I hesitate to say anything about this, because I know people who work in Information Technology. But I have to rant, because it's so frustrating dealing with IT people.
Sometimes it seems like the best software, according to IT people, is software that doesn't actually have any users. If no one used it, no one would need support, and the IT folks could go back to whatever it is they do. Users never bring good news to support staff, only bad ... users only need support if something goes wrong. Eliminate the users and you'd eliminate all those annoying requests for help.
Maybe it's a social thing. There are jobs that require good rapport with others ... both of my kids have jobs like this, and both of them work well with people. There are jobs that don't require much interaction with the public, and for many of us, that's just the job we need, because we're cranky, or we're hermits, or we're just socially inappropriate. Working in IT is a good job for people like us ... we interact with machines, which is just fine. Except IT support staff end up interacting with humans. And, far as I can tell, the best IT people are the ones who do better with machines than with people (being one of them, I can sympathize). So perhaps it's inevitable that IT support is filled with people who don't work well with others, spending most of their day working with others.
IT support people assume that every single user who contacts them is a complete and utter moron. If they weren't a moron, they wouldn't have a problem. Because they make this assumption, IT support will always walk through a predesigned series of baby steps, because they can't assume the user knows anything more than how to turn on their machine. (Or not ... there are tales of users whose problem was precisely that they didn't know how to turn on their machine.) YOU CAN NOT DERAIL THIS PROCESS! If you explain to the support person that you are not a moron and you have already gone through the baby steps, they will ignore you, assuming that you don't know what you are talking about because you think you aren't a moron but you are by definition a moron because you interrupted their video game. Their solution will always be to start at the beginning (reboot computer, reinstall software, reformat hard drive) because, being a moron, you can't be trusted, you must have screwed something up. You will be treated like a toddler in the midst of your first steps, and will be patronized when you aren't baldly insulted for being a moron.
Here is an example from my own workplace. American River College forces Outlook Web Access on its users. Until recently, their version of OWA was outdated, which made things worse. Among the reasons why this software is crap, I couldn't set it up for internal virus scanning ... I had to download attachments and then run my own virus checker on them once they'd arrived on my hard drive. Since my students send me their papers as attachments, I have a real need for virus checking. OWA also works poorly with non-Microsoft browsers (and this is true even with the updated version). For these and many other reasons, I prefer to have my ARC email downloadable to my own email program using POP3. And so I asked IT support for the basic information on the subject. Here is the reply I received:
"PoP 3 mostly is a pain."
I was also given half of the actual information I needed, which was 50% helpful, I suppose, but which still didn't allow me to use something other than OWA for my ARC email. When I persisted, I was directed to a webpage IT had put together for POP3 users. Unfortunately, it was more outdated than their version of OWA ... it had instructions for Windows 95! Thankfully, I finally figured out how to do stuff on my own ... I gave up asking support, since my queries were such a pain.
Here's another example. Obviously I need email lists for my online classes. ARC IT, in their wisdom (and in their assumption that we're all morons) doesn't allow an instructor to create their own mailing list (at least, I can't see where they allow it ... I suppose it could be hidden in their help pages under "Windows 95"). So I have to ask support to create the lists for me. Before my spring classes began, I asked for such a list, and also asked that they let me know when it was created so I could direct my students to the proper place for sign ups. They "let me know," I suppose ... a few days later I got an automated email informing me that I was subscribed to my own list, and that was the extent of my heads-up.
So let's see ... IT support assumes we're morons, refuses to practice Jesus's "teach them to fish" theory of support, won't let us do anything on our own, gets annoyed when we bother them with problems, thinks everything is our fault ... and what the heck, who among us doesn't think similar things about the people we deal with in our own jobs? But support people's job is to deal with us other people, so their antagonism towards our very existence means they suck at their job.
And yes, I'm waiting for the cable guy, and yes, this all applies to cable support, too. Here are the steps Comcast support follows when you call them about cable problems:
1) Run you through a gauntlet of button-pushing selections designed to get rid of you without talking to a human.
2) When that doesn't work, they put you on hold until ...
3) A human comes on the line and asks you what your problem is, after which they ...
4) Say they will reset your cable box (no matter what problem you have explained to them), after which ...
5) They will tell you a technician must come to your house.
What they won't do:
Assume you know what you are talking about.
Help you take care of the problem on your own ... or rather, they'll try to "solve" the problem electronically, but once you get an actual human they will do everything they can on their end (i.e. they will reset your box) but will give you no advice on what to do for yourself.
The result is a cable guy will come to your house. Sometimes you need the guy, sometimes you don't, but they'll come in any event. Sometimes the cable guy knows what they are doing ... sometimes they don't. Sometimes they know less than I know, and I don't know jack about cable teevee. But I know how to use the Internet, and I've usually got my sources on the screen when the guy arrives, and they are always amazed at the information available to users, usually saying something like "I didn't even know that myself." Yet I know it, and I don't know jack.
Look, I understand that support works the way it does because they often deal with actual morons. But there should at least be room for adjustment when one of us who is not a moron asks for help.