Anatomy of a modern tech support case

(Please note, because of the time that has passed since I wrote this article, it may no longer reflect my current views or the most accurate and complete information available on this subject.)

Based on a true story:

Them: "Please fill out our online form and we'll get back to you right away!"

You in online form: "Hi.  I'm trying to find the button that does the thing I want, and your documentation says it should be there but it's not - can you tell me how to do the thing I want?"

Them: "Thank you for opening your tech support case - your question is very important to us.  We will get back to you very soon now."

Them: "Hi there, my name is Tech Support Rep#2342 and I'm going to be assisting you with your question."

Them: "It's me, Rep#2342 again, and I wanted to let you know that you can find out everything you'd ever want to know about the button you're looking for on our online knowledgebase, which is at http:....  I hope you enjoy all the information that will be at your fingertips there."

You: "Acutally, I'm writing you because your online documentation doesn't match up with what I'm seeing in reality.  Can you tell me how to do the thing I want?"

Them: "According to our records, your support case was successfully resolved.  Please take this online survey telling us how great we did at helping you."

You: "No, it's not resolved, I still don't know how to do the thing I want.  Please answer my question."

Them: "Hi there, my name is Tech Support Rep#5324 and I'm going to be assisting you with your question."

Them: "Have you tried clicking on the button that does the thing you want? You can learn more about it in our online knowledgebase, which is at http:..."

You: "The button is not there."

Them: "That's strange, according to our online documentation, the button should be there.  Are you sure that it's not there?"

You: "The button is not there."

Them: "You haven't paid for Gold Level Tech Support which includes the ability to contact us by phone or email, so I'm afraid I will have to refer you to our online knowledgebase.  I hope you enjoy all the information that will be at your fingertips there."

You: "It's not a matter of knowledge.  Your system is broken.  The button is not where it should be."

Them: "I understand that you are saying the button is not there.  I am going to consult with our software engineers to try to understand what might be causing this issue."

Them: "According to our records, your support case was successfully resolved.  Please take this online survey telling us how great we did at helping you."

You: "My eyes are bleeding all over me and they won't stop until you tell me how to do the thing I want.  Please re-open this case."

Them: "Hi there, my name is Tech Support Rep#1434 and I'm going to be assisting you with your question."

Them: "I see that you are having trouble with a missing button in our system.  This is a known issue that we are all already aware of here.  It's so widely known and talked about in our office that we have fliers up on the wall about it.  Internal movies have been made about this issue.  There are inside jokes going back months.  But so far, we haven't published any information about it for our customers to see, so each time someone asks about it, they think they're the only one having that problem.  Only the really persistent ones make it this far - congratulations."

You: <speechless>

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