Tech Support Woes

As both a provider of tech support and a consumer, I understand both ends of the conversation. I still tell the story of the customer who called and said, “My computer monitor just went black. Poof.”¬†

I asked, “On the power button over there to the right on the computer tower, there is a light. Is it on?”

“No,” they said.

“Could you press the power button?”

“Sure,”¬†they said. I heard a computer whirring to life in the background. There was an uncomfortable silence.

“I bet you were taking a disk out of the drive, weren’t you? The eject button is right above the power button,” I offered.

“Thanks, that got it.” was the reply. Click.

And then there’s this, from yesterday. We are working with tech support for an extension to the eCommerce platform, Magento. We got the following email, “It seems that we do not have access to your Magento admin any longer (link to the picture above). Please update the access data so our Tech Team could look into the details and assist you. (Link to the secure site for submission of the credentials.)”

CAPTCHA is the little utility that asks you to select all the cars from a checkerboard of nine pictures. Irritating, I know, but it prevents hundreds of bogus registrations. I’d guess that the Tech Team at this vendor can’t distinguish cars from traffic lights.

More to the point, we’ve observed that this particular vendor likes to gaslight us. With 35+ years of experience, I’ve probably got more years’ experience in IT than most of the Tech Team has drawn breath. But this brings up a bigger issue.

It’s a common thing in the tech world–or so it seems–to gaslight end users who aren’t technical (act like they are crazy or don’t know what they’re talking about when they report an issue). Don’t get me wrong, there are users who can’t change the battery in a wireless mouse. There are also times when the data provided isn’t adequate to solve the problem, or when the problem comes and goes without leaving definite traces or symptoms.

We teach our Tech Support employees to respect and understand our customers. I’ve learned a lot in 35 years by listening to our customers. Some days I thought their way was better; some days I thought my way was. We always worked out a solution by combining ideas.

That’s the way it should be: IT folks should help end users figure out how to use their technology better. That’s what we do at Data Guidance Group.

My two cents.