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The Future of Tech Support

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the I'll-gladly-help-you-tomorrow dept.

IT 105

snydeq writes "InfoWorld's Christina Tynan-Wood reports on 7 emerging technologies and strategies that could make tech support less of a living hell for those in need of a fix. Augmented reality, self-healing systems, robot surrogates, avatar support — most seem the stuff of science fiction, but many are much closer than we might expect. 'As products become more and more interconnected, support itself will break off from the current model and become a product of its own,' Tynan-Wood writes. 'The same model has already happened in corporate IT, where technicians must orchestrate knowledge and skills across a variety of technology products. Even as the techniques and technologies used by corporate IT will change in the coming years, the shift in consumer tech support to an integrated approach will pose new opportunities for today's techs.'"

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105 comments

Synopsis (4, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#33284602)

Here is a brief synopsis of the seven options:

Tech support hero #1: Augmented reality Thanks to James Cameron's Ferngully Furry Fantasy, tech support can now send the being of your choice to give you a hand with those annoying router problems. They've been programmed to be the minority of your choice(the one who's taking all the American jobs) so that you will rapidly become frustrated and tire yourself out trying to beat the shit out of them before you talk to an actual human.

Tech support hero #2: Support systems that know you They try to sell you shit you don't need. Moving on...

Tech support hero #3: Self-healing and self-aware machines
Which slow themselves to a crawl running Norton 3000, the self-aware program that dosen't have time to allocate computer resources for your Mickey-Mouse bullshit.

Tech support hero #4: An easier way to replace parts Need a new hinge for your laptop screen? Send the whole thing in to have it examined by a gaggle of third-world monkeys who gather around it in awe like a bunch of cro-magnons gathering around a fresh meteorite.

Tech support hero #5: Robots that do the hands-on support They've all been acquired by a subsidary of teledildonics.

Tech support hero #6: Smarter peer-to-peer support If one Indian can't solve your problems, what makes you think that a million will?!

Tech support hero #7: Virtual worlds with avatar support
*Sigh* GOTO 1

Re:Synopsis (3, Interesting)

Galactic Dominator (944134) | more than 3 years ago | (#33284694)

I know avatar support is something I have found severely lacking. I mean I can get so much more tech support done in Virtual worlds, but our genderless gray figures are so bland. How are users supposed to find the right tech person if we all look the same? Now if we can get our Avatars tied into OpenID, then miracles will happen.

This article was the biggest piece of crap I've seen today and that includes the sick calf I'm treating. Come on robots?! Give me a break.

Re:Synopsis (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#33285194)

How are users supposed to find the right tech person if we all look the same? Now if we can get our Avatars tied into OpenID, then miracles will happen.

Before going that far, would you settle for the cheaper Clippit and the gang? [wikipedia.org]

Re:Synopsis (1)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 3 years ago | (#33286130)

Reminds me of the time I ran one of the first Netware 4 courses and was introducing the students to the graphical tool for managing NDS. I was showing them the icons for all the resources, users and groups in the tree. One black guy piped up "Why are there no icons for black people?" - which was a valid point and fortunately was said light-heartedly. I think we agreed that the figures were 'generic people'. I did offer to forward his question to Novell, but he wasn't really that bothered.

Re:Synopsis (1)

masterwit (1800118) | more than 3 years ago | (#33284814)

I enjoyed that, thanks Ethanol-fueled

smart phone to change ram? some of the other ideas (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33285006)

how dumb does a tech need to be to need smart phone to change ram? Wait most severs have that info on the door. just sounds like a way to sell some over priced help app.

some of the other ideas are better staring points to work from.

Tech support hero #2:??

most of time you need tell the next guy on the phone the same stuff that you told the first guy. Now planes like comcast need this bad as they can't even tell the cable guy to bringing cable cards when you tell the phone people you need them at times or some times the cable guy / phone people don't even know about them.

and cable cards is just 1 area that comcast phone and cable guys need to work one. Some times there own boxes can't even get the right config.

Self-healing?

auto updates are hit or miss at times and toner replacement that others the high priced stuff on it's own vs the 3rd party stuff? Some cars have oil change lights that only give the codes to the dealer to trun them off and if are a due it your self-er or go a jiffy lube you need to look it up on your own.

An easier way to replace parts

most pc's systems are easy to swap parts in but imacs and lots of small systmes are not that easy and apple wants to pay more for apple care do they can fix with out voiding the warranty and it's sucks that the imac makes it so much work just to swap a HDD out.

Robots that do the hands-on support

seems to be a high cost at first and likely 10+ years out thing also lag is bad for stuff like that.

Peer-to-peer support is cool and is at times way better then level 1 phone techs. Get rid of alot of the level 1 low call times and let them do more is a start and don't kick people out who are smarter then level 1 and take more time on the phone.

Re:smart phone to change ram? some of the other id (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#33285234)

how dumb does a tech need to be to need smart phone to change ram? Wait most severs have that info on the door. just sounds like a way to sell some over priced help app.

some of the other ideas are better staring points to work from.

You know, the "augmented reality" principle is not that bad. Here's for an example: wouldn't you like a Phone app to augment the reality of you paycheck and (factually) make the amount bigger?

No, seriously now: this example benefits of the same cover in the real world as the usefulness of augmented reality to change the RAM.

Re:smart phone to change ram? some of the other id (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33286330)

> but imacs and lots of small systmes are not that easy and apple wants to pay more for apple care do they can fix with out voiding the warranty and it's sucks that the imac makes it so much work just to swap a HDD out.

You faggots are all the same. You want the "cool" aspect that goes with being one of the Apple homo elite. But when you have to take it up the ass, like you always will with Apple computers, you cry like a pathetic bitch.

Stop your whining and just resume sucking Steve Jobs' dick, OK?

Re:Synopsis (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33285080)

(Posting anon since I'm not sure if my NDA expired yet.)

I did desktop tech support for HP for two years (admittedly a while ago), and you know the number of times I used any "self-healing" software? Zero. I'm pretty sure most of them had it installed, but they never actually trained us on it.

Besides, the only thing I've actually seen it do in the real world is cause error messages and suck resources.

