technical support

Let's take technical support as an example. When a device misbehaves, I look at it, investigate its buttons or connections, look for a manual or troubleshooting guidance online, and eventually sometimes call the manufacturer. My call is answered by a recording which asks me questions to which I am requested to select a response by tapping a number. More questions follow. Many times, the problem I have is not mentioned as a selection option. So, patiently, I wait for an agent. The agent is trained to be polite and helpful, to carefully provide lots of information that have been written out for them to read or memorize. Even here, my problem may not be covered by this scripted material. I ask for a supervisor and most of the time they are able to speak as an informed person and not just read from a script. Some of them even tell jokes and laugh with me. Sometimes even the expert cannot help, not even after calling multiple times and talking with different experts. The technology itself is too complex.

So here's my take on it. The cost of excellent technology is higher than almost every budget assigned to it. Several shortcuts are taken. A portion of a product may be farmed out to a subcontractor or is bought of the shelf from another company with an expertise in that area. Whichever option is taken, that portion must be integrated, explained, documented and ultimately taught to technical support agents. Each of these steps is expensive and thus subject to cost cutting for the sake of increasing profit margin and shareholder earning. The effect of this on the customer is eventual product failure followed by hours of troubleshooting that sometimes fails to resolve the issue.