This summer new provisions to the Airline Passenger’s Bill of Rights and also these Airline Passenger Protection “rights” from the Department of Transportation started to take effect. While they represent an important step forward for air travelers, most of us (with apologies to the George Clooney character from the movie, “Up In the Air”) don’t fly that often.
What we do a lot of is use our tech gear and gadgets, whether they are a laptop, a new tablet, a smartphone, an HDTV or some other latest gizmo.
Unfortunately when there is a problem with those devices (even when it comes to setting them up) there is no equivalent Tech Gear and Gadget Support Bill of Rights that protects us from the abuses of a corporate oppressor (or ill-informed and not-too-friendly call center).
So to give you a better understanding of your “rights” in a customer satisfaction-centric world, we offer these five initial articles to our Tech Gear and Gadget Support Bill of Rights, and to paraphrase a battle cry of the American Revolution, “Give me courteous, fast support or give me death.” (or at least give me a replacement gadget, let’s not get too carried away).
As we said, consumers spend a lot more time with their technology than they do on planes; so if they can put that kind of pressure on the airline industry, imagine the kind of pressure they could put on the tech industry…
Article 1 – The right to courteous service by someone who understands both me and my problem
All too often support lines are populated by people who are not trained such that they can properly diagnose and solve my problem. Often times they are trained, but staffed by people who don’t understand me culturally and that can also make diagnosis and resolution difficult.
In fact it happens frequently that both problems exist. After enactment of this Bill of Rights you should be able to reach someone who speaks your language and culture. They should be courteous and conscious of the fact that the very reason you are calling means you are under stress.
Finally they should be able to communicate with you in plain terms what the issue is and how it is to be addressed. There should be no jargon or TLAs (three-letter acronyms). And like the Hippocratic Oath says, they should “do no harm”.
Article 2 – The right to have a tech support service that can change as my needs change
The world is constantly evolving and so are the products we use. The Apple iPad is a year-and-a-half old, yet it is on the top of most people’s gadget wish lists while quickly finding its way into mainstream business use.
The Android operating system just had its third birthday, and it is already the most popular operating system for mobile phones (even surpassing the seemingly ubiquitous Apple iPhone and the formerly dominant BlackBerry).
Since many of these technologies and gadgets all work together (especially as we move to the cloud), it makes sense that the person helping with one device should be able to help with other devices. To paraphrase Ralph Kramden, “humina humina humina” is not the correct answer to my tech support question!
Article 3 – The right to have the latest tools and knowledge brought to bear on my problem
Not only are the products we use changing rapidly but so are the tools used to diagnose and resolve those problems, and so are the tools used to deliver those repair services.
Why should my high-tech gadget be serviced in a low-tech way? Not only does that put my product at risk (remember, “Do no harm”) but it also makes servicing my product an inconvenient and time-consuming process.
We buy these gadgets to make better use of our time and be entertained, and getting them serviced absolutely shouldn’t make worse use of our time.
Instead this should be an easy process whereby a technician is able to diagnose and triage my gadget or computer via the Internet whenever possible, do the work while I sit back and watch. Or go shopping. Or mow the lawn (you get the point).
Article 4 – The right to support services and products that fit “every purse and purpose”
Everyone makes their gadgets unique to their needs and personality. It makes sense then that we want services that meet our unique needs (hey, ‘I’m not a number’, and none of us want to feel like one of the penguins in this classic Gary Larson Far Side comic strip).
Bottom line, as a modern consumer I want choice. Maybe I have a very specific problem that I just want a one-time fix for. Maybe I like the comfort of having an insurance plan that protects me in the future when I have an unforeseen problem. Maybe I just want someone to tell me what the problem is and let me fix it myself.
In the end, demand the choice of products so you can get exactly what you need.
Article 5 – The right to a guaranteed resolution, otherwise it costs me nothing
When looking for help we want to know that the problem is going to get fixed. OK, sometimes not all the problems can be fixed, but as consumers we don’t want to assume that risk. If you can’t fix my problem you shouldn’t charge me for it because you haven’t completed your job. I’ll understand as long as we have that agreement and I know you have tried your best. I’ll even respect you more if you can point me to someone who can fix it even if they work for your competitor.
As a plea to all, now is the time to take up arms in the battle for your rights as a tech support customer. Make sure that any organization you deal with for tech support honors those inalienable rights that are guaranteed for all!
By Marc Itzkowitz, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Support.com
Marc Itzkowitz is senior director of Product Marketing for Support.com (NASDAQ: SPRT), whose Personal Technology Experts® provide a quick, cost-effective and stress-free technology support experience over the Internet and the phone using the company’s advanced technology platform. For more information please visit: www.support.com, Facebook, or Twitter.
Support.com and Personal Technology Experts are trademarks or registered trademarks of Support.com, Inc. or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. Android is a trademark or registered trademark of Google, Inc. or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. Apple and iPad are trademarks or registered trademarks of Apple, Inc. or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. BlackBerry is a trademark or registered trademark of Research In Motion Ltd. in the U.S. and other countries. All Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.