variance in the tech experience

COMBATTING COMPUTER
STRESS SYNDROME

Barriers and Best Practices in Tech Support

Introduction

Consumers are more dependent than ever on the use of their computer as part of their daily home and work routine. A whopping 94 percent consider themselves dependent on the computer in their personal lives, and more than 60 percent have a high level of dependency. These large numbers would suggest that any computer problems, slowdowns, and issues could have a lasting impact on the day-to-day activities and the overall equilibrium of most computer users.

Today’s digitally dependent consumers are increasingly overwhelmed and upset with technical glitches and problems in their daily lives. The source of their pain: frustrating, complex computers and devices, technical failures, viral infections, and long waits to resolve support issues that disrupt the flow of their work and personal lives. These users face a continuous state of technical anxiety and challenge – such as setting up new computer products, keeping up with software upgrades and migrating to new applications and operating systems, as well as dealing with malware infections, web threats, identity theft and more.

According to the Pew Research Center, four in every 10 computer users suffer a system failure at least once in a 12-month period, and more than half require support to resolve their technical issues. More than 60 percent of users say they feel impatient, discouraged and confused by these technical problems and the resulting disruption of their digital lives. Millions more use computers that have been compromised by severe slowdowns and vulnerabilities that threaten both safety and productivity. While the threats and complications with computers are on the rise, customer technical support has not kept pace to address the needs of a growing population of computer users that are highly dependent upon their device as part of their daily lives. Part of the issue is the need to change the mindset of consumers to be more accepting and trustful of outside technical support services. To date, many have attempted to try and fix the problem themselves with available software or just accepted a slower or poorly performing machine.

Thirty percent of consumers have used in-store or in-home technical support to solve a computer problem as of 2009, up from 10 percent in 2006, according to a Parks Associates study. While the adoption of technical support service is growing, consumers remain skeptical or reluctant to fully utilize all available resources. Users are simply not satisfied with existing support services, and client service models have proven to be insufficient, often struggling to handle the complexities of today’s digital landscape. A recent Forrester study on customer experience showed that only one major computer vendor had a good satisfaction rating of more than 80 percent, whereas all other major vendors averaged poor or barely OK ratings of between 50-66 percent.

A computer breakdown] necessitates calling the technician. Not so easy because the computer ‘powers that be’ would rather you not call them. After an hour of frantic search, you find the number and make the call. Your pulse quickens and your stomach churns as you wait yet another hour before a technician finally answers the phone. As you describe the problem, either due to your inability to explain the problem, or the tech’s inability to understand what you are saying, little progress is made…  

Dr. Murray Feingold

What’s needed is a new “Resolution Revolution” to counteract the rising problem of “Computer Stress Syndrome” faced by users. Current computer vendor support solutions and models are aimed minimizing support costs and after-market customer handling. Live on-site support services offered by retailers take days or weeks to schedule, are costly, and don’t fix the problem on time if at all.

Because they are so important to us, computers are a two-edged sword. When they are functioning properly, they’re great. But when something goes wrong, we immediately go into panic… This is what I call the Computer Stress Syndrome or CSS. 

Dr. Murray Feingold