cellphone your life must be a living hell. I would feel sorry for you, but I am too concerned for your kids well being.
Seriously, you need to seek help from a professional, not customer support.

Mike Wright says:

Number 1 on my wish list...

I seem to remember a time when “technical support” and “customer service” were 2 different things.
Now, however, they have been combined into one off-shore phone room full of people who simply read the owner’s manual to you.
Why is there “tech rage?” Because when I call Mujibar to ask if my new DVD player is supposed to support PAL and NTSC, he tells me I should make sure the label on the DVD faces “up”.

Steve says:

Let’s not forget, bad customer service can also happen at the business level as well. The company I work for is currently going through the same thing with a software company.

customer: The software don’t work with the pre equipment upgrade
software company: Everything should work great, we never had that issue before.
customer: how many times we got to say it.

3 months later………

customer: the official equipment upgrade is official and it’s still not working.
software company: oh yea, it seems like we do have some fixes. Your company is not the only one having the this issue.

Bulent Akman says:

Sony tech support polite yet helpless.

I bought a Sony RDR-HX720 and although it plays Divx files, it doesn’t have an update available to support AC3 audio encoding (didn’t know, didn’t ask) nor can it recognize a data dvd with several files on it (thought this was a no brainer since my Elta 8883 was very cheap and had no trouble)

So I bludgeoned my way through the labyrinth of Sony support sites looking for a firmware update or any news… impossible…becauce there is no news about this product.
Sony tech support politely didn’t help me and I will never ever purchase another Sony product again and I hope no one else does either.

Highlights from my email communications with Sony:

I am really sorry that you are not satisfied with Sony
product. >
Unfortunately there are no software update which would
allow to use the
DVD recorder RDR-HX720 in the way you want it to.
Any upgrades are published on our service web site:

I would ask you to follow the information on this
site. >

Recorder RDR-HX720 can properly read music records
only on discs: >
CD-R/RW which don’t contain any other information such
as pictures and
movies. Music records on DVD disc won’t be played. DVD
recorder “looks
for” movie records and if there is no movie record,
the recorder
doesn’t “understand” the disc. >
I also would like to inform that your recorder read
Divx format in
versions: 3,4 and 5 but cannot read separetely
recorded text. >
Any updates for our software are published on our web

I hope that you will find satisfaction in using your
DVD recorder.

For an extra 200 bucks I could have gotten a media center that did everything except boot up like a household appliance, why oh why did I buy Sony?!?!?

Michelle says:

Re: Sony tech support polite yet helpless.

I had the same experience with Sony a few years ago. I guess things have not changed. I needed to have a monitor repaired that was shipped with my Digital Studio. I love the quality of this monitor and it was about 5 years old when I sent it to Sony for a repair of the video cable. I asked them to please furnish me with a quote for the work because the monitor was old enought that I might choose just to buy a new one instead. A few weeks later, I recieved my monitor back with a new cable, a damaged Bezel and an bill for hundreds of dollars. I could have easily purchased a new monitor for what I was expected to pay for the repair. I called Sony, emailed Sony and wrote a letter to the President of Sony and received abosolutely no response. When I called customer service, they could not give me any options on how to handle the situation. I had to pay the bill to prevent credit issues. I recently bought a new computer. You won’t be surprised that it was not a Sony.

heavyw8t says:

bad support

Remember that the first three people you talk to on a typical call are phone answering people with instructions to get you off the phone and mark the call resolved as quickly as possible. They are not technical people. I had issues with my ISP with a connection dropping whenever I tried to get west from Ohio. Using the Sam Spade diagnostic tools I was able to track down the IP of a failed router in a Chicago hub center FOR THEM!!! And it took me 4 transfers to get to a level three technician who even knew what a router does and why a failed unit needs to be replaced. They changed out the router and in 1 hour everything was back to normal. I declined his offer of applying for a job there. Working for an ISP is like a dermatologist working at the makeup counter in a department store. And I couldn’t take the pay cut.

Michael says:

other side of the coin...

While I’ll admit most tech support is useless, I worked for Teletech who does support for Verizon DSL, and about 80% of the people that call in for support either are not willing to follow ANY instructions, or are just too stupid to even type in a correct password, I have seriously spent over 30 minutes explaining why the email isn’t broken because your getting “undeliverable” msgs when your sending mail to an email address that you’ve typed in wrong… on top of that peoples poorly maintained computers are also somehow techsupports fault because “my computer worked great before I got DSL” I have since left that job, because they just can’t pay me enough to talk to Americans on the phone, dumbest people I’ve ever spoken with, I’m surprised most of em remember to breathe.

ehrichweiss says:

Re: other side of the coin...

