Automated Reply Customer Support Emails

I do not understand the logic behind automatic replies for customer support emails.  Of course, these are usually used by companies that don’t list a customer support phone number on their web site, and the only way to contact them is through a form on their site (they also usually don’t even list an email address).

I have never, ever received an automated response that was in anyway useful.  Maybe this is because I’m more advanced than the typical user, and I’ve already tried all the troubleshooting steps that any automated reply would list.  But maybe, just maybe, it’s because automated reply emails are completely useless!!

What’s worse is, not only do they not achieve anything, but they invariably will end up pissing people off.  It’s just a impediment in the way of getting actual help for your problem. I find nothing more annoying than typing in a detailed account of a very specific problem, only to get a response that has nothing to do with the problem described.

So, why in the world would a company subject their customers to this?  Are they really cutting down, in any major way, the number of support tickets they have to actually deal with by doing this?  And, even if they are, is not interfacing directly with your customers really worth it?  Is the number of customers you’re surely going to anger really worth not having to deal with those few who are actually going to be helped by the automated response?

I just don’t get it.