General discussion


Why is non-outsourced tech support so bad?

By rlast ·
We're in the middle of the 4th year of the 21st century & tech support is worse then ever!
A 2003 SSPA survey estimates that the First Call Resolution in the software publishing industry is 46%!

Why is it so bad, still?

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Anglo Saxons vs the rest

by swansong In reply to Most Efficient Workforce ...

The USA is far from being particularly efficient. On the contrary both USA & UK productivity is exceeded by the French who work less than 37 hours per week by law.

IMHO the problem is that most UK & USA workers strongly resent the 8-7pm culture that is prevalent and encouraged by management. I am paid to do 37 hours work a week, but rarely do less than 50 and often more. Failure to 'go the extra mile' marks you out as a malcontent or trouble-maker. I'm sure Steve Jobs, Scott McNealey & Bill Gates (to name a few) all 'work' 70+ hrs a week and 'enjoy' it. They are NOT fielding calls from irate farmers in Utah or Pembrokeshire completely baffled by the lousy software or hardware these gents' companies have sold them.

The guys (& gals too) who *do* support the kit work 60+ hrs in miserable call centres, constantly overlooked and monitored, and do so for lousy wages. The old adage that if you pay peanuts you get monkeys is not always true, but if you do pay peanuts, don't be surprised if your workforce act like monkeys!

You talk about an 'honourable work ethic' (UK spelling, OK?), but how about 'honourable employers' ethics'? A fair day's work for a fair day's pay is as good a motto as you will ever see in this context.
The workers in the VW factory in Mexico don't work harder than their USA counterparts, they simply earn only about 20% of the pay. In business terms this is efficient. The chineese workers who make Nike & Gap products are lucky to see a few dollars a day - even more 'efficient'. There is no way USA or UK (or French come to that) workers will EVER compete - does that make us lazy?

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The French?

by Timbo Zimbabwe In reply to Anglo Saxons vs the rest

"On the contrary both USA & UK productivity is exceeded by the French who work less than 37 hours per week by law."

I worked for a French oil company and I can tell you from first hand experience; their idea of "immediate" was "eventually" as in "it will get done eventually"....

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That is SO true.

by Oz_Media In reply to The French?

I remember waiting for seeral weks for a rech Lumber company to deliver a load of plywood to my uncle's home in the south of France.

He would call ad the boss would say " No problem, it should get there today"

At 4:00 a second call would end in "Well, if they didn' make it by now they are at the pub. Maybe tomorrow, fingers crossed!"

It was truly hilarious, unless you are trying to get something built.

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Productivity and Efficiency

by Elder Griffon In reply to Anglo Saxons vs the rest

We should probably be more precise in describing these. I'm no expert, and I certainly do not have a host of data at my disposal, but cursory examination of some sources suggests it's not as simple as it sounds.

In the first paragraph of your post, it sounds like you may be suggesting that France's productivity per capita is actually greater than that of the UK or US, despite the fact that French workers work fewer hours. Although it has been true for some time that French workers have been more productive per hour, in the data I've seen, both the US and UK outstrip France in GDP per capita by a significant margin, reflecting, no doubt, the greater hours worked. It should also be noted in passing that the margin of the French lead in productivity per hour relative to the US and UK has been steadily decreasing over the last decade or so, with some figures from after 2000 showing the US with a slight edge over France in this statistic.

In any case, the US ranks high among industrialized nations in terms of both statistics, and the UK is not particularly low either, according to the figures at my disposal.

The figures I'm referring to are from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and the UK Department of Trade and Industry. I cannot unfortunately attest to their reliability, but they are somewhat official. Check out and If there are better sources out there, I'd be glad to know of them, since I'm not highly versed in the subject.

Of course, there's no question that if you factor in wages, the efficiency on a cost basis of a worker in a developed nation is pretty low compared to a worker in the developing world. Moreover, the productivity figures I mention above may not have much to say about the kinds of work we're talking about in this forum.

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Quality of Customer Service/Help

by cbmilhaus In reply to Most Efficient Workforce ...

It would make a HUGE difference if the people who did this work really cared about the work they are doing. I should know, I do it, and I DO care about helping my customers and it matters a lot. Our past few generations have become so plugged into their MP3 players abd Cell Phones, they have forgotten the art of conversation.
SKILLS without a willingnes to be of service to others is a shallow fishing line in a very deep lake,

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Work Ethic

by non techie In reply to Most Efficient Workforce ...

As a sometime user of HelpDesks (work, HP, MSoft, Symantec etc)and shops, garages, admin desks, I find nationality or culture doesn't matter. It's the working conditions people are under or the people themselves. However when I went to the US of A I found people very nice. Much "nicer" then Australian front desk/shop/call centre. So does my American spouse.

If I call a helpdesk from Australia, I can get anywhere in the World on the other end. Most are very good. If I call my work Helpdesk I usually ask for one or two people I knopw will be helpful. I think work ethic generally has slid all round- face to face or over technology links. It's a me, me and me World out there. Unfortunately the US gets the blame for it and every other thing known to humankind.

But there are still plenty of us out there, World-wide, who go an extra (paid or underpaid). and we are better for it.

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work ethic

by oprensr In reply to Most Efficient Workforce ...

Poor management can kill good work ethic in a flash. There is nothing American management does better than killing work ethic.

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Do you actually expect me to work, too?

by liz.lucero In reply to Most Efficient Workforce ...

I expect to get flamed big time for this remark, but please keep in mind this is just my experience. I find that the majority of poor service attitude comes from young people. They almost never say ?Thank You? at fast-food places, or when cashiering in a grocery or department store. I?m lucky if I get a ?Your Welcome? if I say thank you. But the ones who are really at fault for this are the older people. The managers and others in ?High Places? don?t teach the younger ones the way of politeness and courtesy. I have been in fast-food places where the service was terrible and the manager apologized for the behavior of the workers and excused it by saying, ?What can you expect? They?re just kids.? What I expect is a ??May I help you? a smile and a ?Thank you??.

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Dead on

by Robert4jc In reply to My 2 cents...

You hit the mark dead on. Of course there will be disagreement on America being the best work force. I do agree with your assesment!

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...worth a dime.

by dogzilla In reply to My 2 cents...

Pretty dead on! When blinded by the bottom line as only computing to the $ the customer misses out. Thus poor tech support, products that more often than not do less than advertised and we are all forking out the time and $ so the few at the top can look fabulous baby.


There are many intrinsic values that are simply ignored because they do not translate into the almighty $.

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