I’m with ya brotha. I ran tech support for a small cable ISP and discovered nothing but a lot of hell. Every 3rd call typically involved these words “are you using zonealarm or norton’s or macafee’s ‘internet security suite’? yes? disable it.” And there was a huge issue with Linksys routers and DHCP(we never did figure that one out but we had issues by the ton) or I had the idiots who thought we could call a tech at 3am and have them fix the issue immediately or that we provided premium business services like being able to relay bulk email although he only paid for the very basic of services. Cheapskate.

Though my favorites were the people who called up expecting me to teach them how to use a computer or the woman who called saying she had problems and I asked what version of Windows she was using 98 or XP and she replied “95” and then got upset when I told her it was 10 years old and that no one supported that any more including M$ and I couldn’t remember anything about it. She actually called the cable company and complained and they TRIED to force me to give her support but when listening to the simple reasoning that it was truly unsafe to leave on our network, they dropped the issue and told her she had to upgrade. I won’t even go into how she thought shutting down the computer was turning the monitor on and off.

Though the thing that made me leave was a series of problems that started with the cable operator(well one of them, we had a couple of them) conveniently forgetting to send out the field tech because he was too cheap and then placing the blame on me when the customer called to complain again(thank goodness for those recordings of the call), as well as some horrible communication problems between myself and the “engineer” when I warned him that a default setting had provisioned several customers to the wrong system and it was promptly ignored and built up until he was screaming at me for “allowing it to happen” until I showed him the chat log where I told him of these issues and that he had to correct it. Never got an apology for that though I got my share of hell.

Of course I laughed when he complained about the (expensive) company that took over and treated the customers like crap(“reboot and call back if that doesn’t fix it”).

Due to this I have decided to lobby that people need to be licensed before they install any firewall or use a router of any kind as well as have an internet license so you know how to use a browser. If you aren’t sure what you’re doing, you can’t use the internet without a permit and someone with a current and valid license sitting next to you(just like a drivers license).

Matt says:

Re: other side of the coin...

“I have since left that job, because they just can’t pay me enough to talk to Americans on the phone, dumbest people I’ve ever spoken with, I’m surprised most of em remember to breathe.”

Wow… now all of the sudden we’ve gone and changed this to Racial/National slurs?

I’m pretty sure there’s both intelligent people AND morons in every part of the world…

Hates Comcast says:

bad support

My internet service from Comcast in the Chicagoland area has been wholly unreliable for the past few weeks. A couple of week ago it dropped to the point where i could barely keep a connection to any kind of IRC service and could only send basic text email. I was getting anywhere from 20-50% packet loss, my upload speeds were/are below 10k and my download speeds vary anywhere from 100k to 1M and I have a cable modem! After two canceled appointments (because they said they fixed it outside somewhere so without telling me they decided to cancel) I’ve got them coming out today to actually look at my lines and my modem (i hope). The most aggravating thing about all this is dealing with the India tech support/CS that doesn’t know jack squat and is reading from a script. and as soon as you get upset with them they forget how to even talk and just stutter. I think that if companies are going to outsource their customer service, the people working there should be required to actually learn to speak english clearly and try to at least make some effort to cover up the fact i’m talking to someone who has no clue what their doing in INDIA!

I’ve never before had an issue with comcast cable modem service but from what I’m seeing on the forums this is a problem being experienced all over the country.

dt king (user link) says:

No Tech Support At All

I think some companies have decided that it’s cheaper to just do business with the people who don’t have technical support issues. When my Yahoo music service automatically upgraded my player to a version that didn’t work, I never got any response beyond the automated form mailback. I figure my $5 a month wasn’t worth individual support.

They eventually solved the problem with a fixed version, but it was up to me to periodically download and install until it worked again.

Zazie (user link) says:

Some Good, Some Bad (VERY BAD!)`

Having been on both sides of the phone, I think I have an idea as to how good/bad some companies can be. This may not be the case for everyone but these are my experiences:

Apple: Only had to call them once when my iPod wouldn’t start right out of the box, but they invited me into the local store, and had me out the door in 10 minutes with a new iPod. Well done guys!

Microsoft: Hey, I know they are the symbol of evil, but I called them with a XP CD Key issue, and in about 15 minutes they had me rolling again. Summary: Bad OS, Good phone support.

