capsule review

SupportSpace Tech Support Service

At a Glance
  • SupportSpace, Ltd. SupportSpace

    PCWorld Rating

    This Web-based service delivers immediate fixes for your PC woes.

SupportSpace hopes to do for tech support what Amazon.com did for buying books. The online service allows you to browse available tech-support options on the Web and then choose one, right from your desktop. On SupportSpace you can browse the profiles of nearly 130 tech-support specialists before hiring a person to fix your PC. I found the selection of technicians impressive, and their ability to help me solve problems was excellent.

To use the service, you simply type in an explanation of the problem you want to solve--providing as much or as little detail as you like, initially. You then receive a list of technician profiles that state each person's areas of expertise, technical certification (every SupportSpace tech has a level of pro certification), customer ratings, and fees. Each technician sets their own prices, which range from 75 cents per minute to $99 a "session."

Every profile includes an icon that indicates whether the technician is online and available to help; the goal is to provide immediate assistance, so you're allowed to contact only the technicians who aren't otherwise occupied. Technicians work remotely, stepping you through a fix via a text-based chat window or a phone call, or asking your permission to take control of your desktop over the Internet.

I asked a technician to help me correct a conflict between an older application and a DVD video encoder; my problem was solved, and all of the interaction happened via text chat. One issue I had: My technician had advertised a price of 99 cents per minute, but wanted to negotiate that rate when he agreed to fix my specific problem. He estimated that the repair would take him 25 to 30 minutes, so I agreed to the fee of $25. Ultimately, he needed only about 5 minutes to resolve the issue, but his fix worked well.

Payment to technicians goes through SupportSpace, which acts as an escrow service. SupportSpace holds payment until you are completely satisfied with the tech-support session. The site encourages users to post feedback and rate the technicians they use, and it offers a money-back guarantee.

I did have a few quibbles with the service: SupportSpace lacks the ability to save chat transcripts. It also offers no way to send an e-mail to your support technicians for follow-up questions after they've provided a fix.

Overall, SupportSpace is a good option for anyone frustrated by traditional telephone tech support hassles, such as long hold times and dealing with multiple tech staffers to fix one problem.

--Tom Spring

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    This Web-based service delivers immediate fixes for your PC woes.

    Pros

    • Good selection of tech support technicians
    • Immediate help offered

    Cons

    • Can't save chat transcripts
    • Fees can vary
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