Boilerplate responses

Support for computers and software is notorious for being frustrating and ultimately not helpful.  Unfortunately, this isn’t just a stereotype, it’s a truism.  The two big problem areas I see in this realm are:

  1. Outsourcing – many companies outsource their support to cheap labor abroad.  Customers have to wade through knee-deep accents to try to get the person to understand the problem.  Typically, these people do not understand very much at all, but are reading from a knowledge-base “script” as they ask the pre-canned questions and have the user do things to try to solve the problem.
  2. Boilerplates – even domestic tech support suffers a similar problem.  There are stock boilerplate responses to incoming queries which are dispatched as quickly as possible in order to move on to the next problem.  Typically, support techs are rewarded for the number of cases they can resolve.  So, if they can get the customer to just give up and go away, the case is resolved, and this looks good for them.  Very little thought is put into the process, and frequently only one part of a trouble ticket will be addressed by the boilerplate response, and everything else is ignored.

The industry clearly needs to fix this as long-term, this could be very destructive.  It’s somewhat like loaning money to people who can’t afford to pay it back… does that ring a bell?