Paradigm Shift for Techs: Is text/support chat where it needs to be?
by Derek R. Iannelli-Smith, 24May10
I fall for it all the time. I think, great, I will jump on this chat support and I will obtain immediate support. Sometimes it works well, but I would also add, that it depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. As a Dell partner, the chat is a nice tease, but inevitably I get texted a phone number to call. I personally would prefer chats in that I can immediately log the correspondence and have the important info I need for accountability.
However, I see this option still a long way off from where it needs to be. Here are some chat pet peeves (with vendors like AT&T, Comcast, Dell, HP, Cisco, etc)
1. After I have entered everything in, why does the bloke who finally answers my chat ask for it all again. I just cut and paste now and give them time to read it.
2. Many of the respondents are scripting me. Even after I tell them I am a partner, that I am an IT Consultant, that I have been in the industry for 20yrs, they still want to take me through basic troubleshooting steps that I have already done. Last week with Dell, I had previously diagnosed that the wireless card in a laptop was broken, yet the tech wanted to take me through the same 1 1/2 hours of the same diagnosis that I did through remote desktop. I kept saying to him/her…. “yes, already did that… okay if you want to see the same result I got, okay….” Long story short that was a billable hour that I was unable to recoup.
3. Stop with the blame-shifting. I realize that you do not support my router, but could you please stop wasting my time by looking at my settings on my router when I have called you about your modem. My equipment was working fine until yours crapped out on me. Trust me on this, messing with my router settings is only going to tick me off and when it is finally isolated that it is your equipment, I cannot bill the client because you messed with their equipment. Frequently, AT&T changes modem configurations on my clients rendering the network dead rather than putting it back to the way it was when I called them. I understand you need to troubleshoot, but after you have determined it is not your equipment, put it back to the settings I had.
4. Don’t dump me in a general idiot pool. If I say I am a partner, technology company, etc, take me to the next level with someone who believes me when I tell them that I have already done it. I believe this is the biggest failing with partnerships with companies – dropping me in the general pool reminds me of this: http://www.illwillpress.com/tech.html (careful explicit lyrics… but accurate in that we are all thinking the same thing, this cartoon just says it out loud).
5. If the link says tech support, then it needs to be tech support, not post sales, or sales, or some other reason why you cannot help me.
6. Why don’t they communicate with each other. Frequently, I find the business tech support units do not have the same information. I am constantly telling AT&T, Comcast, and Dell my support case number, and the dude/dudette states, “I am sorry I do not have that case number in my files, please tell me the nature of your request…” If I had an easy button for every time this happened… KaPOW!
7. No follow up. Most of the chats are asking me through a survey bot how my experience was. How about if the original guy/lady I spoke to and his/her boss’s info were who followed up with me? If this accountability was included in the process it might teach the tech support person to be a better steward of their calls. For instance I am paid on successful completion of tickets, not on the creation of them. Should not tech support folks be held accountable the same way?
Long story short, I think tech chat support has a long way to go.
It is because of these horrendous experiences that when I provide chat support I have a CRM system that sends them a ticket immediately, outlining the issue, and if the chat becomes too cumbersome, I pick up the phone for my remotely administered clients and talk to them versus forcing them to type out everything. Their time is valuable too… why not show them you appreciate them by having a 30-60 minute diagnose time cut off and take it to the next level. Many companies (like the Dell situation I mention above), take me through that time and then send me a survey on how well they were doing… What do you think my response is going to be…
Got some thoughts on text/chat support?