No wonder people hate computers – and dread tech support

People know that I love technology, and use it every chance I get, but sometimes I run into circumstances when something happens and I understand the frustration. That happened to me recently. Oh, and by the way, I later learned that the problem that the support line couldn’t fix was really my fault because I should have known what the company’s trained (?) support people didn’t seem to know.

Here’s the scoop. We upgraded our office’s online/cloud backup, using Carbonite, the same product we used successfully for years. This upgrade, we were told, would be easy and seamless. Unfortunately not. And complaints received a consistent response of dead air.

First, we learned in October that the server backup we purchased would need its own “space” in the cloud, meaning that our data would be stored twice. Since we hadn’t purchased the space for double the data, we had to do that  – no accommodations were possible. Oh, and they promised a refund once the new backup completed, but within 30 days. That money is gone.

Second, because of the amount of data, the server backup was slow, and kept failing. Repeated calls to support got us nowhere, no one had an answer.

Finally, we learned this week (after finally getting escalated to second and then (wow) third tier support) that we were the reason why the backups weren’t working. That’s a new concept, the customer was wrong.

Why were we wrong? We were rebooting our server, as you are supposed to do, after doing Microsoft updates weekly, but if the backup was still going, it wouldn’t stop or reset and ended up in an endless loop.

I was told that was our fault, even though no one on first or second level support told us this, and there was no documentation for us to know that. And, in my experience, as a reseller of Retrospect (which does primarily local backups) and my experience with Carbonite previously, those products reset if there was a reboot. That apparently isn’t the case with the new fancier server software – but then again if support didn’t know that this was the cause, that didn’t matter, the customer should have.

I realize why our clients like our support and training, because we explain what they need to know, and do what we can to avoid return calls. In the case of Carbonite, their support finally acknowledged that our case should have been escalated far sooner, and they had no answer for why first line support did not know about this apparently obvious type of situation (somehow I doubt we’re the only customer of theirs that does updates and reboots without first consulting the status of Carbonite).

So now we’re waiting to see if the backup completes, having started it after this week’s latest updates and reboot.

In the meantime, we have devoted hours and hours and hours to the situation, and in response to complaints about our wasted time, and the money for the unnecessary extra cloud space we had to purchase, the response was dead air. Lots of dead air.

It’s times like these that I realize why some people hate technology and why they dread calling tech support.

About dsiegel

Dan Siegel authors the Technology column in The Philadelphia Lawyer, quarterly magazine of the Philadelphia Bar Association; he also authors the Technology column in Trial Magazine, the official publication of the American Association for Justice (formerly the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA)). Dan is a nationally-known writer and lecturer about technology in law offices and in litigation. Sensing the need for a firm to address the technology needs of attorneys, Dan opened Integrated Technology Services, LLC, which focuses exclusively upon ways for lawyers and legal support staff to handle cases more efficiently. An attorney since 1984, Dan serves in many technology-related positions. He is Vice-Chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association Law Practice Management Division and co-chairs its Practice Technology Committe. A solo practitioner, Dan chaired the Computer Committee at Anapol Schwartz in Philadelphia. Dan is also a certified Trainer for LiveNote and certified to support and train Time Matters, CaseMap, TimeMap and LegalFiles.
%d bloggers like this: