Sure, they’ve heard the complaints and jokes about Indian accents. Yes, they know that when your computer is broken, you can’t always go online for the help you need to fix it. But the era of personal service outsourcing is here, and iYogi, a new service based in India, said it has already attracted 25,000 customers to its subscription technical support service — most of them American. If you’re a Web worker who doesn’t have ready access to corporate IT support, iYogi could become your next best buddy, for $99.99 a year.
According to president Vishal Dhar, the 300-person firm wants to be the first direct-to-consumer tech support brand in India. “We saw this as an opportunity. The consumer is frustrated with their machine. There’s a pulling back of support [by the major vendors]. It’s difficult for a consumer to know who to call: ‘Should I call McAfee because it’s security? Should I call Dell because it’s a hardware thing?'”
The company said it supports 70-plus applications, as well as laptops, desktop PCs and peripherals such as printers and multi-functional devices. Note that those are Windows-based at the moment. This isn’t the road for you to follow if you’re on a Mac or running Linux. But for the rest of us, the connect time to speak to a service person is under a minute and iYogi reports a 93% customer satisfaction rate and 84% resolution rate. It estimates that 90% of computer problems can be fixed online.
The service works like this: The first time you call the toll-free phone number, the company takes inventory of your system to understand what the configuration is, and that goes into your profile. The next time you call with a problem, the tech brings up your profile to know the baseline immediately and to find out what could have changed in the meantime to cause the current issue.
The company has automated the capture of all voice and data-related sessions to expand its knowledgebase. There’s no residual agent technology involved; the technician tunnels into your machine for the duration of the support call. Once the problem has been identified and presumably resolved, the company does follow-up by email seven days later to see if the trouble persists.
Eventually, said Dhar, the company wants to become more proactive with its support. That would require monitoring your computer so that it’ll alert iYogi when certain thresholds are met that show sub-optimal performance. But that, he acknowledged, is not a one-time fix and it requires a trust relationship with the client.
More promising are services catering to small businesses and to those who want to “green” their PC.
The Small Business Helpdesk costs $93.99 per computer per year. The support is the same. What’s different is the fact that the company will dedicate a particular technician to your account — akin to your business having a tech support person on staff.
In the second category, for $9.99 you can get an energy audit of your current system, along with a customized plan to tailor your PC’s configuration for your kind of usage — primarily to take advantage of power management.
Additional Technical Support Offerings for Web Workers
Have you tried iYogi? What do you think?