Why Technical Support Frequently Fails
By Leo Notenboom
How and why technical support works but all too frequently – fails.
I was thinking about it the other day and realized that Ask Leo! places me in the roll of technical support engineer. Doing that has given me some insight into what it takes, how technical support can succeed, and why it fails so often.
It’s fashionable to criticize the technical support offered by many companies.
And it’s not without good reason. I’ve run into too many instances myself of completely incompetent, incomprehensible, or seemingly robotic technical support.
And yet, after doing Ask Leo! for over a decade, I’ve also developed a lot of sympathy for the folks who are trying to do it right. Ask Leo! affords me a small window onto their world.
There are days where (to put it bluntly) it ain’t pretty.
Did you reboot your machine?
One of the frustrations that lead me to leaving an ISP some years ago was their insistence that they follow the same technical support script – every single time I called. They assumed:
•Every customer was clueless.
•Every customer was calling for the first time.
•Every support technician was incapable of making intelligent decisions.
The result was that every time I called over the same issue, I had to repeat the exact same preliminary steps even though:
•I had performed those steps before calling.
•I had performed those steps on each of my previous calls.
•I could tell the technician that the steps had exactly zero impact on the problem we were diagnosing.
•The steps had exactly zero impact every time I repeated them.
And that was all above-and-beyond the fact that I knew what I was talking about when I contacted them.
But we had to follow the script. The customer support representative was not much more than a script-reader1 who was unable to deviate from that script.
But … I have sympathy nonetheless.
This excerpt appears with permission from Leo Notenboom.
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