Customer support

Consumer Reports has an article on how bad software and product support is getting. In the last two weeks, I’ve had to contact various organizations’ support organizations for a variety of reasons, some tech and some not.

I’ve observed the following:

  • Companies are making a concerted effort at self-fulfillment. I’m fine with this, provided they don’t make it ridiculously difficult to get a human when you need one. I loved the experience at PCC where I could just ask someone and they were helpful. It’s so rare these days.
  • When I deal with a person, I’d much rather know their full name. Some of the contacts had a signature like “Joe M.” For some reason, this rubs me the wrong way. It seems worse than no name.
  • I like small talk. Maybe that’s why I prefer knowing someone’s full name. (“Ah, so you’re from Sweden, I’ve been to V
  • 3 thoughts on “Customer support”

    1. For a great web hosting service I highly recommend They host my sites. Hassle free for years. I’ve registered several domains through them without any problems. Always helpful when I have tech questions.

    2. My biggest gripe is the difficulty in getting a real person. This weekend when I noticed a small problem on a credit card bill, I went through a phone tree of five levels (literally) and who knows how many minutes before getting the message that they don’t staff the phones on Sunday!

      Here are some more of my recent examples:

      Vanguard (financial services) – in my decade of doing business with them, I have always received superior service, but recently had a dissapointing experience when there was a typo in the account data on a new account I opened. The issue took four phone calls, filling out new paperwork and nearly a month.

      Dell – I usually receive okay service. This month however, I ordered some service parts that they emailed were “on sale”. I just got an email that the order wouldn’t ship for two more weeks, three weeks after they announced the sale, meaning I won’t get my product for a month after I ordered it.

      Amazon (Jim knows about this one) – Usually great service. The ONLY issue is with returns. You send your stuff back and it is a black hole for about three weeks before you get an email saying you got a credit. During those three weeks you don’t know if they got it, if there were any problems, etc. No transparency in the process as a consultant would say.

    3. Oh yes, don’t even get me going on health insurance providers. I am convinced they PURPOSELY underman the phones, don’t return messages, lose paperwork, etc. in order to wear people down.

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