The meaning of the word support seems to have become heavily diluted, to the point where it means something else entirely.
Have a look at my Monday experiences so far:
(1) I’ve been having issues with the Google AdWords Editor software. It won’t upload data for one of our client accounts, and instead gives me an error. After entering new ads and data last week, I can’t upload my work.
I’ve been chasing Google for a week now.
Today’s suggestion was for a workaround.
Google: Yes, all you need to do is uninstall, redownload the software, reinstall it, and that will hopefully fix it.
Me: Okay, great. And I take it I won’t lose my data, right?
Google: [pause] Have you entered data into the software?
Me: [bigger pause] Yes, that’s why I called you over a week ago. I can’t upload my entered data.
Google: Right, yes, okay. You’d lose the data.
(2) Sage UK called me to ask me if I wanted to upgrade our version of Act:
Me: Why would I upgrade? I purchased the last upgrade and it didn’t work with my data.
Act: Well we do offer 45 day support.
Me: Yes, I tried to use it. Last thing I heard was they’d have to contact Sage in the US. I never heard back from them, so couldn’t use the software.
Act: You can purchase support, perhaps that may be the best option?
Me: Why should I? You gave me 45 days free support but then ignored me for the remaining 44 days. Now you want me to pay for it?
Act: If you upgrade, you’ll get 45 days free support.
Me: I did that last time. It’s not support when you ignore me.
Act: I see. Is there anything else I can help you with?
(3) We’ve now ordered a wardrobe four times. Every time it comes broken. Today’s collection of splintered wood had footprints all over the box. I wonder why it was broken.
Support helpline: I’m sorry to hear about your negative experiences. We will issue a full refund [again] and collect the item at no charge [how nice of them]. Someone will contact you within 7 days to arrange collection of your wood chippings. [Or words to that effect]
(4) I purchased an airline ticket last night from Expedia, and was most un-amused to see that they would charge me £12 to send the tickets by courier. Okay.
I was then even less amused to get an email 10 minutes later to say that the ticket had been changed to an eticket, and I shouldn’t expect anything in the mail.
I then called them, explained the situation [shouldn’t have to], requested a refund [shouldn’t have to] and was told that it was sorted. I was called back an hour later by someone asking for the last 4 digits of my credit card.
Now I have an email telling me that I have been refunded £0.01.
Maybe it’ll be paid in installments. 1p a week. In just over 23 years I’ll have it all back.
Too many companies have overlooked three things in customer support:
1 – the customer. Hello. I am not a order number, I’m a person. With blood pressure.
2 – the support. What do they think the word means?
3 – the market. I have options. If a viable option to Expedia comes along they won’t see me again, nor will I ever purchase again from the wardrobe idiots or from Sage. As for Google AdWords, I’m stuck with them. But I have a voice, and will share my displeasure.
Why not come and hear me vent at the European Shareware Conference?