Random Quote #93 topic: joel-on-software

This has two implications.

One: it’s crucial that tech support have access to the development team. This
means that you can’t outsource tech support: they have to be right there at the
same street address as the developers, with a way to get things fixed. Many
software companies still think that it’s “economical” to run tech support in
Bangalore or the Philippines, or to outsource it to another company altogether.
Yes, the cost of a single incident might be $10 instead of $50, but you’re
going to have to pay $10 again and again.

When we handle a tech support incident with a well-qualified person here in New
York, chances are that’s the last time we’re ever going to see that particular
incident. So with one $50 incident we’ve eliminated an entire class of

Somehow, the phone companies and the cable companies and the ISPs just don’t
understand this equation. They outsource their tech support to the cheapest
possible provider and end up paying $10 again and again and again fixing the
same problem again and again and again instead of fixing it once and for all in
the source code. The cheap call centers have no mechanism for getting problems
fixed; indeed, they have no incentive to get problems fixed because their
income depends on repeat business, and there’s nothing they like better than
being able to give the same answer to the same question again and again.

Joel Spolsky, "Seven steps to remarkable customer service"


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