What would happen if we dramatically opened up tech support?
The standard support model goes something like this: customer calls support, gets a low-level support person who proceeds to read through a manual trying to answer the question. Unable to do so, he or she calls for reinforcements who work on the problem under a veil of secrecy in which the customer never knows what is happening with her issue until it is finally resolved (if it's ever resolved). Throughout it all, the customer is in the dark.
I'm not sure that open-source support is much different, but in talking with my company's head of support today, I'm wondering if there's a better way. We try to be more permeable in how we conduct support, but perhaps open source has something radically different to offer. It would look something like this:
Now, I'm not experienced with technical support, so perhaps these are bad ideas for reasons unknown to me. But I like the idea of transparency in support. I want to know exactly what Apple is thinking when it works through my issues. I've found in the past when I have a real conversation with support (Apple's, in particular), I'm able to short-cut some of their efforts because their proposed fixes cause me to remember things that I've tried or things that I've done to the system that might have contributed to the problem.
Is transparency a bad thing for support? If not, why aren't more companies doing business this way?