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Paying for premium tech support calls

 Somewhere within Dante's nine circles of hell is the tech support phone call.

     Now, that may be overstating the annoyance factor just a bit.

     But a set of random interviews conducted at the Walden Galleria and a request for comments from my Facebook friends showed me one thing: A lot of people have had truly awful tech-support experiences.

     If it's not the hard-to-negotiate automated menu, or the long wait times, it's the struggle for the less-than-tech-savvy to explain the issue to a rep who may not speak English well.

     A lot of computer owners turn to the tech reps at a bricks-and-mortar retailer, to a locally owned repair shop or to Internet chat rooms to get better help.

     Now, in response, the giant computer manufacturer Dell - a frequent target of complaints I heard - is offering a premium service package for its customers.

     People willing to pay extra are promised they'll deal with a North American tech rep, they can arrange to get the same person every time and they'll have a short wait to reach someone.

     Will the 'Your Tech Team' service prove popular with customers? Would you be willing to pay extra for customer service if you were assured it was a higher-quality program?
     And what are your best - or worst - tech support experiences?
     - Stephen T. Watson

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