The five most common tech support nightmares

Every user of tech products has a story. They contact tech support or customer service, waste a lot of time, and end up no better off than they started. Sometimes, they end up worse.

The worst stories can go viral, and then the company at fault has a public relations disaster on its hands. That’s something no company wants to deal with, and something many small or medium business would have a tough time bouncing back from.

To make you more aware of the most common tech support fails, here are five common experiences that drive customers crazy:

The scripted actor who cannot improvise

Almost every helpdesk uses scripts: a set of written instructions that the rep is required to read to you. These can be useful to ensure consistency in service interactions, but it can also become a crutch. Even if your problem doesn’t fit the script, some tech reps will insist you follow it anyway.

Ruben Rocha couldn’t get his home security system working, and then ran into a problem with the company’s support. The rep insisted that he run tests he’d already ran, because it was clearly a wiring problem – something that Rocha knew it wasn’t.

Make one mistake, compound it with another

Every company makes mistakes. The sign of a good company is that, when it makes a mistake, it promptly corrects itself and apologizes to the customer.

Unfortunately, far too often, attempts to fix the first mistake become opportunities to make another one. And because someone is in a hurry to get this problem off their back, the mistakes cascade, one after another.

A colleague of mine recently bought a $2,500 laptop with a $500-off coupon. It was supposed to cost him $2,000, but the vendor charged him the full $2,500. When he complained, instead of refunding the $500, they charged him another $500. When he complained again, they refunded only $500.

After four calls, he finally got the other $500 back.


The promises not kept

Sometimes, the tech person listens, figures out the problem, and offers a fix. They might even promise to send you instructions or a replacement part. But that promise is not always kept.

A Monster Cable technician promised to send one anonymous user an instructional video. She then forgot to send it. A follow-up call resulted in her forgetting to send it again.


The don’t-bother-me technique

Some tech support representatives just want to get you out of their hair. So they tell you to do something that will keep you (but not them) busy for a long time, like reinstalling your operating system.

In many if not most cases, these suggestions are pointless, and can leave inexperienced tech users worse off.

Dell once told an anonymous user to reinstall Windows via a DVD. “They did not tell me that it would destroy my access to all the backups I ever made…including the factory image on my recovery partition.”


The large staff that always passes the buck

You call customer service or tech support, explain your problem, and they transfer you to another department. Okay, that happens. No big deal.

Until it happens again. And again. And again. And each time you have to wait on hold before being transferred again. And then you get disconnected… on accident?

This happened to me a few years back. I bought and received a Dell PC, and then called to see if I could buy a Windows CD that I had intended to buy with the computer. I called Customer Service. They transferred me to Sales, who transferred me to Technical Support, who transferred me back to customer service, who…well, let’s just say that, more than an hour later, someone finally hung up on me.

Far too often, customer service and technical support only make things worse. But with thorough training, a well-run help desk, and advanced tools, you can prevent most miscommunications and missed opportunities.

via The five most common tech support nightmares | PCWorld.