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Tech Support Often Causes ‘Computer Stress Syndrome’

April 28, 2010

Almost two-thirds of North American computer users have had to contact technical support and experienced a condition known as Computer Stress Syndrome (CSS) over the past year, according to the results of a new study released Tuesday.

“Combating Computer Stress Syndrome: Barriers and Best Practices in Tech Support,” a report compiled by the Chief Marketing Officer Council’s Customer Experience Board, involved the interviewing of 1,000 men and women in an attempt to find the source of their computer-related frustrations and find effective ways to deal with issues and keep users satisfied.

“Today’s digitally-dependent consumers are increasingly overwhelmed and upset with technical glitches and problems in their daily lives,” the report said. It also noted that the primary sources of irritation included “frustrating, complex computers and devices, technical failures, viral infections, and long waits to resolve support issues.”

“Digitally dependent users are getting fed up and frustrated with the current state of computer related stress, and clearly looking for a better way to address and reduce it,” the study added. “Users face a continuous state of technical anxiety and challenge such as setting up new computer products, keeping up with software upgrades and migrating to new applications and operating systems, as well as dealing with malware infections, web threats, identity theft and more.”

According to the board’s findings, 62-percent of the 94-percent of North Americans who are regular computer users had contacted technical support within a 12 month span–although many described it as a last resort for dealing with issues, preferring instead to try and fix the problem on their own or with the assistance of a friend or family member.

Thirteen percent rated the quality of their tech support as either “poor” or “terrible,” with major issues including the inability of professionals to solve the problem, the limited linguistic skills of their support professional, or the cost of the assistance.

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