Support Unsupportive

If you’ve been on the internet at all, you’ll know too well how hard it is to figure some apps out. We’re always using these apps — blogging tools, photo editors, text editors, proofreaders, budget managers, ebook readers, reminders (my saviour) — you get the point. These aren’t luxury apps either, they’re necessities. That’s why it’s important that these apps are proper. For the most part, my apps are great. They’re pretty straightforward so I don’t have to toil much. Not all products are like that, though. Some products work fine until they don’t anymore. When that happens, I panic.

Because when something isn’t working as it should, I have no choice but to call customer support. I can’t stand the idea of asking for help. Not because I’m an egotistical bastard, but because customer support isn’t supportive at all. You almost never get the feeling that the person sitting on the other side is, in fact, a person. They’re more like robots with western names.

Whenever I write to the customer support team of a product, I get an automated reply. Which is alright, because that’s how they acknowledge mail. But then they reply to my message with another message that makes me wish they hadn’t bothered at all. It’s incredible how support teams treat customers. They scatter words that make no sense and punctuation that makes everything worse. Some emails echo satire — without intention. “Welcome to the world’s best support team,” they say when they’re far from helpful, and not even close to good. Sure, I can tolerate the waiting time, but I can’t tolerate inhuman response.

“Sorry for your troubles. Any inconvenience is regretted.” That’s the most passive aggressive statement anyone can say to another person, let alone someone asking for help. Of course, the inconvenience is regretted, but what are you doing about it, apart from declaring said nonexistent regret?

I can understand, though. Supporting is tough. It’s exhausting to answer the same questions to a bunch of people who refuse to understand. It’s tough playing the educator to people who’re determined to act stupid. It’s stressful to deal with angry customers across the globe — when more than half of them don’t even speak your language.

Nevertheless, at the end of the day, the customer is king — or queen. And that’s why patience is a virtue. That’s why humaneness is a value. In this age when people tweet hate-words to get the attention of a company, it’s just too easy to bring corporations down.

But it’s not about bringing corporations down with the “power of the people.” It’s just plain hurtful to open my inbox and look at a reply that says, “Your patience is appreciated,” when I know that’s not true. I’d rather decode the product for myself, even if I have to read an unhelpful help document. And when it goes beyond me, it’s easier still to give up altogether. Besides, if one product fails, there are a hundred alternatives online.

Ever had trouble with customer support? Sure you have. What did you do?

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