Did you hear the punch line to Jay Leno’s joke Tuesday night about today’s Windows 7 launch? It went something like: “Great, now I get to spend an hour talking on the phone to technical support!”
Like any good joke, this one had some truth that the audience immediately got. And that’s what’s interesting -- not about the software -- but that this presumably non-technical audience (not to mention the millions watching at home) found it funny.
The pain of suffering through early versions of a software release is now an everyman experience — kind of like a fraternity initiation. People eagerly stand in line (at least virtually) to get the next “hit.” (Windows 7 preorders were at the top of Amazon this week.) Isn’t that hilarious?
Everyone also gets that technical support lines aren’t much fun either. First, there’s the frustration of the product not doing what it’s supposed to; then the self-doubt that perhaps it’s “my fault;” then the long waits to get help; then the “fixes” that mess up something else on the computer -- and so on and so on.
The lesson here is that the total cost of technical support is not just out-of-pocket. Lousy technical support can be psychologically debilitating -- especially for knowledge workers under pressure to produce. Want to see people get emotional? Give them truly great technical support. No kidding.