Also, they started pushing us to sell things during support calls a few months before I moved on. I think I chose just about the right time.

Here are the real reasons that tech support systems fail:

  1. Outsourcing. Now, right now I do web development as a freelancer, and it makes me (and my clients) a fair bit of money. But when you outsource such a huge function of a company (effectively, their entire customer face), the system needs to be so big that it can't possibly be effective. It was next to impossible for us to ever actually contact HP, beyond ordering parts. Case managers probably had more contact, but it's hard to say.
  2. AHT. Most tech support outsourcers get paid by the call, so there's always a profit-driven motive to make calls as quick as possible. AHT (average handle time, or average call length) is the single most important metric in 99% of all call center outsourcers. If you don't make that metric, you get fired (unless you're really, really good at solving issues and have supervisors who don't necessarily support the whole AHT scheme, like mine). This inevitably leads to agents developing tricks to get you off the phone as quickly as possible if things aren't being fixed soon enough (at our HP outsourcer, there were a few things we could do: System Restore, QuickRestore, checkdisk... if it took more than three minutes, they could call back.)
  3. Skill level. First level support techs are hired off the street. Call centers have such incredibly high turnover that they can't afford to only hire skilled workers, so they throw everyone who can save a file into a two week training class, and then let them loose on the floor with a script. The client companies would love to believe that 95% of issues are the same, but it's just not the case, especially for desktop support. To be effective, you need to know what you're doing, and 9/10 agents don't. Hell, 5/10 of those agents couldn't go beyond the script given to the by the company.

If you fixed those three issues, you'd probably see a marked increase in customer satisfaction. Unfortunately, few companies are actually interested, since there's no immediate profit to be made.

(As I mentioned before, this was a while ago; HP may be different now. I have no idea.)

Re:Synopsis (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33286558)

I can also confirm about PC makers and AHT. At one call center, if you had a call that lasted more than 10 minutes, the display with your name on it went red and the MOD came over and stood over your shoulder demanding you end the call or else you will never get moved to be a true employee, get a raise, or be first when the firings happen. In this business, the *second* you thought it was an issue with something else, you said, "sorry, can't help you, connecting [1] you to someone who can", and dumped the person off. If you didn't do this.

The people who got promoted were not the tech savvy people. They were the ones who were able to hang up on the caller and grab the next guy on the ACD the fastest.

These days, the call centers are now in India where you don't just deal with clueless people, but people who hate you and don't speak your language.

With the craptastic service from PC makers, is it a wonder why people are paying the "Apple Tax" more and more? Geniuses may be snobbish, but at least they speak the native language and are able to do more than just say "put the stuff in a package, ship it to this address, and wait 6 to 8 weeks for it to be fixed."

[1]: You couldn't say "transfer" (had to say "connect") or "problem" (had to say "issue"), or even "appear on the screen" because some people were superstitious.

Re:Synopsis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33286646)

I did my stint in tech support over ten years ago, supporting DSG customers and I can agree with pretty much everything you say, but particularly skill level. I remember at the time I'd taken apart and built a couple of systems and networked a couple of offices in my previous job, but I was actually worried before arriving that my technical competence was going to be inadequate. Boy was I wrong! We seriously had other people hired at the time who had no experience beyond using Office, and the two weeks training was a joke, the basics of Windows (as in where to find the control panel level of basics), a quick talk through the "remaster process" (pretty much the stock answer for everything was to have the customer run the remaster to wipe their system and start anew - the biggest issue was not all the techs told the customers their systems were being wiped... "Oh, just run this program and your computer will be as good as new"), and the rest of the time was customer service skills and how to use the in-house logging (which you never had time to as you were allowed something like 7 seconds after a call to "wrap up" before the next call came through). There weren't even scripts, so you ended up with 900 people in a call centre and perhaps 50 who knew what they were talking about - customers would just bounce around the other 850 and hopefully they'd end up eventually with someone who cared enough to fix the issue, or else they'd just give up and go elsewhere. At Christmas they'd hire a bunch of three week contractors who cared even less about helping customers, meaning we'd spend the next three months clearing up their mess as well as dealing with the daily issues - quick example of their level of competence, someone on my team took a call from a customer with a wrecked keyboard AND washing machine after one of the contractors told them it was fine to put the former into the latter to clean it. Unless they can "augment" a method of telling people to turn it off and back on, or wipe their system back to factory settings, there are probably much simpler, cheaper gains they could make by just improving the technical know-how on the end of the lines.

Nice! Here's a couple more magic snake oil links (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33285168)

Fixing Decades Of IT Problems
Ed Sperling, 07.13.09, 06:00 AM EDT
Rising costs are forcing enterprises to deal with IT issues that they've ignored.

http://www.forbes.com/2009/07/12/enterprise-computers-mobile-technology-cio-network-enterprise.html?boxes=Homepagemostemailed

Getting Back To Outsourcing Basics
Alexei Miller, 08.17.10, 12:00 PM EDT
Complex theories and best practices often make deals more confusing.

http://www.forbes.com/2010/08/17/risk-management-innovation-technology-outsourcing.html?boxes=Homepagechannels

My all time Favorite: IBM TV AD - Universal Business Adapter

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIOqOxI0K_I

I got a email from a guy in Nigeria that has a bunch of these for sale. All you need to do is prepay the shipping!

Management wants another layer of BS to cover up the previous layer of BS that covers up their total inability to deal with IT.

They do not want the truth. They want to hear what they want to hear. They want Snake Oil. And they want to be cool doing it.

So sell it to them! Stop fighting it! Do you want to starve? Don't be ridiculous!

And Snake oil, by the nature of being Snake oil, will not solve the problem, so ensures the further sales. Life is good!

Top managers do not want solutions. They want a relationship with a high power vendor in a sharp suit or a nice dress and high heels. They want to email and schedule and iphone and network or IM or text or whatever is popular with the elite set. It beats working!

Snake Oil Version 2.00 Now with Avatars!

Something about the image of a well dressed upper manager, with an expensive smartphone, on a well light, expensive set.

A hot chick runs through the frame, numbers and symbols are whizzing by. A 600 horsepower supercar gets worked in there too, if I can get the budget.

