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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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by rharper In reply to Many reasons contribute

Stress Junkie,

Your response is so on point.
Poor quality software and hardware.
Poor work ethic in the American culture.
Poor quality of business management at all

Thanks for your candor.

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poor work ethic in the American culture

by rickhal In reply to

I agree with all your points with the exception of: "poor work ethic in the American culture". This a overly general statement that you couldn't possibly have researched in any meaningful way. You state that in many cases the person calling for support doesn't really know how to even state with any degree of precision, what the problem is that they are experiencing. Having done many years of support for Lotus Domino/Notes, I know this to be true. Too many end users (especially in the corporate world) are given very little training on the software products they will be using. Add to this the high levels of stress that all employees in the corporate arena face these days, and you have a bad situation. Add in unreasonable SLAs cooked up by management people interested mainly in making themselves look good to senior managment and you have a bad situation made worse. Then add in a reluctance on the part of management to invest wisely in infrastructure or to short change infrastrucuture maintenenace and upgrading, and you get bad results all the way around. Are there tech support people who don't have a good work ethic? Of course there are. But, in my experience that is a minor reason as to why tech support is not what it should be. The vast majority of tech support people I have worked with have a good work ethic. They may not be trained properly for what they are expected to do, but again, this is a management issue. For not hiring the right person for the job. Or, more likely, trying to skimp on labor compensation to make the bottom line look better. That is my two cents worth on the subject.

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Stress Junkie is RIGHT!!

by normalITguy In reply to Many reasons contribute

I could not agree more with the causes below for poor tech support:

Poor quality software and hardware.
Poor work ethic in the American culture.
Poor quality of business management at all levels.

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why its bad? everything is relative

by tahoesid In reply to Many reasons contribute

Having worked in call centers such as Dells and the old micron I think you may need to look at it from the other side. Right now people are buying very cheap(inexpensive) hardware and are expecting very expensive support. A LOT of the problems are user caused. That is they download viruses , worms etc. Then guess what who do they call and expect to fix it. Lots of support calls are software based problems, quite a few are OS problems. From what I can tell a lot of the problems are Windows issues that the customer expects to be fixed.
Sometimes it seemed that around 75% of the issues being called about were Microsoft based. Guess what? Microsoft doesnt want to hear about it. They send em to the OEM, who has to put people on the phones to fix Windows problems. Guess how much money they make from putting Windows on their products. Not much I bet.
Throw all that together and the manufacturer is forced to get the cheapest help they can get. So the customer is buying Chevy products and expects Cadillac service. The customers with real hardware issues suffer along with the other self caused problems.
My wife sells computers on a retail level and has to deal with customers that take a computer home and get a virus and bring the computer back. Guess who they blame...It can't be their has to be the computers fault. This is on computers that come with an antivirus package good for at least a short time.

Is there a cure for this? Doubt it. People aren't willing to pay a decent price for support or take the time to learn a little bit about their system.
So I think it is gonna get worse till computers are made as easy as an appliance. It usually just works out of the box and keeps working. They don't change the internals of refrigerators, washing machines , etc every year. It's all tested technology. People don't usually buy a new one every two years because they want it to do different things. So there is a catch to progress.

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Is Microsoft so bad?

by davmax In reply to why its bad? everything i ...

I respond as a skilled user who supports a number of users. I use Microsoft products and I do not load software that the hardware or OS cannot accept eg abberent games.
My experience is that Microsoft causes absolutely minimal problems, yes there are holes for attacking the OS, but if you adopt the appropriate defences there is nolittle to be concerned about. Re. external support I have found many ISP support people to be inadequate. They are often wrong, poor at problem solving and often the first reaction is to blame the user.
I can understand the latter, some users make no effort and are intolerant. However I am sure that many support (help desk) people are not well paid and lack experience and training in many fundamentals.

Too many people over the years have blamed Microsoft. My experience had has shown that faulty hardware, incorrect drivers and the lack of reading instruction or basic training by users are the main problem areas. User competency is usually a major issue with skill to handle this situation also up there.

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Let's get professional and stop the bashing

by philospher In reply to Is Microsoft so bad?

First let's stop the bashing of contiuing education of certified professionals. Yes, thier are always going to be amateurs out there who use braindumps and shortcuts to look like a professional. Also to bash a company for its products (and let's face it they all do it)&
Too many people over the years have blamed Microsoft. My experience had has shown that faulty hardware, incorrect drivers and the lack of reading instruction or basic training by users are the main problem areas. User competency is usually a major issue with skill to handle this situation also up there.

Also a profesional attitude is needed. The attitude of the conforming to a set of standards and rules is appalling. The mindset of most expericenced IT people is also appalling. How are we going to pass along needed skills and experience for up and comers. The website offers a code for professionals.

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The all-important metric

by dave.edwards In reply to Many reasons contribute

Management is infatuated with pretty charts and the metrics they represent. If the support person does not handle a high enough volume of calls per day they are reprimanded. The quality of support is not generally an issue, only volume. The result is the most qualified techs are driven from the support queue due to unreasonable expectations from management. This is a serious lack of repect to some one who has driven themselves to be at the top of their field. I have managed a support group and worked as 3rd level for other groups and the more corporate the businesses try become, the poorer the quality of support.

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More on metrics

by mova In reply to The all-important metric

You have hit a significant contributing factor to the poor quality of support -- that is the poor quality of the metrics chosen. Most shops measure raw counts of tickets closed within a certain time period. In other words, speed (and quantity) are of the essence. Given the fixed/shrinking budgets of most shops, the only other variable that management can adjust to compensate for the increased speed required, within a fixed budget, is reduced quality. The poor quality is not the root problem, it is a symptom of another problem -- namely, what is being measured is only part of the picture. Adding customer satisfaction as a criterion based on customer responses to a percentage of tickets (and taken a day or two later, so the customer can be sure the problem is "really" solved) would help to balance the incentives more towards the quality side of the picture and away from the quantity times speed side that is so often emphasized. 'nuff said.

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Re: The all-important metric

by ar15dcm In reply to The all-important metric

Obviously management wants to stretch their departments dollar and show the greatest value spent in order to justify their budget, not to mention existence.

It is not the IT dpearment managers that are the problem. I suggest that it is the bean counters looking at the bottom line. They listen to the CEO who is saying 'we must cut costs'. What does a CEO know about quality IT work? They know when they call IT they get service under some 'Executive Support' process. But this is NOT what the general employee population receives. So it is easy to cut costs and quality of service, they still receive the same service regardless and are oblivious.

Now, to the real point I wanted to make. The fact is that those of us in the IT field need to pick up the pace and do more work if we want to stay employed. Competition from outsourcing both domestic and foreign mandate it. We have to do more with less staff which equates to higher workloads. Such is life in IT.

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Americans go too hard on themselves

by non techie In reply to Many reasons contribute

Work Ethic posted earlier on another thread:

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.

From: non techie Date: 09/14/04

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