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I have the “joy” of dealing with vendor tech support on a semi-regular base and it’s just a constant pain. First you have to try to find their phone number. Most vendor’s seem to go out of their way to hide this to the best of their ability. It’s on their website somewhere but never in the most obvious places. After that you have to navigate through their IVR which is designed to be as tricky as possible so that you inevitably get to the wrong place so that they can forward you to another wrong place and so forth, waiting on hold for about 20 minutes in each group (if your lucky). Eventually you get to the group you need to speak to but the fun does not end there. It seems to me that the person I talk to always seems to know less about the product then I do. I will calmly explain who I am and all the troubleshooting steps I have done and instead of contributing something useful they will just ask me to do all the steps I have done all over again, and then when your finished they just tell you “Oh, I am not sure what the problem is, I will have to send you to my second level group” or whatever, well why couldn’t they have just done that in the first place. Eventually you do talk to someone who actually knows what they are talking about and get the problem fixed but by that point you have wasted like 3-4 hours out of your day. If that isn’t bad enough, the next day when you are trying to catch up on all the work you missed the day before because you wasted so much time dealing with this vendor, you then get a call back from the vendor wanting you to talk to them for 30 minutes and rate the service you received!
I firmly believe there are people who’s sole job is to design a system to make calling for support as painful a process as possible to discourage people from doing it. If these vendors spent half as much time into making their product work properly as they did trying to discourage people from seeking support then they wouldn’t have a problem at all.