The Real Reason Why Most Tech Support Sucks

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Waiting on hold. Automated systems with confusing menus that don’t understand you. Real humans stuck reading from scripts. It’s the tech support loop, and nobody likes getting stuck in it. So why is it so prevalent?

Well, as you might have assumed a long time ago, companies know damn well their tech support sucks. 92 percent of customer service managers admit their agents could be more effective, while 74 percent confess their procedures prevent agents from providing satisfactory experiences, according to a survey conducted last year by the industry group International Customer Management Institute.

Why? Well, because companies aren’t as concerned with giving you the best service so much as they are concerned with giving you the most financially efficient (read: minimal) service. Quoth the New York Times:

Many organizations are running a cost-per-contact model, which limits the time agents can be on the phone with you, hence the agony of round-robin transfers and continually being placed on hold. “Don’t think companies haven’t studied how far they can take things in providing the minimal level of service,” said Justin Robbins, who was once a tech support agent himself and now oversees research and editorial at ICMI.

Larger companies with minimal competition often have the worst service, but startups and companies in highly competitive markets are likely to have at least reasonably good customer service.

It’s often more effective today to contact a company through social media, such as a tweet or Facebook message. Response times are usually lower because it’s a less populated channel—and because your complaint is visible for the world to see.

Whatever you do, don’t get angry. The support on the other end is another human after all, and if you piss them off, they may retaliate—for example by unnecessarily placing you on hold for extended periods of time.


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