The field of servicing computers has changed with time. Previously there were only hardware issues and compatibility problems between various pieces of hardware. Now there are more numbers of software problems. Basically the transition is from ‘something broke’ stage to ‘how do I do this’. The computer industry has changed also. Plug and play technology has resolved major configuration and compatibility issues. The cost of computers has also come down in a big way.
Today’s pieces of software have become complicated and sophisticated while getting bigger and resource-hungry all the time. It has come to a point that the average user is not able to figure out most of the things when using the software. The vendors who sell the software provide lackluster support for their products. These affected users then turn to the local computer repair outfit. The queries range from being unable to sync iPods to unable to login to Gmail.
The local repair shop is able to fix computers physically and they are usually expected to know all the software that is out there. Sometimes the local shops do know about major software, but they cannot keep up with all the available software. It is possible to figure the new software out but time costs money. The software vendors know this, so they charge a per incident cost for support. They thus avoid having to do phone support as many users would go to some other less expensive way of troubleshooting the problems. The software vendors cite controlling support costs as the reason.
That is the next factor, the cost of providing the service. To be able to keep pace with all software that is out there requires constant training and upgradation of systems and all that costs cash. There is also the cost of operating vehicles, insurance, the general business costs and it all adds up quickly. Training and experience is what separates the $15/hr computer technician from the one who charges $100/hr.
The final point this discussion leads to, is the cost of the service or repair. Computers, once they are one to two years old, are not worth more than what a repair would cost. In the case of software, some hours of software troubleshooting can cost more than the software itself. So what are the cost options of a computer service company? They can’t afford not to charge for what needs to be charged. They can absorb the costs but not for too long as then they would be out of business. They can cut back on the quality of service and people but that won’t be good for the customers.
As a computer user, your choices are to fix problems yourself in a DIY manner, contact the vendor’s technical support, or pay your local computer repair outfit. It can be a Catch-22 situation for both the technician and the consumer. No matter which way is adopted it will cost them both. This is the modern face of offering computer service as a business.