Computers outsold television sets in 1994, marking them as a true consumer product. By 1996, 35% of American households had computers. By the end of 1995, computers and software ranked #8 in the Top 10 list for complaints to the Better Business Bureau, outdoing used car dealers. As sales increased, complaints increased. In 1996, computer-related complaints rose to #7 on the list.
- There are a lot of customer complaints and the cost of handling complaints and requests for help is skyrocketing.
Over the past seven years, the ratio of support to total employees in hardware and software companies has grown from 1 in 12 to 1 in 6.
- In 1996, there were 200 million calls for technical support. At an average of about $23 per call, the industry spent about $4.6 billion on these calls.
- The industry left these callers on hold for about 3 billion
- The software industry has been one of the worst for leaving callers on hold. A small study by Service Management International indicated that software companies leave callers on hold longer than any other industry studied, worse than government agencies, computer hardware companies, airlines, banks, utility companies,
- Software publishers ship products with known bugs (defects), often LOTS of known bugs. The odds are pretty good that when you run into a serious bug, the publisher knew about it at the time that you bought the product.
Software publishing is a business, a large, important industry in the United States. Like other businesses, software publishers make trade-offs between your satisfaction and their costs. Unfortunately, software is also mysterious to the non-expert. It’s easy for a software seller or support technician to tell you that you’ve misused the program, or that the problem is that there’s something wrong with your frammistan (a mythical device that unscrupulous car mechanics would charge customers hundreds of dollars to repair.) Some people are getting badly ripped off, and it’s not doing the
industry or the customers any good.
If you buy bad software, this book will help you get the support you need for it, or a refund, or additional money to repay you for losses that this product cost you (such as trashing your hard disk).