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What's your biggest gripe about tech support?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / January 31, 2005 3:11 AM PST

What's your biggest gripe about tech support?

Disconnected calls (tell us about it)
Being put on hold (tell us about it)
Ridiculously short support hours (tell us about it)
No reply to my e-mail queries (tell us about it)
Can't understand what they're saying (tell us about it)
They don't seem to listen to me (tell us about it)
Simply bad advice (tell us about it)
Other (what is it?)

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Most companies pay their tech people by
by TONI H / January 31, 2005 9:56 PM PST

by how many calls they clear off the board. Which means that most times, you get people you can't understand (you hang up quickly out of frustration so that call is marked 'cleared' at their end) or they don't understand your problem well enough to tell you how to fix it, or they will tell you that the problem is coming from another source (another program you've installed, etc) that they don't have any control over and can't help.

There are some companies, like ATI, that are really tenacious about getting to the bottom of the problem and helping you resolve it either via emails or telephone, but they are far and few between. Most of them will blame the problem on you or another program, lie outright to you, and very few of them ever admit that it's at their end because their tech support hasn't been trained well enough to know how to fix it or even know that there might be a downloadable patch to fix it.

The best bet for tech support are the internet forums, espcially at CNET since they are all free. You find people who have been in the same position, with the same problems, and have all found other forum members who have the solution. Very tenacious bunch of members who never give up on anybody.

PS....even ISP people will lie to you when you have problems connecting to the net or setting up your email program. They almost always will walk you through the steps of reinstalling your modem and drivers, setting up the dial up networking, setting up the cable/dsl connections, etc. so that you are starting from scratch.....but most times, you will find that the tech people didn't know that the problem was actually at their end with their servers going down temporarily and you have now reset all of your information for nothing. Most times, if you have been able to connect one minute and ten minutes later you can't, it's at their end and not yours. Just wait a little while and try it again, and you will usually find that everything is working again. Remember that large websites nearly always have a webmaster who has to do maintenance on their site to keep it refreshed and updated.....and you may have hit that website during that period of time. Or small websites, like my own, will have a webmaster who is in the middle of uploading new pages to add to the site or fixing something like a dead link on a page......and this will cause a temporary 'outage' of the site during those few minutes. A 'wait and see' mode is your safest bet before you panic and call for tech help when you may not need it.


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Outsourcing to India is Getting What Companies Pay For
by mrmanfam / February 1, 2005 5:07 AM PST

Don't get me wrong - some of the most brilliant computer minds I know are from India (and are close, family friends). But I tell you, apparently some of my hardware and software vendors are routing service calls to some place in India and are getting what they pay for. Several times (NO, make that "ALWAYS") it happened where I ask one question, I get a "canned answer" to a different question! And you clarify, and you get another "off target" response. It's like you get any answer regardless of your question. One time I asked if there was a way to get my HP printer to print borderless (which the particular model can NOT do). They had me reloading wrong drivers, they told me to send it in for repair (imagine? Sending in a printer for repair because it doesn't make borderless prints and never will!). They told me to clean it! It was a horror! I went back and forth like a dozen times. And I'm sure the company is marking it "resolved". I hope the corporations realize they're not getting a bargain - they're not getting tech support, either.

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Latest horror story re: offshore support
by Robert Polk / February 1, 2005 5:18 AM PST

Most recently I had to call Bell South several times for DSL support. Both times I got a support tech with a heavy Indian accent who were totally incomprehensible. Bell South? Not even a "How Y'all".

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U make me feel better
by PhilMack / February 1, 2005 5:45 AM PST

Well I thought it only happened in, I call Telstra for support and get sweet little Pakistani voices saying Hello to you Madam. I recently encountered a problem where my ADSL password had reset itself back to the original that came with the setup. I rang and after having time to knit a pair of socks I was connected to a tech. With great aplomb the tech said no worries Madam I will reset, you turn your computer off and wait an hour and it will be okay. Huh!....Rang again, got an Aussie was talked through uninstalling and reinstalling my ADSL connection. Told to wait an hour after turning off computer and all would be well. Huh! Huh!....Got smart. Rang at 2 a.m. Got a uni student moonlighting as a tech. Was told, oh this is a wide spread problem in your state. I will give you a new password...just turn off the computer, give me 10 mins and reconnect...voila!! give me a 15 year old high school student any time......

