Crappy Support Experiences…

Today has been a crazy day when it comes to tech support, and dealing with outsourced support.  A great part of my work-day (and the last few weeks for that matter) has been spent with nailing down difficulties we’ve been having with our outsourced support from India.  We’ve experienced a high level of turnover from our workers in that region, which is resulting in a complete re-training process for the support workers.  Lately it seems like they’ve been "picking and choosing" the work that they want to do, often leaving our group high and dry with many angry end users.  Each week I meet with the person who is mentoring them to try to understand and address each issue, and each week I find myself with little that I can do to make any kind of impact.  I turn right around and bring the issues up with their management, but each time I do it I feel like we get criticized for being resistant to outsourcing, change and the global economy. 

My feelings are far from it.  Initially I was resentful of many of our tech jobs being shipped to lower-cost centers over seas.  However, in the changing global economy I have come to realize that this is necessary and that I must find a way to work within the system.  What I do struggle with is the fact that none of these transition are being done particularly well, and with the market in these low-cost centers (like India) so competitive, you’ll find a high turn-over with the actual employees in this area.  My frustrations come from a fact that no matter what I do things aren’t improving.  These frustrations are also resulting in my general unease when hearing the words "support" and "outsourced".

This leads me to this evening.  I finally had some time to get to work on the 24 bloggers project between Matt and I, and I found that I was experiencing some major problems with our web control panel.  When I went to my hosting server (which used to be based on the East Coast), I found out that my hosting company has shifted almost all of their operations to India.  It was hard for me to overcome my initial fears that my past experiences have brought me, and they did seem a bit justified when I submitted my first trouble ticket and received the following response:

cp is ok now, cp goes little bit slow during backups.
we have good feedback regarding cp performance
you can come on Live Chat for instant support at <our web site>

Ok.. Did you even look at my issue, or did something get lost in the communication?  I ended up logging into their Live Chat on their site, spent a while waiting for an agent to contact me, and when I described my issue again he said "Ok, I will check", then was gone for almost 45 minutes…  When I sent a follow up in the chat he replied "We’re working on your issue.  Please send a trouble ticket to track your request."

Isn’t that what I originally did?  I realize we all have been victims of bad support, and this may be an isolated case, but I seriously doubt it.  It seems like businesses are all too eager to off-shore these operations and watch the cost savings roll in, without spending much time training or transitioning.  The true phrase of "you pay for what you get" rings true here, and if we pay for these low-cost support centers without setting up efficient processes to smoothly transfer the support (as well as maintain the expected level of service), the other parts of the business will suffer (in many cases the customers).

We’ll see how hard it is to have this issue resolved.  I’m disappointed too, because in the three years I’ve used this hosting company I have never experienced a problem…  First time for everything I guess…

Also this blog may be on the move again, because as of Wednesday I am the proud owner of – this will be a much easier address to remember.  Keep posted for the change…