Geek Sqad: Sorry guys, but I’m more qualified than you are. You may have a tie and a VW Bug, but you didn’t seem to know S*** about internet connection sharing…

Cingular: I’m never going to leave you guys because you have caused me the least headaches of any cell provider. I do wonder why all the phone operators have a southern drawl, but they are fairly well behaved & willing to help me resolve any issues.

Creative: The headphones on my Muvo started to come apart, and while it took some 12 emails to get it done, Creative sent me a new set of headphones for FREE. No shipping, no fees… FREE.

Sony: Sony can be hit or miss, but when my ps2 came down with the infamous “disk read error” I called them up. I paid to ship it to them, they fixed it, and shipped it back for free. On the other hand, my roomate had a similar issue one year later, and they were unwilling to help… oh well, can’t win ’em all.

HP/Staples: I spent some time doing tech support at Staples, and a customer came in with a 11 month old printer that had suddenly died. She paid $30 for a 2 year extended warranty through staples, in addition to the 1 year warranty that HP provides. I called HP, who said that her printer was too old to be under warranty. WTF?! I’m holding her recipt, the printer is 11 months old. Last time I checked that was less than 1 year. Ok, no biggie call the staples warranty group: Sorry, technically the printer is still under the HP warranty, so we won’t cover it… Well that’s “the runaround” if I’ve ever heard of it.

Dell (pronounced “Hell”): I won’t even go there, I find myself yelling at them at least 3 times per year. So to sum up the intelligence of their callers here’s what I said to them:

Me: “No, I don’t need to re-install my operating system, No I don’t need to ship this thing to you for repairs. Mail me a goddam fan to replace that P.O.S. proprietary fan which died in a year and a half”

Operator: “Your dell is currently out of warranty, you will have to pay $35 plus shipping for the fan. Would you like me to place the order?”

Me: “No, I think I’ll just go buy a Mac.”

Operator: “Very well, thank you for calling Dell, you will have the option to take place in a satisfaction survey at th…”

Me: ::Click:: “F***ers…”

Webomatica (user link) says:

Turn it off, turn it on.

What bugs me is every time I call up customer support, the first things they say is: Is it plugged in? Turn it off, wait five minutes and turn it on again. Duh, you told me to do that last time so that’s the first thing I do BEFORE I call you. As if I’m so excited to spend an hour on hold that I don’t do all my own troubleshooting FIRST and at the first sign of trouble I immediatly call tech support.

Starting off this way implies that I am a moron which in turn makes me think you, the customer service representative is a moron and you’re just reading from a script.

bodhiguy says:

This article missed the mark completely ! It’s called “cultural lag”, consult your local sociologist. Without exception, users of new technologies lag behind the intelligence curve, as evidenced by the epidemic of drinking and driving here in the US. Eventually, adoption and the learning curve of technology takes a back seat to development and advancement of said technologies.

Clayton says:

Hello Laquestashita

The good customer support I get tends to come before the sale. I work with CDW on a regular basis, and they provide me with excellent product insight and have always jumped on every problem I throw to them. The biggest difference I’ve found between CDW and “Herro! Dis es Nitgear subbort. I am Amindamula” is their sales reps are better informed on the products and have been hands on with them. Often times they are “certified” experts. When I reach a call center, and I’m already frustrated if I do not recieve decent support, I always ask to talk to teir 2 support. I don’t care what teir 1 has to say, often times all the support they offer is the same you would get from windows help.

chris (profile) says:

3 out of 5 customers are idiots

and they ruin it for the other 2 of us that have real issues.

i have worked in IT for 10 years, which included 3 years on a helpdesk where i averaged 30 phone calls a day helping people with all sorts of problems. i can say with certainty that 90% of the people who call for tech support are mentally retarded and incapable of operating anything with buttons.

these idiots waste the time and patience of the people who answer the phone, so by the time you get a hold of a person who can help you they are so burned out and frustrated that they couldn’t do a good job for you even if they wanted to.

someone mentioned the fact that tech support and customer service used to not be the same thing. companies all over discarded tech support for customer service for several reasons:

1) a useful technical support person costs two to three times what a useful customer service person does. since 90% of your calls are from idiots, you might as well pay less for the people fielding those calls. customer service is an afterthought and an expense. in the eyes of short sighted corporate officers, it does nothing for the bottom line.

2) you cannot quantify good technical support. there is no metric to measure effective technical support. there is, however a very real metric to measure customer service: numbers of calls answered in the shortest possible time. if your customers get pissed and hang up, who cares? as long as they hang up quickly then call center managers can still get their bonuses.

