I've felt like this about customer service - during my ReplayTV extravaganza, for instance. This is one of the things that makes me wonder about the whole outsourcing trend - the people you get on the phone have virtually no power. Realistically, the phone support people in-house never had tons of power either, but there were two things they had going for them:
- They worked directly for the vendor in question, so they had some stake in the vendor's success. Meaning, the liklihood that they actually cared was higher
- There was at least some chance that they actually knew some of the developers/engineers/whatever. Or managers in those groups. In other words, they could use personal contacts to gain some soft power
Now look at what the remote phone support people have. No tie to the company. No personal relationships to leverage. No real power - either soft or hard - instead, just an inflexible set of rules to follow. IMHO, this is one of the reasons that tech support is bad, and getting worse. There are real cost savings in outsourcing this stuff - but the soft costs incurred by having a powerless remote staff that doesn't care are potentially huge.