Help Yourself, the new customer service model.

Everyone loves having their computer dilemmas resolved by some self righteous prick on a help forum who has nothing better to do with his time than mock your lack of knowledge and assert dominance. Remember a time when you didn’t have to kiss some loser’s ass on a help forum? When resolving your problems meant calling the company and having a self righteous prick on staff walk you through it?

You may have noticed I recently put up a post looking for a computer intern for the studio. I figured a great way to increase traffic on the post was to leave a link to it on Craigslist under the “no pay gigs” category. My Craigslist posting was deleted, too many people flagged it as inappropriate and the automated system then removed it. Apparently people looking for work get frustrated by no pay postings and flag them to get them removed, even despite the fact that “no pay” is one of the options you can select when doing a post. Its also a red flag to call a position an internship and to have a link within the ad. I figured this all out eventually through help forum queries.

However, the ad also brought us some great responses, so I had brought something to Craigslist which was of value to them and their readers. But to get help about my deletion i had to suffer the indignity of profusely thanking forum users who berated me with cliches about my ad’s content and my lack of understanding. . …”youre looking for an unpaid intern? you’ve got a snowballs chance in hell, . . can’t just change ‘intern’ to ‘helper’- a rose by any other name. . . .” No no buddy, you’ve gone to the trouble of writing the first half of that gem, I’m not letting you get away with replacing the ‘still a rose’ part with dot dot dot. . . .hacks love cliches cause they don’t have to think and still get to make a strong point.

Another company saving great expense from the removal of customer service is Mac. You can still get answers from them, but you need to pay. That’s right, its irrelevant that you spent over $1000 on the product, if you want help with it, you need to pay a monthly fee to talk to someone. Otherwise you can fend for yourself on the mac forums where again you will need to kiss ass and suffer the indignity of cliches and arrogance. Of course you could go back to the store, but i’m a cyclist so that’s not really an easy option.

I recently moved and all my grossly overpriced itunes mp3s stopped working- i’m no longer authorized to listen to the music i bought. Itunes has no contact number, no email, nothing. My purchased product is of absolutely no value to me anymore, and the company has provided nothing for me to fix the problem. I have to fix it myself by asking someone else who fixed it themselves. Its preposterous. If my meal came out frozen in a restaurant i would send it back and have them cook it, not ask the guy at the next table how he managed to heat his up.

Makes me wonder though about the legitimacy of these people on the forums, are they really independent observers who get off on feeling superior? Companies like Mac and Craigslist are absolutely dependent on these forum helpers. If the forums didn’t work, there would be incredible pressure coming from customers looking for answers. I suspect that many of these helpful people are in fact employed by the company. Its the perfect set up. Instead of customers being able to demand help, we now have to beg for help. As well these phony independents can glorify the product and make it believable; a customer service agent tells me my mac is great i’ll assume he’s doing his job and is full of shit, but if another ‘so called’ customer glorifies the Mac, I’m more likely to believe it. So the same self righteous prick who used to answer your angry demands over the phone can now sit back, wait for you to pucker up, and is completely detached from any sort of responsibility pertaining to your problem.

Imagine if cab drivers only took you to the right address if you asked nicely, or if putting out your house fire meant asking your neighbour the fireman how to do it. Help forums are a reduction in customer service, a reduction, a reduction, a reduction- why do people keep going on about how great they are? . . . ..Take the pillowcases off your heads.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Add to Google Buzz

Like This!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

12 Responses to “Help Yourself, the new customer service model.”

  1. ponch58 Says:

    I had to call Apple Care once to get help with a microphone I had bought. It would not get recognized with the 600 dollar mac recording program, Logic Studio, that I had just purchased. It worked fine with the free program, Garageband, that came with the computer though so I knew the microphone was ok.

    Of course the guy I got on the phone was an indignant prick, and was much more worried about the legitimacy of my apple care status than my actual problem. He had me digging out receipts, questioning the location I bought it from all kinds of nonsense.

    When we finally got down to business and started dealing with my issue, he constantly sighed about my speed of using my computer. As it turns out, I had to set the microphone up as an aggregate device. Now, I didn’t even know what the hell this meant, let alone know how to do it. I told him he needed to walk me through it. SIGH… At this point he began to talk like an auctioneer. I have a pretty quick mac, but it still takes time for things to actually happen. I raced through and tried to follow him but surprise! It didn’t work. You know what this pricks reaction was? “Well I’m sorry sir, but I can’t sit here all day and explain to you how to use your computer.” Excuse me?!?!? Isn’t that your fucking job?!?!?!?

    At this point I lost it, told him to go fuck himself and asked to speak to a supervisor. The new guy was very helpful, had me up and running in 3 minutes and assured me that the first guy would be disciplined for his behavior. I’m sure all that happened was the guy rolled his eyes at the employee but he should have been caned. I would have been happy to do it.

    Point is, it’s amazing how often, with any company, you have to sit through some insufferable jackass before inevitably demanding to speak to someone higher up on the payroll to get results. Nice hiring practices.

    At least you get a person to talk to with apple care. Anyone had the privilege of dealing with Bell Canada’s Emily? AAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!!!

  2. remistevens Says:

    Wow, and you actually pay for that service right? I know you love your mac, but they’re a shitty big company just like every other big shitty company- all the bright ads and Goldblum are just a disguise. Cut costs any way possible, including hiring any jackass to man the phones.

    Maybe you’d have more luck on the forums.

    I still ‘owe’ Bell $300 from a bullshit bill 5 years ago. They don’t call me anymore and i certainly don’t call them.

  3. James Pew Says:

    The advantage of the forum comes from consensus. When the issue is complicated or technical, finding consensus amongst smart dudes on a forum is worth a lot. It’s annoying when people are snobs about their knowledge though.

    If companies can learn to listen to the their customers, and view the relationship more like a partnership, then all of the issues can be sorted out. Everything from how the product functions to how the knowledge base of the forum is organized. Apple and many other big companies aren’t doing that so much. The companies that do will succeed. Right now the forum may be slightly broken, but some type of forum is necessary to give users a voice.

  4. ponch58 Says:

    I didn’t pay for apple care, I got 1 year with logic. Your right though. A big company is a big company. I just like the product.

    The best part about that shit was they tried to claim they didn’t need to help me because it wasn’t the program with the problem, it was the microphone. Which isn’t an apple product.

    5 years and they didn’t send you to collections? It must have been a bullshit bill. Assholes!

  5. ponch58 Says:

    I noticed that the “no pay gigs” section of craigslist is gone.

  6. remistevens Says:

    Seen at least three different collections agencies, i tell them all the same thing. The bill was in error I’m not paying.

    Good point James, if this were truly an open source world i would completely agree with you. But if a big software company wants to be a code nazi they should be the primary source of useful information. Let people do re-writes and forums would flourish.

    Unfortunately the companies that will succeed are the ones that have already succeeded. They buy out the upstarts and change their image every few years, but its the same people owning everything.

    Partnership with the consumer may become necessary in some markets, but it should be avoided when at all possible. An ill informed consumer is the best kind to sell to.

  7. remistevens Says:

    under gigs you have a tab option of saying no pay.

    that tab is like the kiss of death for your post, if you click it users will flag you. . . .they need a free section so job hunters aren’t annoyed.

  8. remistevens Says:

    Oh yea, does this mean youre advertising for a free helper. You’ve got brothers, surely one of them could be an unpaid Marcus intern.

  9. remistevens Says:

    its true, you’re very odd

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: