Some of the most miserable moments of my life have been spent on the phone with tech support. Not to mention the angriest. Some tech support calls have turned me into a saliva-spitting werewolf. I’m not saying I’d literally like to see a cross-section of tech-support personnel crucified along the Appian Way, but I’ve definitely fantasized about this. Most tech support people are stupid, protocol-following sadists. They know they’re driving you crazy, and they kind of enjoy it. Just once before I die I want to run into one of these guys. Just once.
And now comes a 7.3. N.Y. Times piece by Kate Murphy about tech support rage (“Why Tech Support Is (Purposely) Unbearable”). I don’t know the name of this tune. I’ve sung it, lived it. I carry the scars on my psyche.
Murphy quotes a 2015 survey by the industry group International Customer Management Institute, to wit: “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.”
“Don’t think companies haven’t studied how far they can take things in providing the minimal level of service,” says ICMI’s Justin Robbins. “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, and we will get to you immediately.’”
I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve been told I can get premium support for a fee. Is anyone out there listening? I would gladly pay to get quality-level support. No questions asked, thank you, take my money but get me out of this hell. But 99% of the time this isn’t an option. Even the Apple guys won’t offer this, and most of the Apple support people I’ve spoken to are stone morons.