3) techincal support skills and customer service skills are mutually exclusive. if you take a person with a technical brain, they will be useless on the phone because they will either lack the interpersonal skills to produce results, or they will lack the patience needed to work with idiots. if you take a person with great customer service skills, they will be very accomodating to the idiots that call, but will either not posess the techinical skills necessary to diagnose and fix a problem.

4) you can’t teach one type to be the other. teaching a technical person customer service skills will result in burnout. teaching a customer service type to be technical is overwhelming and intimidating.

want to see burnout in action? pay your creditcard payment late. call your credit card company and be very pleasant, ask the operator how they are doing, and very politely ask if they can reverse the charges for you. if the agent is able to reverse them, or to talk their supervisor into reversing them, they will. even if they can’t they will probably say “i really wish that i could, but i’m sorry that i can’t.”

then wait a month and pay it late again. call again, and yell, cuss, and demand to speak with a manager. the agent will refuse to reverse the charges and cite some sort of policy, even if you tell them you got them reversed last month.

anytime you ask for something special, when a call center operator talks to their supervisors the first thing the supervisor asks is “were they cool with you?”.

David Lagesse (user link) says:

How to wreck a new computer, just call COMPAQ Tech

I bought a new Compaq computer, but two months later it went back to Costco (they will accept computers back for up to 6 months!)
I had the computer for a month and had installed all the programs I wanted on it by then. While talking to Customer Support on another issue, I mention that I can not register the computer using the telephone connection.
(The phone modem would never dial out, to register the computer, but it had dialed out to register other programs.) The Compaq Tech Support had me do a “non-destruct recovery” repair for this ONE TIME problem.
Then after the “non-destruct recovery” repair is all done, and Windows is starting to load in, the computer is asking for this special patch file. It will NOT continue loading at all with out it.
The Compaq needed a special file to patch between the Microsoft ‘SP1 Update’ and the Compaq Operating System. It took 30 DAYS of hassling on the phone with their DUMB-DUMB East Indian tech support idiots.
I was told, “You must be downloading SP1 from the Windows Update website.” I tell them, “I already have SP1; I need a patch between SP1 and the COMPAQ operating system!” They tell me, “If you are not doing what we are telling you to do, there is nothing we can do to help you. You must be downloading SP1 from the Windows Update web site.”
One idiot Tech AND his supervisor, both East Indians, living in India, insisted I had to have a Dial-up Internet Service Provider just to dial out! — More of the benefits of “outsourcing”!
I have Cable Internet! The phone modem was properly hooked up to the phone line, and had registered other programs by phone.
One month goes by of more horror stories like this, then I am told that I should have installed the patch PRIOR to doing the “non-destruct recovery” They admitted that the first tech messed up in not having me do this first.

After I finally get directed to the website I needed to go to (on another computer of course, the new Compaq has been a “large paper weight” for a month.) that will get me the patch. It turns out after I try to install it, that this is the WRONG PATCH!
Back on the phone AGAIN! That is when find out no patch is available for this particular computer model.
So now the only option I was given was to do a Totally-Destructive-Recovery (back to the “fresh out-of-the-box state”). This means: No Other Programs. All those programs I had JUST installed would be GONE!
So I finally told Compaq, that I would not do a T-D-R. Because with out them having this patch file available, if I ever needed to do a Recovery AGAIN, it would be once again: “T-D-R – fresh out-of-the-box”.
Then you have all the hassles of reloading all of those other programs. AGAIN! I told the Tech Supervisor that they would have to send me another, BETTER computer, one with the patch available. They would not go for that, at all, and insisted my ONLY option was to do the T-D-R. I told him about buying the computer from Costco and that I could return it posthaste.
The Tech Supervisor INSISTED that I must do the T-D-R and that I would not be able to return the computer.
So I told the Tech Supervisor, “Can you say, ‘Dude, Your Getting a Dell!!’?”
BTW: This was typed on the new DELL.

googly_eyes says:

from both sides

Customer support is indeed a two edged sword. I have been on both sides of it.

As a t/s rep I had to deal with they whole gamut of users – from idiots who couldn’t find the letters on their keyboards, to wonderful people who were intelligent, courteous and good natured – even if they weren’t technically savy. The ones who always irked me the most were the blow hards. Mindless morons with an attitude.

On the other side of the coin I now have to call others for support, and I have run the gamut as well – intelligent helpful people, and mindless automatons who read from a script with no clue as to what they are doing.