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Penny Wise & Pound Foolish
by kneigh / February 2, 2005 12:01 AM PST

This adage has been around for eons. However, most companies are ignoring this advice and going for the $$$ saved option in lieu of presenting good technical advice. Therefore, unless you're purchasing either hardware or software produced in your local area, you have no other option. Obviously, this does not apply to most folks.

As someone has already posted here, the folks in the sales environment almost always speak well and are product oriented. Get the product out the door and forget it seems to be the norm.

It was also posted here that Dell has listened, and is building a tech support outlet in North Carolina. I can handle a drawl or a New England accent or even a Yupper, as long as it's good old American English and good, sound advice!!!

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Do companies care about us?
by WilliamKazak / November 24, 2005 10:52 PM PST

Do these companies like HP/Compac/Dell care about us?Their reputations are at stake.

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(NT) Calling India
by jeffndy / November 25, 2005 6:39 AM PST

I feel your pain. I have run into this problem with just about everything I have purchased. Canned responses to questions they don't understand. While India has a great number of people proficient in the electronics field, they are unfortunatley NOT answering the phone.
It almost makes you not want to do business with anyone any more. I am quite sure we could find some people here who could do the job as well or better. I mean,lets face it, with the variety of dialects in Ohio alone puts these guys at a disadvantage. I work in an auto parts store and someone has outsourced there price checking and customer service center there. We get five to ten calls a week that we get to try and decipher just what they need.

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Expanding on Toni's post
by KaJo / February 1, 2005 7:14 PM PST

As a tech professional in our local school system, I often encounter teachers and staff members who are frustrated with various tech issues at home and the responses they receive from ISPs. One of the most common problems is that these so-called tech support people often overlook the easiest solution first. Just last weekend, a staff member upgraded her Internet service from dial-up to DSL only to discover she could not get online. She had been on the phone several times with tech support staff who repeatedly walked her through the setup and configuration process and after each unsuccessful attempt she was advised that the problem was resulting from her OS, firewall, virus protection, etc... ANYONE but the ISP. Finally, she called me at home to see if I could offer any advice - after about 2 minutes of troubleshooting I determined that she had two problems - a filtering device that was not needed and a bad network cable. Both of these items had been provided and installed by the ISP. Customer experiences such as this are becoming commonplace as companies hire unprepared and experienced personnel in an attempt to cut costs and raise company profit. Customer satisfaction seems to be buried at the bottom of many company's priorities.

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Expanding on Toni's post
by bobbym007 / November 24, 2005 8:29 PM PST

Bingo Not only have they DISSED the very people who have helped there Companies to begin with ,but for the last approx. 5 years have become so GREEDY they are beginning to tear at the very seams that keep this great country together [the middle class].
I live and work in New York City and all I keep seeing is how the big corps.keep spending on bigger, newer,and more modern offices and buildings. That was primarily built from the inflated prices they are charging all of us,and all this is comming at the same time they reduce our salaries and/or our hours of actual employment.
What ever happened to [the more I make the more you make]??? No instead many giant corps.are hauling in record profit then at the same time actually increasing members medical costs and copays etc.or laying off workers and having the UNLUCKY ones that remain to do TWO JOBS.Then they don't even shore up there employee pension funds that are billions in the RED of many of the largest American companies.
It is getting scary out there,just compare New Orleans and Iraq, the latter is being built up from the ground up and with American labor to boot,but yet New Orleans remains a huge puddle on the map of the RICHEST country of the world.?????????????

