"I gather precise information regarding dates, times, problems, who I talked to, etc. Then I sift through the company website to find the names of corporate and department heads, members of the board, sales, and appropriate tech news website reporters or editors." It is a lot of trouble -- and always has to be done while he's in the middle of the technical problem that's already eaten up a lot of time. However, it works.
"Over the past 15 years, this has worked for Sun, Symantec, Apple, Audible.com, Compaq, HP, D-Link, Nuance, Samsung, and a few others," he reports.
Gripe Line reader Bill agrees. After describing a string of horrible support experiences from large corporations, he says, "You have done an excellent job reporting on poor support at the Gripe Line. But only in the context of one company's support being worse than what the average company offers. The truth is that support is dreadful across the board. Support was never as good as it could have been, but it's become a near-worthless abomination that remains in sad decline."
Bill describes his dream of returning support to our own shores and bringing it back to what it once was. But my dream is something more like a nightmare. I see a future of slowly degraded expectations, lower standards from companies, a populace that can't use the machines it owns, and a technical support staff that is only marginally better because it has access to a menu of scripts to read from.
In a cafe I go regularly for coffee, the staff can barely work the register. People frequently tell me they can't operate their own cell phone or computer. I recently had to help the staff at a restaurant calculate the bill. And according to research from the National Association of Women and Technology, "If current trends continue, the information technology industry will only be able to fill half of its available jobs."
Are we already well on our way to a dystopia of helpless ignorance or am I just feeling pessimistic? Because it's sure beginning to look a bit like "Idiocracy."
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