It’s annoying when you buy a new gadget and can’t get it to
run smoothly out of the box. If your geek fu is strong, you probably power
through the inconvenience and eventually figure things out – but the rest of
the buying public is generally a bit less patient.
A new report from NPD Group says 13 percent of customers
return their electronics devices due to their frustration at not being able to
get them to work. However, 68 percent of those same consumers say they would
have held onto the items if they could have gotten adequate tech support.
Nearly three-quarters of the 1,500 people NPD surveyed said
they try to figure things out themselves when they first hit a problem. (The
rest call tech support straight away.)
“Even though the cost of providing post-purchase care can be
high, the cost of not providing [adequate tech support] could be even higher,”
said Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD. “Bad tech
support can damage a brand’s image translating into returns and high customer
I’ll grant you it’s nice to have someone at the other end of
the phone that can calmly walk you through the problem, but it sure would be
nice to have him or her acknowledge that not everyone is a beginner. Not
everyone needs to be told to reboot a PC when there’s a problem.
Tech support is good. Tech support people who listen instead
of reading from a problem-solving manual are great.