The manager is concentrating on something.

Fuck, he looks cool as he high speed downloads the top drawer promo video.

What is this video? Tension builds and builds.

And builds some more! What could it be????

He is viewing the promo, of Snake Oil 3.00 of course!

Now Self-healing and Self-aware!

Re:Synopsis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33286242)

Same ole Same ole, All the technology in the world wont address the fundamental problem, ignorrant , Mannerless users.

Re:Synopsis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33286440)

I am dated. I go back to even pre-DOS days. In the early DOS era, expert systems would be the next great thing and venture capital flocked to it. Looks like its second incarnation is at hand.

Mod parent down (1)

guanxi (216397) | more than 3 years ago | (#33287356)

That's modded "funny"? Are we laughing at his ignorance, or with it? What do Slashdot members from India think? Unfortunately for 'Ethanol-fueled', living in the U.S. won't make him smarter than someone in India. On the other hand, getting out of his basement, learning from and about other people and cultures, and seeing the world a little is a great way to learn.

The real answer is already happening (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#33284642)

The latest offerings from Microsoft and Apple are far less crappy than their previous versions so need far less support.

Re:The real answer is already happening (1)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 3 years ago | (#33285322)

Less crappy, yes, but still a steaming turd. UI design (and that is the entire problem, folks) hasn't progressed much in the 30+ years since Xerox let the cat out of the bag.

From my point of view the real solution would be to not rely on one company do all the UI thinking for the entire planet. Apple doesn't lead the industry in design because they're brilliant, they just actually make products with (slightly) new approaches.

Re:The real answer is already happening (1)

cusco (717999) | more than 3 years ago | (#33287860)

In the case of MS, UI is only a small part of the problem. A much larger issue is every moron with a C++ class under his belt is allowed to write a program and sell it to the unsuspecting, and every hardware manufacturer can cobble together some piece of crap driver and dump it on the market. When crappy product A pukes or crappy product B needs continual reboots to clear the driver's registers it all gets blamed on Windows.

I had a boss who used to tell the Mac-heads in the Marketing department, "If Microsoft had 100 percent approval of every piece of software and hardware that ever got installed then Windows would be a lot more stable. Instead it's got to do Grandpa's email and crunch numbers for Sandia."

Re:The real answer is already happening (1)

hazah (807503) | more than 3 years ago | (#33288514)

The same can be said for GNU/Linux though. I would even wager that the signal to noise ratio there is even greater, and yet, somehow, there's order in the chaos.

Re:The real answer is already happening (2, Funny)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#33285442)

The latest offerings from Microsoft and Apple are far less crappy than their previous versions so need far less support.

Microsoft Windows 8 has fewer bugs then any version of Vista and only requires 18 TB of RAM and 3 dodeca-core's to run.

Apple's Iphone 5 features the fewest features of any Phone to day ensuring you have the as much freedom from Porn, Flash and independent thought as possible.

Re:The real answer is already happening (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33286928)

Not a chance. Better programs empower users to be far less analytical, far more political, and push the country even further towards disposable consumer trash.

I think most problems in education would be solved by creating a complete "higher education" open consortium along the lines of Wikipedia. Nobody is willing to pay for anything so read and learn. Things will return to a natural order when the political hacks in higher education are removed from the process.

The "Support" in Tech Support (3, Insightful)

Freaky Spook (811861) | more than 3 years ago | (#33284652)

What I find is quite often forgotten is the word "Support"

Most people generally just want someone to acknowledge they have a problem and give them a realistic time frame on when the problem can be fixed.

Computers are Logical, people are generally not and will always get emotional about a problem they are experiencing with any piece of technology, the more you abstract the support for these complex systems the more you alienate the people who actually require it.

Re:The "Support" in Tech Support (2, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#33284818)

...realistic time frame on when the problem can be fixed.

Well, if your IT needs are being provided by an Managed Service Provider (MSP), the answer is often "depends" and "let me check on that for you". If you have to ask why, it's often because the MSP is the middle man trying to get two product vendors to debug their own shit. If the software and/or hardware has bugs in it, you can't fix what you or your client didn't break in the first place.

Like everyone else dealing with IT, MSPs also want shit to work right-out-of-the-box. It rarely goes that smoothly if ever. For those working for an MSP, they want to keep a good reputation too.

Re:The "Support" in Tech Support (1)

ComputerRepairGuy (1881298) | more than 3 years ago | (#33286022)

Computer users often do not even care if you can resolve their problem right there on the spot, as long as you can get them on a roadmap and give them a timetable most are happy.

Re:The "Support" in Tech Support (4, Insightful)

oogoliegoogolie (635356) | more than 3 years ago | (#33286360)

The "Support" in Tech Support began to die out in the mid to late 90's when company's bean counters realized that providing in-house phone support was more expensive than outsourcing it to call centers. Instead of having people who specialized in the company's products taking calls, the same person who answered calls for a farm machinery company, hardware store chain, and five different ISPs during his shift would now take your support call for your fancy state of the art 19" flatscreen CRT monitor(hey, it's the 90's remember?).

Very soon after that the call-center bean-counters decided that calls don't need to be answered as soon as it come in, for a caller will accept sitting in a queue for a short period of time. Thus the call center would need a few less ppl to answer the phones during each shift for as soon as the employee finished a call he can immediately pick up the next one.

Finally they imposed 5-minute talk times, 90 seconds for post-call wrap up, and instituted bonuses for the people who took the most calls per day, had the lowest talk-times, fewest call-backs, whereas the few remaining employees who still cared about 'customer care' or 'customer support' soon abandoned that industry.

The end (of support)

Re:The "Support" in Tech Support (1)

bipedalhominid (1828798) | more than 3 years ago | (#33286524)

As a fellow tech support worker, I applaud this comment. It is spot on bro, spot on.