Having had to support others, I am *usually* more sensitive to the poor underpaid person on the other end of the phone, up to and until they give me attitude, act like idiots, give me the partly line or run around, or are rude.

The worst support call I received was from a man that started off the conversation screaming at me. I calmly told him that if he continued to yell at me I was going to hang up. At this point he calmed down enough so that I could work with him, and got one of his two problems resolved. When it came to the second problem, it was not something that could be done with our product, and there was nothing I could do for him, at which point he started screaming again. I politely hung up the phone. He called back, screamed at the receptionist, screamed at the sales manager, screamed at the engineers, never got anywhere, and claimed that I shouldn’t have been so rude – as his father was deaf and he has to shout all the time.

A similar one was a customer with attitude to spare, whom I slowly rose to the same level of attitude with. The sales guy overheard me and was alarmed, so he wanted to talk to the customer. Apparently I was clearly not living up to our high company standards of support etiquette. He too quickly got frustrated with the customer, started arguing with him, then yelling at him, and when he slammed down the phone he asked me how I lasted so long with him on the call.

googly_eyes says:

Re: from both sides

Oh, and I used to thumb my nose at the time “limits” on the calls I took. I regularly spent 2 hours on a call when needed, even though the instructions were to “get them off the phone ASAP and have them call back if needed”

The result was that my customers were usually happy with my service, rarely had to call back, and it used to piss my boss off because I got a lot of compliment letters, and he couldn’t reprimand me for having happy customers.

Adrian Anders (user link) says:

Fucking love Toshiba’s customer service. When I had an issue with my laptop 6 months back they fixed everything no problem. I didn’t need to explain a damn thing, no reboots, no reinstalls, etc. I just told them the problem, they understood completely and when I sent it in (free UPS shipping :-)) they fixed all the issues and cleaned up the case for me. Got it back in less than a week.

Damn, I think my next laptop’s going to be another Toshiba.


Rstr5105 says:

Verizon DSL

Alright heres a good one for you.

I was trying to host a website via NoIP and I needed to know whether or not port 80 was blocked (regular HTTP port), so I went to an online port scanner which i’ve forgotten the name of, and it came up as a stealthed port. So I jumped into my router config and made sure that the port was in fact open and scanned again. Again it came up stealth, so I called T/S.

ME: Hi, I’ve got a problem with port 80.
T/S: Okay just let me verify your info, can I have your phone # and the acct holders name?
T/S: Alright and what is your problem today?
ME: Yes, I’m having a problem with getting my website running on port 80, the contract we signed for your service never mentions port 80 being blocked in anyway and I’d like to know if it is stealthed on your end or if there is a problem on my internal network.
T/S: Alright, let me check that for you.

so far this call was going very well, and my stress levels were like 0%.

T/S: Hello? Sir?
Me: Yes, I’m still here.
T/S: Yes, I’ve just checked my files and it shows that port 80 is not blocked by our company, could you tell me what router you are using?
ME: Yes I’m using a Linksys (I gave the model to the T/S rep but I don’t remember them off hand) Wireless B router.
T/S: Okay, we cannot offer support on that router however, if you call linksys they can tell you what’s wrong.

Okay at this point I got off the phone and triple checked everything on my intranet, it was all good to go I called verizon back went through the verification rigamorole.

ME: Yes, I’ve just checked all the settings on my internal network and everything is fine, the online scanner still cannot find port 80 as being open.
T/S: Okay, well port 80 is not blocked by our company so it must be something on your network.
ME: (Getting frustrated) Do you have a manager I can speak to?
T/S: I’m sorry sir, my manager is out for the day.
ME: excuse me?
T/S: My manager is out for the day and cannot take any calls.
ME: Well can you transfer me to somebody elses manager?
T/S: Yes, I can do that.

Several minutes go by.

T/SM: Hi this is Joe Schmoe, I understand you are having a problem today.
Me: Yes, I cannot get port 80 to come up as un-stealthed, our contract never mentions whether or not port 80 is a blocked port or not, and I need that port open.
T/SM: Okay, let me check for you.
T/SM: Hello? Sir?
Me: Yes?
T/SM: Sir, it appears that port 80 is not blocked by our company, could you tell me the model of your router and modem?
ME: Yes I’m using a westell XXXX and a linksys wireless B router.
T/SM: Sir, that modem is out of date and thats the reason you cannot access port 80. I’m going to transfer you to our sales dept. and set you up to recieve a new modem.

If you are thinking that sounds bogus, you’re right, I did too, but I figured, “Hey! New Modem, can’t go wrong there.”

