I was listening to my favorite tech guy Leo Laporte today and he mentioned an article on Slashdot titled “Is a Bad Attitude damaging the IT profession?” It also referenced an article at It Ought To Be Simple.
After reading those articles I wanted to write this article.
Tech Support reps don’t always suck but it seems like they do all the time. Even myself when I can never suck because it is MY customer I still have those moments that I don’t want to deal with. Saturday was one of those days but I still needed to help but I think I was a bit snippy with my customer and I will be calling her monday to appologize for my rudeness.
I will also admit that years ago I was a BOFH. What does that mean? BOFH stands for Bastard Operator From Hell. The Barstard is what he is named for how he treats his users or as he might call them ‘l’users. Go here to read the origina series from the Bastard.
Why does tech support suck?
Answer 1:?MONEY. Why money? Because say Dell sells you a computer and it costs you 1500 bucks. Lets say Dell’s cost is 1100 bucks and their profit is 400 bucks. Now you have your nice shiney new laptop and 3 months later a software bug craps out Windows. Now they need to help because the you think they should help you fix the problem even though it might not be their fault.
To help you they have to employ tech support guys and lets say they hire someone in the US and after he is paid his hourly wage and then all the other costs that go to maintaining an employee their cost for this employee is 40 per hour.
When Dell starts helping you fix your problem their goal is to help you fix your problem in the quickest way so they can still maintain a profit on your purchase. In other words lets find the quickest solution to your problem and get you off the phone so it keeps our (Dell’s) cost down and our (Dell’s) profit up. From a business perspective you cannot blame them at all. At least I can’t.
Answer 2: Money also. The guy on the other end of the phone now gets paid peanuts because wages are lower and he / she is located in India and so his incentive to keep the customer happy nothing. If he gets fired he can go to another tech support vendor and get another job.
Answer 3: Lots of IT workers have bad attitudes. Their bad attitudes come from usually dealing with the mundane of problems. Example: My printer doesn’t print. Then when they finally find the problem its because the printer is out of Ink. Arrrggghh. 🙂
Answer 4: Computers are infinitely complex. Yes even though it is our (IT people) job to know almost everything we cannot anticipate every possible combination of hardware and software installed in your machine to be able to fix the problem in 5 minutes. That is we start from the beginning with each customer to understand first what your configuration is comprised of.
Answer 5: We get treated like crap a lot. Users beat us up because someone other tech has given them the run around and now they want to dish out their verbal abuse on the next tech.
Answer 6: Yes IT Pro’s do expect the caller to have a reasonable understanding of how to OPERATE their computer. This doesn’t mean you need to know exactly how it works but we expect you to know the difference between a right click and a left click. And when we say to right click on so-n-so and then you say “double click” we get frustrated and wonder if talking to a wall would get us a better response since we know now that you can’t listen and you can’t tell your right from your left. It is 2007 now and a basic understanding of the operation of the mouse is almost expected.
Anyways. This post is sort of a Rant and it is also an apology to my customer if she reads this post. Becky H. I apologize if I did not treat you well on Saturday and I will contact you this week or see on Thursday at the office.
How do you avoid bad tech support. The best answer is Money. But it is not the only answer. I have met tech people that charge more than I do and they still have a bad attitude. But it still comes to cost. If you call the manufacture or the seller of the software they want to get your problem solved as quickly as possible to keep their costs down.
Your best tech support will come from the Independent Firm who has your interests at the top of their list because you are paying them hourly for the work you are requesting. If you are not happy they either will not be called again or the customer will tell their friends that you (IT guy) suck and to not use you.
I will say the past 2 years of growing the Realtor side of my support business has been the greatest time for me. Of the Realtors I have met everyone has been a joy to work with? Why? Because they understand the need to use their computer and they actually are willing to pay for quality tech support.
Leave a comment and tell me your horror story.
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