TechDirt calls it “Tech Rage,” where people get so frustrated with technology products not working as they should that customers are driven to the brink — often breaking the very object of their frustration.
According to USA Today, “About 85% of those polled said they’ve become so flustered, they’ve ended up swearing, shouting, experiencing chest pains, crying or smashing things.”
The thing is, there’s nothing more frustrating than purchasing a product only to discover that it doesn’t work as promised. Then, frustration builds as you try to get resolution from customer service reps stationed oversees whose disinterest could be cut with a knife.
I think what is most frustrating from the customer’s point of view is the lack of respect. Yes, it’s an issue of respect.
Recently, I experienced just such “tech rage” at my favorite Virus Protection program. I first became aquainted with CA way back in the day when they offered their virus protection program as freeware. Yeah, it was a while ago. Those were the days… when your only online threat was an incoming virus through your email.
Well, CA moved to a paid model, and as someone who was THRILLED with their free product, I gladly followed them with my CC in hand. Then, this year, when my virus protection was getting ready to expire, I got a full screen notice. Weird, but my love for CA was such that I thought I could trust them.
I purchased my new subscription and was alarmed that as part of the installation process, all of my beloved “e-trust” programs had to be removed.
“Wait?!?” I thought. Have I been phished? No, so I continued on with the installation. That marked the beginning of my journey into hell.
Suddenly, my browser began freezing up and shut down was impossible. Everytime I tried to shut down my computer, I would get error messages. When I checked the source of those messages, they were programs which were part of my CA virus/security suite.
So, I went to the CA site. I tried to submit a support a ticket. At the end of the process, I was prompted to download software, which crashed my browser.
So I resorted to using the phone. After sifting through three screens, I finally found a number to call. When I tried to call, I got caught in some kind of parellel universe where I kept ending up with a corporate account executive instead of a SOHO rep. While she spoke fluent English, she could only give me yet another phone number to call which again landed me right back in the same building as before.
In frustration, I purchased Norton and uninstalled CA. I wasn’t happy with Norton the last time I used their software, but you know what? My computer shuts down now and my browser isn’t crashing every 45 minutes.
CA may have gotten my money this time, but they won’t be getting any more. Not only will they not get my $$$, when my clients ask what to use, I won’t be recommending CA. One upset customer who can’t get through the highly automated customer support system will end up costing CA dozens of customers. While one disgruntled customer may be acceptable, I know from searching message boards across the internet that I’m not alone. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands just like me out there. We’re “geeks” to whom non-technical users turn for guidance and advice. So take the hundreds or thousands of disgruntled customers and multiply that by 12.