Customer Service Frustration

Published: 2018-08-22
Last Updated: 2018-08-22 17:20:09 UTC
by Deborah Hale (Version: 1)
11 comment(s)

As the IT Manager for a multi-location manufacturing company, I have the challenge of providing a secure and safe environment. I deal with many vendors for various applications that we use. One of my pet peeves is support departments. I cannot believe how little emphasis is placed on customer support and satisfaction these days.

I have several vendors that are outsourcing their support departments. This is very frustrating to me. They are a US company, we pay with US dollars and when it comes to support we have to talk to someone who speaks fragmented English and does not understand terms and phrases that we use. It takes me at least twice as long to get my point across and to get the information that I need to solve my issue. Another issue I have is that they are in a different time zone than I am. I specifically ask for support 8:30 am to 4pm Central Time US and they invariably call me at 6, 7 even 10 o’clock at night. I pay for premium support and am supposed to have a call within 4 hours. Most of the time it takes 4 or 5 days to get an actual contact with a person. When I finally get through and actually talk to someone I am even more frustrated when I am told that the problem was caused by an update to the application that is now a FEATURE. Really??? A feature that broke something.

These applications and the issues that come up are critical to the operation of our locations. Why can we not get US support when we are in the US and pay in US dollars? Anyone else have the same issues?

Stepping off my soapbox now.


Deb Hale

11 comment(s)


Thanks for sharing this. Similar frustrations, I even now do my best avoiding calling support unless it is absolutely necessary, I guess they welcome such a behavior change
I'm right there with ya, Deb. At some point, someone needs to convince the execs that outsourcing everything isn't always such a great idea even if the bottom line looks good. Often times the outsourcing company is hiring people who not only are often missing language skills but are missing other skills besides. I got help interview a possible candidate for an IT position (believe it or not) at an outsourcing company. He kept muting and unmuting thru the call (and sometimes missing the button) which made it fairly apparent that for ever one of my questions (the technical part of the interview) he was simply consulting google. He accidentally hung up the call at one point and while we were waiting for him to get back on the call, I pointed it out. The sales person must've clued the candidate in about it because when he got back on the call he still muted and un-muted himself but when he missed the mute button, we could hear someone whispering to him what to answer my questions with. (face-palm)

As for vendors who outsource support, the only solution I can see is to change vendors. If you have any Federal government customers, you might use some of their new requirements as a lever to change vendors. We found that even contact info for some of our customers was data considered "in scope" and thus couldn't be stored in a cloud solution unless we could guarantee that only US citizens had access to the physical systems in that cloud (and you should have multi-factor authentication required to get to it, etc). I guess the Feds are tired of the addresses of black sites and/or the names/emails/phones of people who work there getting leaked by their own vendors! :-)
Preach it! I have found that sometimes you can find the right time to call when you get a US support person.
I worked for a Fortune 50 company. We off-shored our internal support team to Eastern Europe. There were business cases made on how much this would save but I observed 2 results. The US locations would defer calling for support until they knew that they would get an on-shore resource. And that there were two off-shore representatives in place for each on-shore representative displaced. Obviously this disparity wasn't represented in the business case but it happened nevertheless.
Unfortunately my biggest pain in the neck only has off-shore support 24x7. So I am pretty much stuck at this point. I am in the process of investigating alternative vendors and by the time my contract renewal comes around again... I hope I have found a replacement.
"I cannot believe how little emphasis is placed on customer support and satisfaction these days."

Amen & hallelujah. When a lack of training on your vendor's end results in loss of productivity on your end, you have to wonder if its even worth making the call. I've been working on some OS compatibility issues with a h/w support rep for nearly a week & his best guidance thus far has been links to the articles I read 3 months ago; my telephony vendor doesn't comprehend the difference between a call originator and a call recipient & M$ Support... well, let's not get started, shall we?
Agreed Totally!!! I waste more time trying to get my point across to people who don't understand the language.
I give you one guess how DSLExtreme got my business away from a different venerable old ISP which did not speak English by the time I left them. When you can act by walking away from the ugliness.

When you are in the position of authority for providing a service be sure that you are providing quality service. And for God's sake teach your first line people how to recognize somebody who knows enough to tie his shoes before he trips on the shoelaces. Then have the support person refer these people up a level when possible. (Sadly upper levels of support seldom seem to be 24/7 levels of service. Economics rules.)

Well, I guess this is what the call "globalization": companies move their support staff to cheap places in an effort to maximize profit, which I reckon figures for them, financially. Of course, when they get to the point where they can no longer retain customer satisfaction due to lacking service quality, this may result in losses. But more than likely they have done their math and calculated that the savings of outsourcing their service outweigh the possible loss of business - and since most every support organization heads the way of globablization, it's not like customers can easily switch to a service provider purely operating in the local country. Not only would that be rare to find nowadays, it would probably also be more expensive and thus hard to sell to your own management.

"I want [my country's] support when I am in [my country] and pay in [my currency]" is no longer a thing.
M$, hee hee. I call them that too.

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