Does Tech Support Need Support ?
How many of you have ever called technical support only to get a person on the other end that knows less than you do? Now I understand in my case or other very technical people this will be the norm but on the rare occasions we need to call tech support we expect to be talking to someone who at the very least knows what they are talking about and not getting all their knowledge from pre-scripted responses, and sadly this is becoming the standard rather than the exception.
A key example of what I am referring to is years and years ago I worked as a tech support agent and a person in my training group openly admitted they had never used a computer before and they were hired, oh an we were not doing support for like cable, or telephones. No we were tech support for Gateway computers.
Recently I was dealing with tech support for my ISP. As I mentioned earlier on the rare occurrence I need to call support its for something I cannot fix myself and would like help. In this particular case my modem was flashing which can mean 3 things.
- The modem is broken itself
- There is no signal coming in to the modem meaning an outage or an issue preventing signal reaching the modem
- The modem is not active.
So you have the back story on the situation now. Before I called tech support I tested the signal at the source to rule out any problems with the lines inside my house and since my TV and telephone were still working it was obviously a modem issue.
So I call tech support wait half an hour and finally get an agent, he proceeds to waste another 10 minutes collecting info about me before finally getting to actual support. I tell him what I have tested and what is happening.
We immediately rule out an outage. He than tells me the problem is my cable splitter and he will send out a tech in 5 days. I tell him it cant be the splitter I tested it at the source plus my phone and tv still work. He says he will run a test and puts me on hold. He comes back and says sir I cannot diagnose it from here I need to send a tech out to check your splitter box. I repeat again it cannot be a splitter issue its a modem issue can you check if my modem is having an issue as this usually means an authorization issue, he assures me it cannot be that and says again its the splitter box.
Now at this time I am getting upset because this tech clearly does not know what he is talking about and I ask him to transfer me to someone else which he does. I wait another half an hour run through the whole authorization thing again and we start over.
Again we rule out the outage as the cause. He proceeds to tell me he needs to send out a tech to check, you guessed it the splitter box. This is the second tech support agent who would rather just get off the phone and send out a tech than even listen to your problem or have any knowledge beyond what he is reading on the screen. I tell him it is a modem issue and please check if it is activated he says he can’t do that, which I know to be an outright lie because they are the ones who handle that even when the tech is present.
So I finally give up but luckily I got a tech out sooner, and find out the problem is A DEACTIVATED MODEM. When I upgraded my account someone screwed up and the modem was unauthorized so I had to wait 2 days for a tech to come to my home so he could call technical support and ask them to authorize my modem. All of this could have been done on the first call.
This was not one but two agents in the same call who would rather push the problem onto someone else than do their job, even when you are doing their job for them and telling them exactly what they need to do.
I do not expect every tech support agent to have the level of knowledge that I do or even close, but I do expect somoene who is supposed to be able to help you when you have these issues to know the slightest little bit of what they are talking about and a willingness to at least what their job entails.
Now I don’t want to hammer on my ISP, because they are not the only ones to do this. I have never had a good experience with technical support. Constantly you get people who either either say it’s not their problem and your doing something wrong or they try and pass you off to someone else. There is a very real problem with call centers dealing with these issues and for the most part I don’t think the actual company is even aware.
As I said earlier I used to work in technical support for an agency called Sutherland. We handled technical support for Gateway Computers. I used to get callers who were so happy to get someone who knew what they were talking about, how thankful they were to get their problems solved, and how glad they were I could speak English. Do you know what Sutherland had to say about my tech say about my tech support? They said I took to long on the phone and that I needed to get off the phone faster by selling them replacement hardware rather than troubleshooting theirs, sell them software to fix their problem that can easily be fixed without.
So as you can see these are not isolated incidents this is the norm in the industry. These call centers do not care about the customer or their clients all they care about is getting as many calls as they can. Many are based out of India where the agents can barely speak English.
Companies need to start addressing these issues as technical support in some cases can be ruining their reputation. I for one will never buy a Gateway PC, use any Bell Canada or Rogers service. All based off poor technical/customer support.
If you have had a nightmare with technical support please share it with us in the comments section.