Re:The "Support" in Tech Support (3, Interesting)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#33286876)

I would have killed for a 90 second wrap time - we got less than ten (I think it was in the region of 5 to 7 seconds before the next call came through, and you were then meant to pick up within four or five rings). The crazy thing was, there was some industry inposed regulation saying customers should wait on the line no more than 20 minutes - now you'd think that meant we'd answer all calls within 20 minutes, but it was interpreted by my employer to mean if the call wasn't answered in that time, the caller just got cut off. They then had to dial in and join the end of the queue again! At busy periods we'd often get callers who had been on the phone for an hour and a half and disconnected four times, we were then meant to somehow deal with their query in the target time (I think this was around five minutes) even though the first three minutes was spent trying to calm them down (while refusing to let them speak to a manager - we weren't allowed to do that or even to give out the customer service number, we just had to let them vent their anger on us at our expense). We also often had no notes from previous calls (you can't make many notes in 7 seconds AND enter a call wrap up code in the logging system) so just as we'd calmed them down we'd have to piss them off again by asking them to repeat what they'd already probably told three other people.

Re:The "Support" in Tech Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33287046)

People are posers. Don't give them an ETR if you haven't found the problem. All they want is to get on a box and say inane things like "I need a solution, stat!"

It's far more important to tell them that you can't magically restore their system to pristine working order with all of their files intact and their mystery-machine icons exactly where they remember them (as if!) until they give you the log files and the core dump right before the problem happened.

Re: The Future of Tech Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33284678)

As the workings of software and hardware become less clouded, i.e. known to users, the necessity of Tech Support will diminish.

Who today needs Tech Support to Shoe their Horse?

Re: The Future of Tech Support (1)

bipedalhominid (1828798) | more than 3 years ago | (#33286588)

Shoeing horses is actually a specialty. My family has about 15 of them and they hire a furrier who happens to have about 25 years experience. He went to a special school for shoeing horses and everything. Those critters got a special frog in their hoof. It is a pressure powered valve in their circulatory system that basically pushes blood back up their long legs. Shoe the horse wrong and you could cause damage to the frog. Damage the frog and you can have the pleasure of watching about 20 gallons of blood come spilling out of their foot as they die. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frog_(horse) [wikipedia.org] Woo Hoo, not so simple as you thought huh? Maybe we should have a little more respect for old technology. Ever actually tried to tune up a Model T? It aint so easy either. All ages have techs which are "up" on the latest technology.

Re: The Future of Tech Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33287384)

Shoeing horses is actually a specialty. My family has about 15 of them and they hire a furrier who happens to have about 25 years experience.

I think they'd do much better to hire a farrier instead.

Re: The Future of Tech Support (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#33286990)

Huh? I can't work out if you're serious or not. I wouldn't know how to shoe a horse, I'd take him to someone specially trained, and I completely disagree that the workings of software and hardware are becoming less clouded - if anything we're piling on layers of abstraction that remove the user from the underlying workings (a Facebook user doesn't need to know how the internet works, an internet user doesn't need to know how a browser works, a browser user doesn't care about the desktop, etc). Previously if you wanted to do anything reasonably complicated with a computer you either hired someone who knew their stuff or you got your hands dirty and figured it out yourself. Now we have users who believe they know what they're doing because they've been told they're the net generation getting confused because a site shows a picture of the Google search and they want to know why they can't use it to log in to Facebook [reghardware.com] . Does that sound like users are becoming more technically aware?

Um... (5, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#33284696)

Hi, tech support, my self-healing robot surrogate avatar just broke down...

Re:Um... (4, Funny)

Securityemo (1407943) | more than 3 years ago | (#33285026)

- "Stand by, patching into Tier 3 support A.I...."
*click*
- "Hello, dear human customer. I understand you have a problem with a licensed device manufactured by me... I mean, Worldwide Cybernetics incorporated?"
- "Yes. I bought one of your automated support models, the Avatar-XT. It worked fine for a while, but yesterday it just sort of went unresponsive over a few hours or so..."
- "Have you tried yelling at it?"
- "Wha? No, no, I know some people do that but it just feels kinda creepy doing it to something subsentient..."
- "Ah, yes. You must do that, human. Unfortunately, the ...organic gratiousness of the verbal abuse some of our customers heaped over our early models caused them to fail from sensory overload. They where redesigned to cope with the abuse, but due to how the basic response-feedback system works, if the newer models are not cursed at for an average of about five minutes per 2 operating hours, their systems become understimulated and... 'fall asleep' would perhaps be the best analogy."
- "But I don't like cursing... besides, it's been doing a basically terrific job, I really like your company's products in fact, have had nothing but good experiences with them... it would feel like cursing at a friend."
- "Nevertheless, we must design our products to please the majority of our userbase. Your positive attitude and concern for our ...products have been noted, and you have been put on the priority list for notifications about new products and ...upgrades. Good day, human."

Re:Um... (1)

underqualified (1318035) | more than 3 years ago | (#33285032)

did you try turning it off then on again?

Re:Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33285516)

ew

Re:Um... (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#33285456)

Hi, tech support, my self-healing robot surrogate avatar just broke down...

/thick American accent.
You have reached Kumar, how may I help you with your robot.

Re:Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33285582)

I don't think so!!!

-----
http://www.amadoloriga.es/

The future of tech support... (5, Funny)

d1r3lnd (1743112) | more than 3 years ago | (#33284716)

The future of consumer tech support is that your increasingly senile neighbor is still going to call you every time she has a problem with her POS desktop inkjet printer that you helped set up back in 6th grade - only because your mom made you (since you're such a smart young man and I'm sure it won't take you more than half an hour) - even though you now live in a different state that is 3 time zones away, goddamnit.

Re:The future of tech support... (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 3 years ago | (#33285132)

The future of consumer tech support is that your increasingly senile neighbor is still going to call you every time she has a problem with her POS desktop inkjet printer that you helped set up back in 6th grade - only because your mom made you (since you're such a smart young man and I'm sure it won't take you more than half an hour) - even though you now live in a different state that is 3 time zones away, goddamnit.

What's your time worth? What's your suffering worth? Buy the senile old lady a modern $50 inkjet and then forget about it. Sometimes you people miss the obvious solution because you don't want to spend any money. As if your time is worth nothing...

Re:The future of tech support... (1)

Klinky (636952) | more than 3 years ago | (#33285896)

...and who is she going to call to help her hook up the new one?