Okay, so I spent a half an hour talking to sales and explaining to them that my modem was still covered by their warrentee. They did send the new modem 2-day UPS and only charged me for the shipping rather than $75 + shipping but as my next call to T/S will show.

ME: Hi, I was told that my modem was out of date and that by getting the newer model from you guys it would solve my problem accessing port 80.
T/S: Okay, let me check.
T/S: Alright, there should now be now problem accessing port 80. Have you rebooted your computer since putting the new modem on the network?
ME: (Frustrated by the first 2 min) No, you don’t need to reboot a computer to connect to the modem.
T/S: Sir, yes, you do.
ME: Can I speak to your manager?
T/S: Sir, I’m supposed to go through everything here (Pointing at a “script”) before connecting you to a mangager.
ME: look, I called this in 2 days ago, and your manager even told me that I wouldn’t need to reboot.
T/S: Okay, let me find a manager for you.
T/SM: Hi How can I help you today?
Me: Yes, I need to speak with one of your managers too please, because the answer the manager at your level gave me two days ago is not working.
T/SM: And this is regarding port 80?
Me: Yes.
T/SM: I’m Sorry, there’s nothing we can do.
Me: (Staring at the phone) ???

Equasia says:

Bad compaq service

do not buy a compaq laptop. my LCD screen went out on me a little after a year. And I was not covered. they told me i would have to pay $298 to send it in to be looked at or pay to speak to technical support. I had my dell for years and I can call whenever i want for free to fix the problem. They are the worse product I’ve ever brought.

KD says:

Customer Service? What customer service?

Poor customer service is not a subjective point of view. It’s a type of standard operating procedure where a company pits it’s employees and customers against each other.

Example: Dell.

We buy an expensive Dell laptop. The thing is dead. We calls customer service where the standard operating procedure is to transfer native English speakers to a customer service center where English isn’t the first language.

The customer service rep is required to go through a number of steps, regardless of logic. For instance suggesting ‘reloading your operating system’ will make the dead hard drive magically run. This sets up the rep to look like an idiot, even if the rep is in actuality brilliant.

Finally, mailing a hard drive replacement does indeed fix the problem, but is still poor customer service. Yes, we can replace the hard drive, but that isn’t the point. We shouldn’t have to. If you spend a pile of money on a computer, it should work. If it doesn’t, send a new one and apologize for the inconvenience. The customer shouldn’t have to spend many irritated hours in addition to their money to receive the product they were promised.

Example: Sprint
By far the worst customer service, in any category.

To start, the customer service is automated. You MUST listen to: how much you owe, Sprint ads and have your phone ‘updated’, until you are given the option of entering your information to then proceed to customer service. If you fail to complete any of this, Sprint electronic customer service will automatically disconnect you.

Once you get a human, a MINIMUM 20 minute wait, you have to give them the information you already entered during the first phase. Then, no matter your problem, or how many times you have called on the problem, you will have to explain the issue again.

The customer service rep will tell you the problem has been fixed. If you are already wise to Sprint, you’ll explain that you’ve been told this before and the issue wasn’t fixed. Your rep will suggest you wait until the next billing cycle to see proof of the correction.

When you figure out the problem hasn’t been fixed, you’ll have to do it all again. But add a minimum 40 minute wait to talk to a manager. I even had ‘David’ (a manager) at the Salt Lake City Sprint customer service center put me on hold while he went to lunch. Only to come back and transfer me to my local Sprint store. (This was David’s little joke, since he was well aware it was after retail hours, and that I had already been to the store, twice.)

I was irritated enough to call Sprint Headquarters in Virginia. I called and asked to speak to some one regarding my poor treatment at the hands of Sprint Customer service in Salt Lake City.

They transfered me to Sprint Customer Service in Salt Lake City.

I called headquarters again. I asked again. I also asked not to be transfered to Sprint Customer Service in Salt Lake City. Guess what happened?

Tired. Beaten. I called Sprint Customer Service to cancel everything having to do with Sprint. They hate me, I hate them, it’s time to just get away from each other.

I have to pay a $200 because I waited a billing cycle to cancel. You remember, the billing cycle they asked me to wait to show they had fixed the problem?

Wonder what the problem was? Sprint put my service under some one else’s name. I think Sprint will have a hard time collecting from that person, given that his name doesn’t appear on any of the paperwork I had to sign.


