Why Technical Support Frequently Fails

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.

Here’s the problem:–Article Continued Here

This excerpt appears with permission from Leo Notenboom.

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3 thoughts on “Why Technical Support Frequently Fails

  1. Yes tech support isn’t what it should be or well what we would like it to be. Having done “tech” phone support for years I feel your pain. While some people are good phone people and some people are good tech’s, it’s hard to find someone that’s both. Also managers would like you to believe that they can “dumb down” service and reduce it to a few well defined steps. I worked for IBM when they sent the IT service over sea’s and well, it didn’t work well for us field service folks. But they did save a ton of money and it looked great on pretty charts and graphs. For me service usually comes down to “do they care” and then its a perspective thing. I was lucky , because I usually had someone with some training on the other end of the phone. My Mom hit it on the head when she told my father ” those kids weren’t born knowing everything you do.” We forget that even in this age of everything electronic that people just turn it on and it works, they know very little about the magic box. They don’t really care , they just want it fixed.

    • @PCBurke: Thank you. I have been trying for several weeks to get the correct help from PC Matic. Seems to me that the help is a reply that is a standard reply, I have installed and removed the program about 8 times and still it will not work properly. I have yet to receive an email report, and have problems with the scheduler not working, I have had to do a manual scan every time. I have a HP 15 Notebook, Windows 10. I wish that had better support. A phone call would be great.

      • Hello, I will be forwarding you the most recent response. Please try the instructions within the email. If you continue to have issues, please reach out to me directly. Thank you!

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