VoIP and more: the big, honkin' problem with centralized tech support

I think that the senior-level execs that make the decision to centralize tech support services derive a false sense of security from the information processing capabilities of the systems they install in those centers. The systems are only as effective as the data that is entered into it.

I think that the senior-level execs that make the decision to centralize tech support services derive a false sense of security from the information processing capabilities of the systems they install in those centers. The systems are only as effective as the data that is entered into it. Without the local data - sometimes, very local data - the information available to tech and customer support agents in these call centers is too generic to be useful.

Let me be specific.

On Friday and then on Sunday, we experienced some performance issues with our Comcast high-speed Internet service.

My informed analysis was intermittent packet loss, possibly from excess demand in the neighborhood. Throughput was slow, occasionally to the point where the service would go off. The cable modem would go off, attempt to recycle, and would either hold for an hour or so, or fail. It was maddening.

Calls to Comcast tech support were to no avail. We were told there were "no reports of outages in your area."

The reason that no reports were available to Comcast tech support, I suspect, had to do with the centralization of these services, plus the local nature of our repeated outages.

I know I am sounding like a broken record railing on and on about Comcast customer service, but when you centralize tech support in call centers hundreds or thousands of miles from the localities you serve, your tech support folks don't have the benefit of "corridor talk" insights.

I remember a similar call-drop inquiry several years ago, when I lived in an area with localized tech support. Spoke to a technician who was able to ring the dispatcher in the same building. Not only was the dispatcher able to tell him about truck rolls that were underway, but about very localized conditions in my apartment complex that caused the service drops.

But as to the problems this weekend- the Comcast reps said they did not have a local number for me to call.

Made me nostalgic for the local touch I just described.

I would love to see that grade of localized service and insight from VoIP providers- Vonage, Comcast, on and on. But because the centralization of service centers is seen as a key factor in expense control, dream on.