Am I mad at the individual reps? No. Sprint set this up. Sprint set up an automated system that will purposely disconnect you, and give their reps encouragement to ‘lose’ your calls, ignore problems, and delay delay delay. Sprint set up an electronic system that discourages most, and a hold system that discourages nearly all. Most importantly, Sprint doesn’t have any recourse for customers who have suffered abuse at the hands of their ‘Customer Service’ (unless you count purposely transferring the abused party back into the hands of their abusers).

Its SOP. Sprint SOP is to frustrate and abuse customers into never calling Sprint for help again, thus cutting expenses like ‘service’. All they while, create severe penalties for customers who try to run from the abuse. It’s the only way Sprint can keep customers.

antonette falcone (user link) says:

HP support

HP stinkS!!! if i told you what i really would like to call them this email would be xxx! my hard drive crashed! i have the warrant with them and they will not help!! what did i pay money to them for then!! i would have to say to anyone don’t buyan HP computer !! i am sorry i did and you will be to. if it crases you are on your own!! no one fromHP will help you even if you have the warrent!!

Tech Support monkey (user link) says:

everyone is an idiot who calls technical support.

I truly with a passion hate my job. I deal with idiots all day long. Anyone and everyone who calls is retarded and its amazing how far they get despite their technological handicap.

They lack hand-eye coordination and simple commands a dog could understand.

They freak out when something that didn’t happen before happens.

They do exactly what they are told if its in writing. Example: a form field asks for their social, dob, and credit card info.

They almost all have a southern accent. If I ever wanted to be a scam artist, I ‘d surely move to the south where people would almost certainly fork over their wallets with little hesitation.

I hate my job, but I hate stupid people more. It is nice to know that every young person I talk to who is going to get their masters degree will fail at their job because powerpoint failed to open or because they clicked reply to all in that porn email.

My name is Sam and I work for University Of Phoenix.

Selene says:

human emotion

Being a big fan of “don’t cry for something that won’t cry for you,” I’m always baffled by the amount of emotional energy customers invest in some pathetic problem or another. I work in telephone customer service, and honestly, I sometimes wonder how it is they have the frontal lobe capacity to even DIAL a phone! Example one, a doctor’s line:

“Um, I’ve got something stuck in my rectum.” (NO, I’m not making this up for comedic effect, it was an actual call about six years ago!) I called the on-call doctor, who apparently didn’t call the guy back, because he called me again. When I spoke to the doctor, his reply was a curt “It’s not something I can help him with over the phone. Tell him to go to ER!” Which I did, when the third call came along. The moron’s next question was “Will it fall out by itself? What do you suggest?” I had to act the professional and tell him to go to emerg and I didn’t have any advice for him, but inside I wanted to scream “Don’t put things there, dummy!”

Second example, I used to work in a call centre that provided claims support for travel insurance. The sales part of it was great, when I could explain the most complicated things and have people like me for it. But when a claim was denied, that’s when the trouble started. People never read their policies, and argued in every way possible that I was in the wrong. The policy clearly states that if you’re injured while travelling, you have to call within 24 hours of seeking treatment. The guy was travelling and he gave the information to the hospital, without opening a claim first. When they contacted the insurance company, the insurance hadn’t heard from the customer since he bought the policy, so they rejected the claim. So the hospital sent the bill to the customer. When I told him he has to call us to open a claim, he said “Where does it say that?” So I opened the brochure, said “Page 23, in big bold letters: ‘In the event of a medical emergency, contact us within 24 hours,'” or whatever the actual wording was. And he STILL tried to argue with me that we should have done something, like call him when we got the bill! Considering we process a thousand or so claims a week, who has time?!

Yet another guy called us to open a collision damage (car rental) claim. He’d been travelling in Romania, got in a car accident (9000 Euros, so I know he didn’t want to pay it!). It took a while to get the report from the car company, but when we sent him his paperwork, he never responded. We sent the paperwork several times, and never got it back. The customer has a 12-month deadline for filing, which we extended by an extra six months. After no response from him, the head manager of the claims department closed the claim, yet he STILL wanted to argue about it. (My supervisor was sitting one cubicle over from me, and I was on the phone with this idiot for almost an hour) He threatened to sue, and it was all I could do not to laugh. I told him the deadline to file a claim was 12 months after the date of the accident. The deadline to file a lawsuit was 12 months after that, bringing you up to 24 months. At this point it had been 28 months since his accident, which I pointed out to him. Yet he STILL insisted something could be done about it.

