Best Practices: Computer Tech Support: New Study Shows Anguish to Due Lack of Ready Resolution

Nearly two thirds (64 percent) of consumers say their computer has caused them anxiety due in large part to frequent slowdowns and lengthy boot-up times, and more than 40 percent who use an outside computer support service are not happy with it or feel it costs too much. Despite this widespread computer-related stress and frustration, 94 percent depend on their computer in their daily lives, and 78 percent consider themselves computer-savvy.

These are among a comprehensive set of findings in an executive report released today by the CMO Council’s Customer Experience Board in partnership with iYogi showing the disconnect between consumer’s perceptions of their ability to fix computer problems and the realities of unresolved issues that they grapple with. The report, entitled Combating Computer Stress Syndrome: Barriers and Best Practices in Computer Tech Support, analyzes the results of a poll of more than 1,000 consumers in North America on the forces and factors at work with the different approaches to solving an expanding set of computer complexities, viruses, and glitches as the devices proliferate to a wider, less computer educated audiences.

The report shows that so-called Computer Stress Syndrome is prevalent and caused by many factors:

  • Top sources of frustration with the tech support experience are long wait times, inability to fix problems and the cost of the service
  • Seventy-five percent are experiencing hours or more of downtime per year, and 40 percent are experiencing days or more
  • Top five impacts of computer failure include increased stress levels, interrupted work or play time, valuable lost data, dropped connections, and difficult online purchasing

“The results of our quantitative and qualitative research clearly point to the fact that people are fed up and frustrated with the current ability of traditional tech support mechanisms to solve their problems,” said Donovan Neale-May, Executive Director of the Customer Experience Board and CMO Council. “What is needed is a ‘resolution revolution’ in which the various parties offering support alternatives are rethinking their approach and offering innovative models that address the growing proliferation and complexities of multiple service and device types in the market today.”

Consumers use a variety of factors in order to evaluate and rank outside support services. Top factors in their decision include the cost of the service (43 percent), the skill of support technicians (40 percent), time to issue resolution (31 percent), 24/7 staff availability (27 percent), and wait times for service calls or appointments (20 percent).

“Many of today’s computer users are caught between a heavy reliance upon the latest gadgets and accelerating support needs for those devices,” said Larry Gordon, president of global channels for iYogi, a remote computer support service company with over 100,000 customers in a market for support services to the estimated 270 million PCs in use in the U.S. alone. “The computer manufacturers, retailers, and service providers are equally challenged to deliver the kinds of always on, reliable, cost-effective tech support required to meet these needs and satisfy the customer experience. The result is a growing and vibrant market for providers who can get it right.”

In part, the problem of Computer Stress Syndrome may be exacerbated by the fact that many consumers are trying to cut costs by dealing with support issues by home-grown means. Almost two thirds are trying to fix problems themselves, asking a friend or family member, or doing nothing. And cost is the biggest consideration in evaluating alternatives.