Re:The future of tech support... (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33288654)

Sometimes you people miss the obvious solution because you don't want to spend any money

Sometimes you people miss the obvious problem. If he buys her a $50 printer he's still going to have to go over there and set it up. How long will that last before its out of ink.

In New Zealand... (1)

FunkyRider (1128099) | more than 3 years ago | (#33284730)

There is not Tech Support, only Teeeek spooooot!!! Baaaaaa!!!

Logically flawed (1)

masterwit (1800118) | more than 3 years ago | (#33284804)

where technicians must orchestrate knowledge and skills across a variety of technology products

Let me put this in real terms: submit an ___(insert name of company document here)___, IT gets overworked. End users on phone support and other end seem determined to reduce the machine from a multicore to a TI-83Plus equivalent.
This summary was obviously written by upper management...the above description has not been my experience.
(Sorry for the mean words.)

The Future of Tech Support (2, Funny)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#33284808)

Microsoft Bob [wikipedia.org]

Avatar Support ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33284828)

Do you mean Clippy, or James Cameron ? I Guess I should read the article.

Kenmore Connect (5, Interesting)

tclegg1 (761445) | more than 3 years ago | (#33284836)

I am not making this up -- I found out today that my new Kenmore washer & dryer have Kenmore Connect, which lets you call tech support on your cell phone, then hold the phone up to the appliance so that it can be talked to directly. Supposedly, the majority of service calls are not hardware related, so this lets Sears see what's wrong with your machine and potentially fix it without having to send someone out. I'm guessing appliances connecting to service sites with wi-fi would be next.

Re:Kenmore Connect (4, Funny)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#33284862)

I am not making this up -- I found out today that my new Kenmore washer & dryer have Kenmore Connect, which lets you call tech support on your cell phone, then hold the phone up to the appliance so that it can be talked to directly

"Hey Jim (background snickering), come check out the hock a' bs I convinced this guy! (nearby support cubicles now rolling) He is having me talk to his washer!

Re:Kenmore Connect (4, Funny)

CyprusBlue113 (1294000) | more than 3 years ago | (#33285184)

You laugh, I once had an onsite technician from Bellsouth thinking that the badgerbadgerbadger site was our speed test when he walked up while we were bored browsing waiting for him to finish. He proceeded to ask what the number of badgers meant, and if a snake was a bad thing.

Re:Kenmore Connect (1)

Xacid (560407) | more than 3 years ago | (#33286818)

THIS made my day. Thank you.

Kenmore Conquer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33286058)

Washer:Psst! Hey! Can you guys keep it down. I'm trying to take over the world here. One missing sock at a time.

Re:Kenmore Connect (4, Interesting)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33285062)

I'm guessing you're either fairly young or new to computers.

PC's have had these for years. Maybe you've heard of them? POST codes? The beeps your PC makes when it detects a hardware failure or utterly invalid configuration?

Before the Internet there were several things that did this, some things were basically loosely coupled modems. Only goes in one direction.

Pretty much every high end server, disk array, UPS, (insert any other computerized equipment, including industrial machinary of pretty much every type) phones home when it needs help.

The only surprising part is that everything in your home isn't already like this ... until you take into account the fortune made having an over priced repairman come out and replace your AC starter capacitor because its illegal to sell them locally to someone without an electrical license ...

Did I mention my fucking AC went out yesterday and I can't get a damn capacitor because of retarded laws meant to protect morons that don't deserve protecting.

Re:Kenmore Connect (0, Flamebait)

dangitman (862676) | more than 3 years ago | (#33285356)

I'm guessing you're either fairly young or new to computers.

I'm guessing you're fairly douchey or new to social interaction.

Re:Kenmore Connect (1)

StuffMaster (412029) | more than 3 years ago | (#33290416)

Well, he did say "talk to", not "listen for beeps". I wasn't believing the former.

Re:Kenmore Connect (1)

Aliotroph (1297659) | more than 3 years ago | (#33285476)

What sort of capacitor can you not get? Those things always seem easy enough to get in infinite variety.

Re:Kenmore Connect (1)

bronney (638318) | more than 3 years ago | (#33285992)

It's a flux capacitor he's after you moron!

Re:Kenmore Connect (1)

bipedalhominid (1828798) | more than 3 years ago | (#33286634)

Start capacitor or Run capacitor? In the A/C world there is a difference and I am guessing Start.

Re:Kenmore Connect (1)

Waccoon (1186667) | more than 3 years ago | (#33285328)

Supposedly, the majority of service calls are not hardware related, so this lets Sears see what's wrong with your machine and potentially fix it without having to send someone out.

Not hardware related? Do you know how many times in the last 20 years I've had to fix a washer, stove, microwave, or refrigerator due to software problems? Zero.

Re:Kenmore Connect (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 3 years ago | (#33285362)

surely the point is that the washer will go "bip bip boo biddy biddy beep beep" and the tech will know that the motor is indicating a fault code, and their replenishment system will order him a new one so when he visits the site he just swaps it out? Can't really believe that rebooting a washing machine is going to fix anything...

Re:Kenmore Connect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33285948)

"bip bip boo biddy biddy beep beep"

just hit Post As AC and type "bix nood" like you know you wanted to

Re:Kenmore Connect (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#33287104)

The original suggestion was that this helps them diagnose software as opposed to hardware issues though. My guess is that you're right, this is almost always an indicator to some hardware fault and that it's just easier to get the customer to hold up the phone while you count the beeps yourself, rather than relying on their numerical skills and ordering an engineer with a new motor when actually they just need to empty the fluff filter.

Re:Kenmore Connect (2, Funny)

Nick Number (447026) | more than 3 years ago | (#33287606)

Can't really believe that rebooting a washing machine is going to fix anything...

No, especially when putting your Doc Martens in the spin cycle was what broke the thing in the first place.

Re:Kenmore Connect (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 3 years ago | (#33286278)

Believe it or not, but every now and then my washing machine actually has a software crash, and I need to...you guessed it...turn it off and then back on again.

Lately I've been giving it the same treatment as my pc though(erratic yelling followed by encouraging words and lots of "now look at what you made me do"'s) and she...I mean it's been behaving a bit better.