And still, people say the customer service is bad? Let’s see people admitting to being bad customers. I have a bad customer story for every day of the week, because people will speak to you over the phone in a way they’d never speak to you in real life. I actually had one customer complain about having to fill out forms, and told me it was MY job–I told him I could fill it out for him, but I would never be able to sign his name, as that’s considered forgery, and illegal! I had another customer calling ME an idiot and expecting me to agree with her. I had another customer whose policy (due to an error with the servcer) had been purchased three or four extra times. When we discovered the mistake, we refunded her right away. A month later, she called me and was really wound up, screaming and complaining about the “hypertension-inducing stress,” of having to put up with this situation (which I saw as very minor). I couldn’t even get through to her to find out what she wanted me to do about it, so I had to pass her off to my supervisor. She wanted a letter of apology, but she spent twenty minutes on the phone screaming about hypertension without ever telling me what she wanted.

Even though I understand the frustration at the company (and have been there myself–I’m probably the worst customer in the world to deal with over the phone), there is still a living, breathing person at the other end, whose job depends on helping you. I think people forget that. During training, customer service associates are constantly told that empathy is the most important, that the customer isn’t an annoyance but the reason you’re there, and I think that the field attracts people who are genuinely helpful and good problem-solvers. But some things are beyond easy solutions, and that’s what people complain about, and I’m always frustrated that customers think they’re the centre of the universe, and that just by making a phone call everything should be magically fixed right now right away and perfectly. It’s absurd.

RozKJ says:

Been there and STILL doin' that!

For Christmas last year, I decided to treat myself to all new electronics. Laptop, receiver, dvd/cd player, television, Sony cyber shot, and some other fun things to enjoy. I’d then decided to purchase some new speakers, JBLs and a Sony 12″ 150 watts woofer on 01-11-07. I’d purchased the receiver, dvd/cd player, JBLs and the woofer from a Best Buy store. The JBL speakers died less than one month after purchasing them, and had to be taken back for repair. Up until Sunday 11-04-07, the JBLs was working fine, and one of the speakers busted while playing. Back to the repair shop it goes.

Now on to the WOOFER saga. While playing the woofer on 05-05-07, it just passed out without warning, and I had my son take it for repair. When I got it back on June 06-20-07, the woofer didn’t work 3 minutes, and I had my son take it back to the store on 08-03-07. When I got the woofer back one month later AGAIN, I hooked up the woofer, and it played for 5 minutes and died. NOW, I’m livid, because the store has had my woof-woof more than I’ve had the enjoyment of listening to it. So, I am now calling the repair shop at the store.

I’m being polite to them as I always am, however, I am not getting the convo that I want to hear. “Just bring it back to the store and we’ll repair it”, was what I was given. NOW I’m spazzing! Not cussing or anything but, my voice pitch had reached a NOT-SO-NICE level. I’d informed the person I was speaking to that because I couldn’t speak with the person I should be venting on, YOU will be my target. That was a waste of time but, it did feel good for a moment.

Because I am ill a lot, I can’t get to these cruds, and my son has his own life of business and family. So, I’m STILL without my woofer being fixed, and the holiday beginnings are just 2 minutes away. Good thing I have some backup but, this shouldn’t be. JUDGE JUDY HERE WE COME!! I’m going to get results one way or another.

Dave says:

How to Deal with Third World Service and Tech Supp

How to Deal with Third-World Service/Tech Support
Personnel and Get the Service You Need Without Going Crazy

(Or “How I Saved Myself From Another Case of Tech Rage”)


STEP 1 :

Listen very carefully to your tech support person for the first 30-60 seconds:

a) Do they speak very accented English, or speak very slowly, or sound like they are struggling for the right words?

b) Do they sound totally unfamiliar with the product/feature/service you are calling about?

c) Are they “hard of hearing”, or continually ask to you repeat information back to them, or constantly repeat back the information you just gave them back to you?

c) Are you continually having to repeat your problem to them, just to have yourself repeat it yet again because
they were not listen for the fifth (tenth) time?

d) Is the tech support person you are currently speaking with a FEMALE?

If you answered “Yes” to one or more of the above, there is a very simple and effective way to “beat the system” and get a semi-conpetent Third World tech dude on the phone with you who kinda knows what he is doing.. (and trust me, its NEVER a female..)


You might have to try this anywhere from 1-5 times until you get a MALE tech support guy on the line with a very good command of the English language, and with little or
no accent, but I can GUARANTEE you that this strategy if followed works for me 98% of the time… And it will work for you too, as well as save you from the dreaded “Tech Rage” we all too often get into when dealing with Third-World “knowledge” workers with little or no skills or intelligence.

Pass this tip on to your friends and family….

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