[bct] Re: Dell Nightmares-- Larry's walk

  • From: "John Melia" <uncle.jam@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 7 Mar 2006 18:11:58 -0500

yes that is like any customer service job I work for FedEx as a customer service rep and it is all about the numbers oh ye are a little better in that we are supposed to say and must do certain things but when you are calling any customer service the clock is ticking and they are graded on the numbers, how many calls you can take how long is your call and many other metrics.
----- Original Message ----- From: "Debee Norling" <debee@xxxxxxxx>
To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, March 07, 2006 5:42 PM
Subject: [bct] Re: Dell Nightmares-- Larry's walk

A couple of comments. I think Dell is getting too big because the products
used to be higher quality. It seemed like this happened too with Gateway
about ten years ago; they had great quality control, got really popular, and
suddenly everyone was complaining about purchasing lemons from Gateway.

My guess is that if Dell screws up enough, it could actually be to our
benefit, because they'll get bad press, spend more on quality control and
gradually move back up towards producing a better product. So I'd maybe buy
a Dell five years from now, but not today!

I worked in tech support for ten years, and I can tell you three dirty
secrets. First, as a product support rep, you aren't graded on the quality
of your technical help, but you are most often measured by the number of
calls per hour you can crank through. I remember at Stenograph, when I was
managing only thirty calls per hour and was told that I need to notch up to
forty to be like the "best" people in the department. Later, when my
productivity-happy boss got promoted, my new boss promoted me to a tech
support lead because of my technical knowledge and not, happily for me, the
call volume.

The second dirty secret is that tech support is really being outsourced.
High-tech sweat shops employ workers barely over minimum wage with just a
week or two of training to provide cookbook answers to common problems and
to get the customer off the phone as quickly as possible. I know of three
big call centers in Sterling Colorado, Atlanta Georgia and Buffalo New York
that actually handle many large companies' tech support contracts. In this
environment, it is better to hire people with less tech skill, because the
average workers will be able to demonstrate higher productivity -- they will
have fewer clever troubleshooting suggestions to offer.

The third dirty secret is that if you, the customer, threaten to complain
to an entity that matters, like the media, your problem will be moved out of
the sweat shop and if one is available, on to a tech who is really savvy.
The trick is to get the company to desire themselves to solve your problem
rather than them just wanting to get you out of the over-long hold queue.

For example, at Caere, when they promoted me, I stopped talking to ordinary
customers. I was called the lead OmniPage technician but ordinary people no
longer had access to me. Instead I talked exclusively with the big
accounts, like Kinkos, that had several thousand licenses and who requested
an experienced tech to work with them. My call volume was no longer
monitored and I was free to actually solve their problems! This is because
Caere had large clients, like recruiters, who scanned thousands of resumes a
day, and they wanted to keep those clients happy. It mattered little if the
average Best Buy purchaser was satisfied.

So the ordinary customer had to either talk to a sweatshop worker or plow
through the limited knowledge base. I wrote many of the knowledge base
articles but then some idiot weedede them down  so that each consumed only
one screen, cutting out 75% of my troubleshooting suggestions.

When ScanSoft bought Caere and moved aggressively towards promoting their
knowledge base, I was amused to find that they ressurected those long first
drafts of many of my articles in an attempt to -- guess what -- reduce their
call volume!


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