I’m talking here about the tech giants — Google, Paypal, Microsoft and others of their ilk. Their help and support are generally pitiful, not just for their many “free” clients, but equally for their paying clients. And in each of those examples, I fall into the latter camp.
Here’s what inevitably happens when I have an issue or need to know something new:
Step One — You visit their “help” section
You try 13 searches, using different variations of search strings, but most of the stuff that comes up is totally irrelevant.
Step Two — You visit their “Community” forum
You get excited at first, as you can see that several people have asked exactly the question you need an answer to. You scroll through the replies, hoping to spot a solution, but all you see are comments from 18 other people saying “Yes! I need the answer too.” There’s no sign of an employee comment or an answer anywhere.
Step Three — You decide to email support
It’s a complicated form, with drop down menus, few of which actually match your question, but you persevere. The system then provides you with various links to visit, based on what it thinks you want. Once again, you invest time in checking, only to discover they don’t answer the damn question. You then negotiate a captcha, before finally hitting submit, whereupon you are taken to a thank you page that tells you A/ We really love to help our customers and B/ It can take up to 48 hours to respond.
48 Hours? 48 flipping hours? I beat myself up if it takes me 48 minutes to respond to a help request during working hours.
Step Four — You get an email from them after 10 minutes
Woahh! Brilliant! You open it to discover it’s only an auto reply to tell you once again they may take 48 hours to respond.
Step Five — You get the real email
Excellent! This looks a like a long one. But it turns out that someone has simply pasted a standard response into an email. All those links to help, which you have now visited twice, are there. Conspicuously absent is the answer, once again, to your actual question.
Step Six — You mentally compose your reply
You go for a coffee, fuming. In your mind you compose a blistering reply which points out how long you’ve been a customer of theirs, how many other people are asking the same question in their “community” and how you can’t understand that an organisation as large as theirs can fall down on such basic customer service.
Step Seven — You give up
You decide not to bother sending the reply. You know it will only elicit another set of standard responses, which will raise your blood pressure and use time that’s too valuable. You put the whole thing on hold until you have time to find a work around, or a different solution.