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Dell Support
by lwos / March 26, 2005 3:52 PM PST

I've had a couple issues with my brand new Dell....but this time around, I did research BEFORE I bought a computer. I made sure I wouldnt be speaking to a foreigner. If you buy a Dell Business type computer, you will get ENGLISH SPEAKING support. I bought a Precision Workstation 370. I made sure I would never be transfered to India if I had issues. Knowing that, I purchased their 3 year Gold Technical support package which includes not only hardware but operating system support, and immediate phone support. No being put on HOLD. So far, all contacts have been answered within 2 minutes, with English speaking techs and all knowledgeable. On the other hand, my folks have a Dell Inspiron notebook. When I called tech support on their home computer, I got India and could not understand them.
I have a 1999 Gateway which, when purchased came with LIFETIME technical support ( not offered anymore) and as of 2 months ago, have yet to speak to anyone from India. Maybe I'm calling at the right time.....I dont know, but I do know they have always been very helpful. I didnt go back to Gateway because they do not supply system recovery disc's with their systems anymore. You have to make your own. I told then If I was spending in the neighborhood of $2700 on a computer, I expected it to come with recovery and restore discs...and not to have to make them myself. They could not accommodate me, so my $$$$$ went to Dell.
So, if you want English speaking support, consider a small business system for home use.

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Dell ?
by Eggman / November 24, 2005 11:30 PM PST
In reply to: Dell Support

Sounds like that is the only way you can count on Dell.
I have found Dell so un-reliable, that if I cant fix it myself by using Cnet discussion group or searching Google, I find it better to Call Microsoft & pay the $35. fee.
My last experience with Dell was on a Sunday evening 3 1/2 hour wait on the phone being swithced to Dimension support 3 time which does not cover my work station even thou I put in my express service code each time. & this was a problem with my Bios not a Windows problem.

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Done with Dell
by briandimartino / April 21, 2006 5:43 AM PDT
In reply to: Dell ?

My last call to Dell was for my wife's computer. They told me I needed a new power supply. They didn't tell me that Dell uses a special nonstandard (looks just like but isn't) ATX connector.
When I called back I got the "oh did we forget to tell you that"?

What turned out to be the problem was the latest bios they had posted for that model.

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Tech support
by Jack94043 / February 1, 2005 4:10 AM PST

I am a lifelong user of both Quicken and Turbotax and have always paid for the premium versions. I bought the 2005 version last September and have yet to get it installed. I have spent hours with their on line support and live telephone support to no avail. The on-line support was just a bunch of canned answers to known problems, however they told me that Intuit can't support Windows XP, wireless, DSL, or firewalls at different times, they even tried to tell me I didn't have administrative access to my PC. Then when they escalated me to phone support, the final verdict was that someone from Quicken would get in touch with me...
still hasn't happened, and the install always aborts at the last minute. Completely repeatable but evidently non-curable. Guess I will have to reinstall the OS and start over just to install this application because their tech support is useless.

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Quicken 2005 & Text support
by gonavy / February 15, 2005 11:38 AM PST
In reply to: Tech support

I have a similar problem with Quicken & tech support. I'm running Windows ME with 512 MB of memory. After 1/2 hr to an hr of activity, get system message that says not enough memory to continue. Sometimes system just freezes. Going out of & back into Quicken solves the problem. Non-tech support insists it's a Windows problem, but everything worked fine when I was running Quicken 2001. I've been fighting this since Aug. & have even done a reinstall of ME with no luck. How did you fare?

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Tech support
by jspringertx / February 1, 2005 4:14 AM PST

My biggest problem with tech support is that I can't hear the person or their accent is so thick that I can't understand the person.
If they do have a solution to my problem (rarely do)I can't understand what they are telling me. They are usually reading from a manual going from item 1 to item 99 and I have already tried 98 of their solutions before we get there.

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Tech suppoet
by gkadey / February 2, 2005 3:02 AM PST
In reply to: Tech support

You sure have mirrored my problem. I was almost convinced that I was suffering from hearing loss. Just recently I spent hours trobuleshooting a promlem only to be told that it was was a problem with their software and would be fixed in about a month's time.

