We don’t support that

Posted by barb on Feb 23, 2004 in Random Thoughts |

There was an interesting article on Salon today about tech support, or lack thereof: We Don’t Support That.

Our two-week “intensive training” course was helmed by a 19-year-old named Chad. Chad had great difficulty making it to class within three hours of the stated meeting time. As for how to actually troubleshoot and fix computers, we were largely on our own. Beyond a cursory overview of the computers we were in charge of healing, the closest thing to a troubleshooting tool we were taught was The Mantra. . When class ended, which varied wildly depending on Chad’s interest and mental status, we were all encouraged to say The Mantra out loud. The Mantra is simply, “We don’t support that.”

The article is written by a guy who used to work in the tech support office of one of the three major computer sellers in the US. The tech support people are actually outsourced, and earn money for each call completed, whether or not the customer was actually helped. Needless to say, the outsourcing company wanted the tech support phone calls to be kept to a minimum — 12 minutes was the goal, with shorter being better. This produced one of four types of employees: the punter who basically tells the customer that they’ll have to call someone else (such as the software company, phone company, etc.), the giver who sends hardware to callers just to get them to shut-up, the helper who actually helps people though this person usually gets talked to by management because their calls are invariably more than 12 minutes, and the quitters (the majority).

This article makes me very happy that I’ve never had to call tech support. This is for one of two reasons:
1) I’m generally very stubborn and will either poke around the computer enough to figure out the problem or poke around the internet until I find someone else who has saved the same problem, or 2) I get so frustrated that I sick Andrew on the problem.

To those of you without an Andrew, I wish good luck.

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