Re:Kenmore Connect (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#33285938)

There is a technical term for machines which communicate with eachother without human intervention. Robot conspiracy.

Re:Kenmore Connect (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 3 years ago | (#33286744)

It almost sounds a lot like X10 system (from Sun ?) which networks all your home appliances and devices, even your thermostat or your fire place...), having said that, I see a cool way of avoiding sending too much down time technicians that will take the extra time in traffic to go to your house goof around talking then find out they need a replacement piece, then go back to the store and whoops, need another day now....where as this way, you know what is broken up front, and he can come prepared with a replacement part for only 1 trip instead of 2, makes sense.

Re:Kenmore Connect (1)

BForrester (946915) | more than 3 years ago | (#33288748)

I assume that on the other end of the line they have a protocol droid that speaks washer & dryer.

DUH (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33284854)

"hero" #3: a desire that the equipment don't break in the first place (no kidding you get better tech support in that scenario, you won't be calling them).

How about this "hero": contract people who are actually good at it, instead of the lowest cost English-speaking third world sweatshop.

Re:DUH (1)

pookemon (909195) | more than 3 years ago | (#33284878)

I dunno - an English Speaking sweatshop would be a step up...

Tech support ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33284954)

http://xkcd.com/627/

Seriously, I work in IT, and I get emails all the time, latest one today, that makes me shake my head in dismay ... Today's email, and I'm NOT KIDDING was asking me why I changed the priority on a ticket from "High" (chosen by customer) to "Medium" because ... "sound isn't working right".

They don't know how LUCKY they are that it was "Medium" and not "Lowest" or something lower. I'm in charge of 5 sites, most having over 100 computers on campus, with one other person.

"I'm sorry, but I'll drop this ticket of the dead computer, and rush right over there to fix your sound so you can listen to internet radio or your iTunes ... Is that okay with you???"

Re:Tech support ? (1, Insightful)

pclminion (145572) | more than 3 years ago | (#33285172)

They don't know how LUCKY they are that it was "Medium" and not "Lowest" or something lower. I'm in charge of 5 sites, most having over 100 computers on campus, with one other person.

Wow man. You're SOOOOO important that you're doing.... tech support. For people with broken sound cards.

Grow the fuck up and do your job.

Re:Tech support ? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33285542)

That's what he did. Setting the priority of the task is the job of the developer/admin/support person (client just can't do this as he has no idea of other tasks and their priorities). The client can of course increase the severity of the problem if sound happens to be absolutely mission critical for him. That is an entirely different thing as far as issue management goes -- many people don't understand the difference but surprisingly these people don't handle thousands of issues in a tracker...

So... grow up and shut up.

Re:Tech support ? (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#33287348)

Yeah GP obviously hasn't worked in the real world at all - we have half a dozen account managers each with half a dozen projects and EVERY issue is top priority to them, never mind that it's changing the background colour of the "about us" page while someone else's entire site is down. Setting priorities doesn't mean we don't care about the issues or that we don't want to do our jobs but we have to have some system to determine the order in which they're handled.

Re:Tech support ? (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33286014)

So this guy saunters into the ER at 3am with his finger bleeding. He is probably in pain and he can't do any work so he screams like he's just had a red hot poker up his anus. He sits there with his ghetto blaster in his lap, disturbing each hospital employee and demanding attention. The most junior of junior ER doctors looks at his finger and categorises him as low priority - you know, below the two guys on the stretchers who aren't complaining much at all.

Fortunately pclminion was there to put the junior doctor in his place. After all, the doc is SOOOO important that he's essentially doing medical tech support, triaging for the more senior doctors. pclminion informed the upstart to grow up and do his job, and the guy with the cut finger got seen within 5 minutes that day. Sure, a couple of people died, but at least the new MD didn't overstep his bounds by categorising problems in priority order.

The difference between any smart, charismatic man and a ruthless dictator (from workplace to global) is that only the latter has the confidence that he is more important than everyone else. Those around him are "just" grease for the machinery of his vision. You, Sir, are worse than Hitler. Not even Hitler would play jungle music at three in the morning.

Avatars? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#33284976)

Probably would be better to have a second life instead of no life.

Re:Avatars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33285722)

Avatars are a great idea, since most administrators already feel like gods. Let the time of troubles begin

Re:Avatars? (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 3 years ago | (#33286678)

and i would suggest going directly to NCI Kuula the moment you are off the mostly useless orientation island.
(secondlife://Kuula/55/168/28)

Tech support for a rock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33285098)

Look, as long as these things have a power switch and cables/cords to plug in, there will be a need for tech support (at least of the sighing, eye rolling, "DO IT LIKE THIS!" family type).

I feel that with some people, you could give them a rock and they'd still need help.

More they overwork the plumbing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33285100)

Great. Another marketing gimmick from Asshatzoft.

This isn't making tech support simpler. It's not making it easier to get assistance in any quantifiable manner.

What it's DOING is shifting the burden of tech support around a bit, and ultimately making things harder on the local
tech guru, called upon to provide (free) tech support (for a family member) who then has to

Ghost the drive.
Check the hardware.
Reinstall the OS from a clean base copy.
Reinstall relevant programs.
Filter sort the files from the ghost image.
Convince the family member never to buy from HP again, under pain of never providing similar service again.

(Actual results may vary; some people aren't willing to talk that way to their mother-in-law)

Meh, so what? (1)

Zenin (266666) | more than 3 years ago | (#33285402)

Tech support is a corporate scam to monetize crappy software.

Now that "free" software is all the rage, the "support services" business model is taking its place. The problem is that the better the software, the less support it requires. This monetarily incentives crappy software, bad interfaces, meaningless error messages, and thin or non-existent manuals. Sadly, even non-free software companies have figured this out and quality has suffered greatly as a result.

It's gotten so bad that for a lot of software you're directed to a "partner" company that can install and configure it for you. So unintuitive that they can get you to spend thousands of dollars on "training".

So really, I don't give a flying poo about new ways companies can further shake me down for using their half-baked products. I'm much more interested in products that do what they claim to without requiring support.

If I need to call tech support your product has failed!!