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Tell me not to uninstall!
by WilliamKazak / November 24, 2005 10:49 PM PST
In reply to: Tech support

All I seem to get is;uninstall,reinstall,we can't fix it here, you have to go and log in and do it yourself!
I have to call someone else to answer this for you!
Except Microsoft which is better.

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Bad Tech Support
by soozer / February 1, 2005 4:21 AM PST

At the risk of being labeled a traitor, since returning to Macs after a few years of using Windows, I have had very little need for tech support and for the few times I have, there is been little wait and the problem was usually resolved immediately (usually it was because I was trying a Windows way of doing something instead of the very intuitative Mac way). My blood pressure has gone down, I don't woryy about viruses or hacking and Apple has proved that they make an almost idiot-proof machine - I'm the idiot that had tested it!

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Well dude just dont say mac is good!
by sumant_k / November 25, 2005 1:00 AM PST
In reply to: Bad Tech Support

You might say the windows is not good, but dont say MAC is good. Since its not the hot cake of the market its still at large from the hackers and viruses. Just wait for a couple of years when MS wanes down and MAC picks up, see then how viruses and hackers aim at the then popular product.
Its only a case that the popular product gets the beating, since in terms of popularity MAC lags far behind the MS its safe at present, but once it gets popular, MAC or for that matter any OS will face the same brunt as MS.

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by jmbrinck / November 27, 2005 12:17 AM PST
In reply to: Bad Tech Support

I started on a Mac and only added PC's to my network to accomodate client PC users. And after years of comparing one to the other it's a no-brainer: it's Mac, Jack! (PC is whack!) Too bad for the poor end-user that PC's could be punched out faster and cheaper, 'cause they are a sloppy(!) second. If you're starting out, buy a Mac. Start your kids on it and you'll be adding years to their lives down the line. Bill Gates made a ton of money, but he didn't do it clean. And billions of junk PC's later he's still doing it on the cheap. I don't know about you but I'm tired of being an unpaid beta tester for Microsoft. Retroactively Mr. Gates has a big debt to pay. But he won't--we will. Ho hum(bug). jb

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different take
by Nicon23 / April 21, 2006 4:35 AM PDT
In reply to: AMEN!!

We all have heard this tired story and it's getting old.

Frankly being that everything is in house Apple shouldn't have a single TS call beyond the "plug the computer in" type. A Mac is a single product while a PC is an infinite number of possibile hardware combinations.

The strength Macs have is also their weakness. Since everything is in house they don't face the nearly infinite hardware configurations from thousands of PC manufacturers. However for the Mac user this also means limited choices.

This is also why Apple has stated it will never license the hardware or software to anyone. They would face the same compatibility moras that MS deals with.

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Tech support woes
by mikesartor / February 1, 2005 4:25 AM PST

I hate endless switchs. If you are having this problem, press 1, or this, press 2. This goes on ad infinitem, and when you finally get someone, you have to tell them all that information that you just got done pressing 1.2.3 to get to them, because they don't have access to it......

What a Drag
Mike Sartor

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by redm2257 / February 1, 2005 5:25 AM PST
In reply to: Tech support woes

I've wasted countless hours dealing with English speaking Techs I can't understand. When dealing with the Sales Department I have no trouble understanding everything that's said. When I need technical help my call is sent half-way around the globe and handled by someone who is solicitous and polite but I can't understand. I'm not a bigot nor am I opposed to outsourcing. (If it can be made for less money with no loss of quality, give 'em the order.)When outsourcing tech support there is a loss of quality inherent in the loss of understandable communication. You can bet the next time I buy a piece of electronic gear I'm going to check out the source of service before making the purchase.

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No Problems
by jayfin / February 1, 2005 11:29 AM PST

Since I had this computer built by a local technician with XP and sp1 I have had no need for tech support, not even for my all in one printer, scanner, copier and another scanner. No problems with my router or USB hubs and devices. I have stayed away from "department store" computers - Dell, Compact, etc. with the exception of a couple of years and then I did have to call tech support and for the most part was satisfied with the service I got.

