Nothing’s so bad that capitalism can’t make it worse: Tech support division
In the NY Times Kate Murphy (of Murphy’s Law?) writes of modern tech support:
You may consider yourself even-keeled, the kind of person who is unflappable when those around you are losing their cool. But all that goes out the window when you call tech support. Then you fume. Your face turns red. You shout things into the phone that would appall your mother.
It’s called tech support rage.
And you are not alone. Getting caught in a tech support loop — waiting on hold, interacting with automated systems, talking to people reading from unhelpful scripts and then finding yourself on hold yet again — is a peculiar kind of aggravation that mental health experts say can provoke rage in even the most mild-mannered person.
Worse, just as you suspected, companies are aware of the torture they are putting you through.
According to a survey conducted last year by the industry groupInternational Customer Management Institute, or ICMI, 92 percent of customer service managers said their agents could be more effective and 74 percent said their company procedures prevented agents from providing satisfactory experiences.
Moreover, 73 percent said the complexity of tech support calls is increasing as customers have become more technologically sophisticated and can resolve simpler issues on their own.
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, said Justin Robbins, who was once a tech support agent himself and now oversees research and editorial at ICMI.
“Don’t think companies haven’t studied how far they can take things in providing the minimal level of service,” Mr. Robbins said. “Some organizations have even monetized it by intentionally engineering it so you have to wait an hour at least to speak to someone in support, and while you are on hold, you’re hearing messages like, ‘If you’d like premium support, call this number and for a fee, we will get to you immediately.’”
The most egregious offenders are companies like cable and mobile service providers, which typically have little competition and whose customers are bound by contracts or would be considerably inconvenienced if they canceled their service. Not surprisingly, cable and mobile service providers are consistently ranked by consumers as providing the worst customer support. . . .