Virgin Digital Help

Virgin group launch their first UK venture for three years, a partnership with Sutherland Global Services to help consumers get more from their PC’s, broadband and phones.

Digital Help

is available via a PC application or over the phone with an off-shore operator. Scans and general advice, plus a few services such as anti-virus software are available for free, but most problem resolution will need a £2.99 subscription to be paid first. Home visits can also be arranged, but the cost can be in excess of £90 for an hour. The dummies guide to ‘connecting things with stuff’ market has a few competitors already. Similar services are available from Tech Guys, Geek Squad and Gadget Helpline, sometimes bundled with mobile offers.

Yesterday a friend who works in third-line tech support had to deal with a torrent of abuse from a customer requesting support for a third-party application on an old HTC device. Nobody had advertised or implied compatibility of the app with the phone, but operator, app supplier and manufacturer were all trying to help - for free. It was taking time, but the customer refused to wait for 72 hours for a reply. Three days would be ridiculous for a standard query, but is it unreasonable when supporting a two year old device with a new application?

Customers get a great deal of value from service representatives, usually at no charge. I hope the cost of independent technical support will nudge them towards showing a little more patience and understanding when queries are complex or unusual.

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