Conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh was having problems with his Mac. A program called Time Machine wasn’t restoring his emails properly and repeated calls to Apple Support were fruitless. Based on complaints in online forums, he wasn’t the only one either. So finally he complained about it on-air and that caught Apple’s attention enough to assign an engineer to go fix it (the guy had to delete the “null mail folder” and rebuild it in the internal directory with the terminal command). That’s the power of leveraging your voice . But you don’t need to have your own radio show, just deploy some of the technique that we described in “The Ultimate Consumerist Guide to Fighting Back” or in our interview with Ron Burley to get real customer satisfaction.
In his Circuits column this week, David Pogue shares some of the most absurd calls he listened to when he toured a tech support center.
I learned that when they say, “Your call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes,” that’s only partly true. They also record your calls so they can pass around recordings of the funniest ones.
HP customer service has a bad rep and it seems they finally got around to noticing it. Here’s a press release announcing the completion of what they call, “the most substantial investment in consumer technical support in its history.” Highlights:
Probably the number one complaint we get from readers about cable and phone service is how the guys never show up when they’re supposed to, or even they day they’re supposed to. As roving lone tech support cowboys, is it a case of the mice will play when the cat’s away? Look at how much more efficient field agent service techs got when managers did ridealongs in this McKinsey study. The company was able to recover 2.3 hours of lost productivity and increase jobs per day completed from 6.3 to 8.5. Inside, how the company recovered even more lost productivity by implementing a new dispatch system capable of on-they-fly scheduling…
Nick was able to actually get decent Verizon tech support. But to do it, he had to trick the phone system and select “install problems” instead of “tech support” when he called. He writes:
I live in northwest Pennsylvania, an area formerly held by telecom company GTE (GTE North to be specifically I believe?). This has been particularly troublesome to the folks at Verizon when I’d call for tech support. Over the past few years of getting DSL from Verizon when the need would arise to call tech support I would cringe. I *knew* they wouldn’t be able to find my account, it always happens.
A DirecTV CSR claimed that reader Mark changed his installation by following troubleshooting instructions to unplug and reconnect his box, and now owed $79.95. Mark, who paid $6 per month for DirecTV’s protection plan, refused to pay the fee and asked to cancel to his service.
We’re curious whether anyone has had to call Dell’s tech support line in the new year—and if so, did they try to upsell you on unnecessary add-ons, devices, accessories, service plans, etc.? Because we got an anonymous email the other day from someone who claims he works as a Dell tech support specialist, and he wrote that “starting after the first of the year… we are now going to be required to sell you items that you don’t need.”
A reader sent in this funny and bizarre customer support email from Creative—it’s a weird combination of broken English, pre-written paragraphs from macros (which, oddly, still have grammatical errors), Byzantine instructions for resetting and reformatting the broken device, and then five attempts to sell other products and services at the end.
This 60 minutes bit on the rise of “geek” tech support service companies confirms one thing: if you don’t know how to use electronic gadgets, maybe you shouldn’t be buying them. [60 Minutes]
Fog Creek Copilot is celebrating Father’s Day by giving away free Day Passes, allowing you to finally prove to your father that you are better than an Indian customer service representative. Copilot is a zero-configuration utility that lets you seize another person’s computer like a Mongol horde. Except instead of pillaging and burning, you install Firefox and remove spyware.
While connected as a helper, you see the desktop of the person you’re helping in its own window. As you move your mouse within this window, the other’s mouse pointer moves, and as you type, the text appears on both of your screens.
Don’t think tech support is a real gift? Were it not for our ability to resurrect our father’s beloved Albertus Medium font, he may have strangled himself out of frustration with the very ties we gifted in years past. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER
Ordering through Dell Small Business and you’ll never step into Dell Hell. They have vastly superior reps and techs than those devoted to the Home and Home Office lines.
AOL Made Reps Give Out One Piece Of Tech Support At A Time, Making Customers Call Back Again And Again, And Get Upsold Every Time
A former AOL tech support rep confesses one of the worst parts about his job. AOL had a policy called “One Call/One Resolution” which basically meant that they were only supposed to dole out ONE troubleshooting step when you called. Then they were supposed to pass you off to someone who tried to upsell you to DSL or some video computer courses. The result was that customers had to call in call in call in, just to get the most basic problem solved.
Recently we posted a Dell tech support chat in which the Dell rep cut the call short by blaming windows for a (probable) hardware issue, claiming a Windows Vista Upgrade was “third party software.” Oddly, it seems that Microsoft likes to pull the same trick on Dell owners.
AUDIO: Screaming Dell Customer Can't Figure Out How To Shutdown Laptop (Hint: Hold Down The Power Button…)
We can understand his rage. We’d be angry too if we were born so stupid we couldn’t figure out how to press and hold the power button.
Microsoft is sending ALL of its XP and Vista tech support calls to India starting March 29th, according to a call center insider. Previously, the call volume was split between a site in North America and locations in Deli and Bangalore.
Charter Communications refused to fix Matt’s internet connection. Even two technicians, dispatched by Charter, told Matt his ISP was to blame for his weak service. When Matt called customer service to complain, he was transferred immediately to the disconnect department. Matt had internet service, but, “The internet just dies. Every ten minutes or so, the internet would just die. And it’s very annoying.”
Listen to these calls and you’ll understand why Dell has a long way to go with their customer service: because people are stupid and don’t work a voice tree like they’re supposed to. It doesn’t help that once this customer finally gets a person, in hardware, he transfers her to a tech support line with a busy signal.