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by lomfs24 / February 1, 2005 1:34 PM PST
In reply to: Tech support woes

I don't know if they still use this system or not but I called Fed-Ex to get a shipping quote once and I spent approx. 10 minutes on the phone verbally talking to a computer. That was a little annoying.

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Tech Support.
by Stan Chambers / February 1, 2005 5:14 AM PST

A few years ago, I purchased my first Dell Computer. At the time I considered purchasing the 3 year support contract. I thank God that I didn't spend money for that.
Tech Support offered by Dell, and most others, is one big ripoff. After they have your money, they could care less about any problems that you have. I called one time and got someone in India. They read from a script. When I interupted to ask a question, I got a long pause, and then the person continued to read from the script, as if he didn't understand a word that I said. What a joke. I hung up and haven't called since.
Any thing that I've purchased since, I have repaired without any help from tech support. (thanks to Cnet forums)
My advice, don't pay extra for tech support.
Also, don't call them for any reason.
If we all do this, it will either cease to exist, or improvements will be made.
In either case, we will all be better off.
Quality matters.

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Somebody at Dell actually listened
by TONI H / February 1, 2005 6:18 AM PST
In reply to: Tech Support.

to all those complaints....they are moving their tech support back to the USA and building a new plant in the Winston-Salem, NC area that starts off with 1600 employees (part of which will be tech support). Now if the twang ain't too bad, things should get better. (I'm in VA, transplanted from Cleveland, Ohio so I know how hard it can be to understand the locals, too)

There is a good tech support number/contact that another moderator here at CNET located and dealt with with great success and courtesy. I'll write to her and get that number and repost here when I get it.


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Out souceing tech support
by wolfydog / February 1, 2005 6:55 AM PST

I have been a Dell owner for the last 5+ years. I do have more good things to say about the support, than bad. However, when you are in need of help, it is a given, that you do have to understand the directions, and that the techs, need to understand me. My lastest tradgey with Dell, is when I tried to load XP2 service pack, with the cd-rom, and it wouldn't load. I called Microsoft XP2 problem phone #, and was on the phone, with an English speaking woman for Nova Scotia for 5 hours. She took me as far as she could at the time, and asked for me to call Dell, to see if needed any updates for my bios, for it to load. The tech at Dell didn't even ask me what I was running, just sent me a link for bios update for Pro, I am running home. I gave him two files that keeep popping up, that there was a problem with loading the update to, and he said that he didin't have anything on file for what the problem may be. I explained to him that one of them had to do with my ISP, but he insisted that he couldn't help me. This was a out sourced call to India. I concluded that he didn't want to help me. I thought about this after hanging up, and decided that the update couldn't attach itself to my dial up connection. I checked and after a complete cleaning of my partition, and re-installing XP1, then XP 2 right over it, it lost my modem driver. I re-installed the driver, and then tried again in safemode again, with XP2, and it worked like a charm. I then sent off an e-mail to the Microsoft tech,with lots of thanks. Then fired one off to Dell CTS Team, and it wasn't nice. This wasn't the first time I had a problem like this, but then as I said in the beginning. I have had as many as 3 Dell tech supports in one day, lasting 8 hours, to get the pc up and running again,so I am getting the good with the bad. I knew that they were bringing back the tech support over a year ago, after another complaint that I got through to the CTS team, when I was told that all of the yellow question marks in my device manager, would allow my media center play like it is supposed to. I almost got a hernia, from laughing so loud. This was another India tech that told me that. I am sticking with my Dell's, and I am glad that my complaint so long ago, hit home, and perhaps started someone thinking that they had better move back to Americia, to save the company.

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thanks dell!!!
by cyancy / February 5, 2005 6:30 AM PST

that is such great news,please keep us posted with the phone number.

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I just had to laugh
by chanchan / February 1, 2005 9:37 AM PST
In reply to: Tech Support.

"They read from a script. When I interupted to ask a question, I got a long pause, and then the person continued to read from the script, as if he didn't understand a word that I said"...been there, done that...some people actually do this for fun, not really that they can't speak...;)

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