Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Caught in the Middle

This has nothing to do with food. It may have to do with the politics of computer software companies and it may require theology to resolve. It is more a rant about what happens to the innocent end user when no tech support wants to accept responsibility.
I get my Internet service through Comcast. At the time I signed up, I transferred all my email to Comcast. I also have a gmail account because I often have trouble getting my comcast email. Today was one of those days. I got email this morning on my comcast account, but, this afternoon is a lost cause. I cleared my history because that is always the first thing tech support asks you to do. Still no email. Ultimate answer from lengthy exchange on Comcast Live Chat? It is a Foxfire problem. Use Internet Explorer because we have demonstrated you can get your email on Internet Explorer. Or contact Mozilla to fix their problem that prevents you accessing your email using their browser.
After a long wait for Firefox Live Chat and a brief, very unproductive interaction, the answer, contact Comcast because they have a problem.
Real end result? The end user has a problem. Use a browser you do not want to use or give up on all the folks who wanted to contact you.
Back in the day, companies would bend over backwards to help you get your work done because they realized you had alternatives. Now we have very little that passes for customer support and a lot of tech support that will blame anyone they can.
In a failing economy, perhaps this tech support experience is an indicator of an underlying problem. Companies exist to take your money, not to provide a service or even assurance that their product will function as advertised. The employees are insecure about their employment and unwilling to do anything beyond their minimum. End users get frustrated and rush to any alternative that promises a solution. In the end, companies lose customers and customers distrust companies. Could this be part of the reason companies are failing?
If you want to reach me by email, send it to my gmail account. It works!

Update: I have no idea what happened, but my Comcast email reappeared. The comments about customer service and the end user being caught in the middle stand.

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