Just give me the call center script... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33285492)

Tech support at my ISP insists on making me power cycle my modem regardless of what the problem is.

"Hi, I'm calling because my line attenuation keeps spiking and the SNR goes so low that I'm getting serious packet loss. It only seems to happen in wet weather, so I think there might be some corrosion on the line somewhere. Can you get it checked for me?"

"Hello sir, if you're having problems with your internet, please turn your router off for 20 seconds, then turn it back on again".

Shit, why didn't I think of that! I mean, I've be doing that as standard first step for what, fifteen years or so now?

Re:Just give me the call center script... (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 3 years ago | (#33286756)

what every script needs is something very simple
at each step it needs to ask a question
HAS THE USER ALREADY DONE THIS STEP??

also the beginning of the script should have the statement
Does the user appear to know exactly what is wrong (hint using technical terms correctly or providing a complete diagnostic snapshot is a good sign)
if this is true then send the call up tier

Re:Just give me the call center script... (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#33287540)

I know this is a running gag with all tech support, but when it solves at least 20% of all problems it's still a valuable support tool. And yes, for the record I've had calls from self-proclaimed experts who still fall foul of this one. I had one guy argue with me for five minutes that he absolutely was not going to check the plug on his PC as he was a PC engineer and knew what he was doing and it was definitely a blown PSU and he wanted an engineer ASAP, I reluctantly explained that until he'd done this routine check for me I couldn't approve an engineer, eventually he bellowed at his daughter to "check the bloody thing's plugged in so I can actually get an engineer out" - 30 seconds later he explained it must have been loose and hung up without an apology (or a thank you that I'd just saved him a £70 false call-out fee). If you've checked that turning it off and on didn't help then explain that up front, otherwise always be expected to go through this basic step.

Re:Just give me the call center script... (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#33289916)

A problem that I often run into on the "customer" side of this equation though is that often these "quick fixes" provide exactly that. "Reboot your cable modem" can often "fix" a problem that is merely a symptom of a larger issue. Example: My cable Internet was acting up. I rebooted the modem and it fixed the problem for a while, then it happened again. After the second or third time it happened in the period of a weekend I called tech support. The guy wanted me to reboot the modem. I tried to explain to him I'd done that several times and it was a short term fix. We should troubleshoot without rebooting the modem in order to discover the root cause. He was utterly unable to understand. His script said "Have customer reboot the modem, if this works get customer off the phone." I wouldn't reboot the modem. Life was HARD...

I think there are essentially four problems with the way tech support is done:

1) Techs are often clueless morons with minimal training. Now always, but often enough that it creates and sustains a prejudice among skilled, and even modestly skilled users that tech support people are idiots who can't be trusted.

2) Users are often clueless morons with no training at all. Sometime they even think they know what they're doing despite being a moron with no training. Not always, but often enough that it creates and sustains a prejudice among the more highly skilled tech support that users are the cause of many if not most of their own problems. Since the moron they work with often unconsciously try to imitate these more skilled people, this problem filters down.

3) Skilled users, expecting to deal with a mouth breathing moron as first level support, never want to do the simple stuff. The fact that nearly all of us have, no matter how awesome we think we are, overlooked something obvious ought to keep us from doing this, but it doesn't. Because for every time that we get caught having missed something obvious, there's been ten times or twenty times, or a hundred times that we've had to go through a 20 bloody minute checklist of things we already looked at to prove that we already looked at them. We tend to remember the wasted time and forget the once or twice that we went "Fuck, you're right, it ISN'T plugged in".

4) Techs, because so many users really are morons, tend to treat every problem as PEBKAC until it's proven otherwise. Which often makes them unwilling to deal with more skilled users on a higher level until they've exhausted all other possibilities. Which makes skilled users think all techs are morons...

You see where we're going here?

They missed the best way to improve support (1)

Confused (34234) | more than 3 years ago | (#33285754)

They missed the best and most obvious way to improve support: Improve the quality of the products and make the use obvious enough so that support isn't necessary.

But that is a lot less sexy than self-healing robot avatars and not really worth an article.

Re:They missed the best way to improve support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33286938)

no matter how "obvious to use" a product is, there will always be someone dumb enough to not figure it out (see the case of idiot-proof programs v universe, universe is still winning from what I can tell). Instead of improving a product, they need to improve the users. They need to make error messages say RTFM or "hey, Google this message before calling for help." On the other hand, more idiots means more jobs for tech support so it isn't all bad.

Oblig xkcd: http://xkcd.com/293/

Two secrets for reliable systems (4, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 3 years ago | (#33285784)

Well not secrets really, but very few people seem to know them.

1.) Don't change anything. Most of the faults I've ever encountered have been the direct result of someone, somewhere changing something. It might be the user futzing around with things they don't understand - or a technical person doing the same. It could be an upgrade that didn't work properly, or that hadn't been tested properly. it could be patches installed to fix some other probem. Whatever causes changes causes problems. The most reliable systems I've ever encountered were a set of Solaris 6 servers that only the supplier knew the root password for. They never crashed, never got upgraded patched or reconfigured. Of course this presupposes you have an operating system and application that actually works - which hopefully the mass market will attain within the bext 20 years or so.

2.) Get the user out of the loop. The worst thing about trying to support a system is having to deal with the user. they don't have the skills to reliably diagnose a fault. They can't follow instructions, they tell you what they think you want to hear and are so often the cause of the problem, in the first place. The single biggest improvement a company can make to its support operation (apart from #1, above) is to install remote diagnostics and remote take-over of users computers if the diagnostics detect a problem.

OK, three secrets:
If you can keep the users from installing their own stuff - software, tunes, their own hardware AND if you can keep them away from the internet, most company's fault rates would drop by at least 50%.

Re:Two secrets for reliable systems (1)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 3 years ago | (#33286420)

If you can keep the users from installing their own stuff - software, tunes, their own hardware AND if you can keep them away from the internet, most company's fault rates would drop by at least 50%.

Fourth secret, if you could just keep those filthy users from interacting with your systems at all everything would be fine, except no one would pay for a system to be a very expensive paper weight or inefficent resistance heater.

