I hear a lot of complaints about poor technical support.  Let’s not beat around the bush here — the tech support that most companies provide sucks. They staff their first-level support lines with the least expensive luke-warm bodies they can find and train them to follow set scripts in an attempt to fix the most common problems.

I don’t like to make excuses for these companies.  They should provide better support.  But in many cases they are simply responding to the fact that customers don’t want to pay much, if anything, for it.  So they give customers what they pay for.

In most companies, technical support is considered an entry-level position.  If you’re lucky, your call will be answered by someone who sees tech support as a stepping stone to a better job.  If not, you might be talking to someone who has already reached the peak of their IT career.

Entry-level jobs in IT pay around $40,000.  When you take loaded labour costs into account the employee costs about $50 per hour.  And that is assuming that they spend each and every minute of their working day handling support calls.  So when Aunt Bettie who pays $35/month for Internet service calls support because her cat has unplugged her ADSL modem again, the ISP probably takes a loss that month if the tech spends more than about ten minutes on the phone.

Some companies do provide fantastic customer service, but most don’t.  And that won’t change until we’re prepared to pay for it.

One Response to Why Tech Support Sucks

  1. Jerry
    Nov 18, 2013

    Your math is misconceived. Like insurance, lots of people pay for coverage that only a few use & abuse. The 1 tech making $40K is supporting 9,999 customers, of which 1 uses him. The profit is still huge if 2 people call ~

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