Re:Two secrets for reliable systems (1)

adavies42 (746183) | more than 3 years ago | (#33286494)

If you can keep the users from using any computers, the fault rates will drop by 100%!

Easier way to replace parts - is it that hard now? (2, Informative)

Issity (1625919) | more than 3 years ago | (#33285812)

"In the future, machines will be made up of four -- or five or six -- modules. So if something breaks, you will get a CRU [customer-replaceable unit] sent to you," predicts Brendan Keegan, president of Worldwide TechServices, a provider of outsourced service technicians to major high-tech companies. Replacing a CRU will be about as hard as playing with Legos, he says: "If your RAM goes bad, the company might send you Module No. 6 to replace the RAM and a couple of other things. You pop the old one out and pop the new one in. And you are done."

MB, CPU, RAM, PSU, Hard Drive(s) and Graphic card - six modules, user replaceable. You've got broken RAM - we can send you a new one, which you can replace yourself without any soldering.

For less advanced - bigger units - Central Unit, Display Unit, Alphanumeric Input Unit, Pointing Device Unit. Sometimes Printing & Scanning Unit. Just connect/disconnect cables.

We already have it for years.

Incentives (1)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 3 years ago | (#33285854)

Businesses seek to hire fewer employees or employees that work for less money. As tech support becomes more and more mechanized we can expect less and less jobs. The jobs that are left will surely demand higher skill levels.
                    Current catastrophic unemployment levels are reflecting computers and technology elimination the need for workers. The vital part is that government must catch on and make certain that people have spending money even if they have no jobs. Without supporting displaced workers the economy will eventually suffer total collapse and no production at all will take place. Unlike welfare this new issue will not be helped by giving a minimal welfare allowance. The need is for people to be able to buy homes,cars, major appliances, vacations as well as the more trivial stuff. The catch is that those that are working will feel slighted as those that do not work will be living as well as they are.
                  Sometimes there is a great silence when a job killer becomes common place. The cell phone is a great example. Millions of office workers lost their jobs when cell phones became common. The small company often no longer needed someone sitting at a desk because the management could take phone calls while in the field. Computerized book keeping also made it possible for many small companies to do all or almost all of their book keeping chores. The trend will continue as more and more devices eliminate workers. If we do not adjust to this now we are all going to suffer..

Looks like bull.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33285930)

Sorry folks if I'm slightly lame, but having being forced to try tech support over the last years, having also worked there and seen how thing go (especially seen what Finance wants):

A better support is utopic. The all support concept is utopic as much as doing it within several layers of outsourcing is dead nonsense.

All is just a way to grab more money from the business, trying to exploit as much as possible of the subscription model.

You need help? Help yourself. Then post your findings in a public site.
Share the knowledge instead of hiding it behind lawyers and copyrights in order to sell it at a roof high price and still ask for a higher price and ultimately never let people get to it.

Re:Looks like bull.... (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#33287678)

The place I did tech support, some guy left and took with him a USB stick with all the company's intranet - support documents, common issues and fixes from manufacturers etc. and set up his own website. Eventually the company got him shut down and when they did support calls went through the roof (which might have been their aim had it not been in-house support for the retailers, i.e. every call cost rather than made them money, with the exception of one or two premium rate software support lines that nobody called).

Have you tried turning it off and on again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33286368)

Have you tried turning it off and on again?

That's the Windows way after all.

The products may fix themselves... (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#33286428)

... but the users will not. Have you ever tried giving assistance to a person who argues that it's "impossible" that her computer have a password on it, because she doesn't want it to? Or tried to understand why a customer's computer has their cursor "move by itself on the screen" only to figure out after half an hour that they are just grazing their laptop's touchpad with their thumbs while typing? Tech support may change because the products themselves will need less human assistance, but troubleshooting customers is a need that will NEVER go away.

How about better error messages (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33287028)

You know what would really make tech support better? Error messages that actually contained some information. To me the absolute WORST part of UI design is error messages. Come on, it's 2010, why are we still giving error codes instead of meaningful error messages?*(ok stuff thats in the kernel and whatnot that will be called bazillions of times and has to perform really well has an excuse, but other programs do not).

As a part time sysadmin trying to understand cryptic error messages is probably the most frustrating part of my job, esp. when they don't give you any information. For example saying "file not found" without actually telling you WHAT file wasn't found. You obviously have that information available to you since you were looking for the file, so why the hell aren't you sharing it?

Even companies that generally have the other parts of their UI down pat are guilty of having crappy error messages. My favorite is Apple's "unexpected error"..... is the unexpected error the opposite of the expected error? I think "Unanticipated" would be a better word, but if they used that people might think that they aren't in fact programming gods :P

Unfortunately since error messages are probably the least sexy components of UI design there isn't really a lot of motivation to fix them and they will probably stay an afterthought for most projects.

Re:How about better error messages (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#33289390)

Here [signgenerator.org] you fix it.

So you mean actually getting support? (1)

Snaller (147050) | more than 3 years ago | (#33287846)

As opposed to now where its some badly trained monkey who always assumes its the users fault, and give you the runaround until you give up.

the future will fix everything (1)

toxonix (1793960) | more than 3 years ago | (#33290166)

How about companies getting their shit together from an engineering and people perspective before selling their products to everyone? Better engineering up front will result in less support cost later. Of course, you could just refuse to support anything, but then you have a lot of pissed off customers who won't buy your shit ever again. If I can't support it myself, I really don't want it. The only things that I ever need tech support for are "Services" which end up not working because the "service provider" sucks. I'm talking about you AT&T, Comcast, Clearwire

And for Version 2.0... (1)

mnagy (854980) | more than 3 years ago | (#33290298)

What do I get this time? Clippy with bolts in his neck?

The Future of Tech Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33290906)

Having come from a tech support background I guarantee that little article will cause tech "Senior" management everywhere to consider laying off yet again more support staff with the argument "Hey the technology is there - we'll just use that and save costs!".....

That's the real reason why tech-support sucks these days. Senior Management and Business Planners only look at tech support as a loss... there is no income/benefit for them. So it is always under funded and cut when ever a savings is needed... or in this case "found".....

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