Tales from support Hell

I like to think of myself as a fairly calm, patient, and rational person.  (oh ok, most of the time)  I currently work support for a fairly large organization in the heath field.  We are talking about 5000 PCs total.  My job is mainly doing phone support and triaging issues that can be handled without physical contact by one of our other techs.  I do like my job, but sometimes there are callers that make me just want to really just tell them they have no business using this equipment.  Usually, I have no trouble handling these calls.  The stress occurs when I get several in one 4 hour block of time.  Here are 2 examples:

These stories are true, and I truly wished they weren’t.  the names are not used to protect my job….

Support Case 1:

User:   Hi, um my Monitor isn’t working… I can’t see anything, the screen is dark.

Me:  ok, well lets see what we can do to help you out. I will need some information to get the ball rolling here… do you know the PC name?  It should be printed on a white label on the lower left corner of the screen.

User:  um… *pause while he mutters something* Viewsonic 1730….

Me:  well sir, that is actually the brand of the monitor.  The PC name I am looking for is usually a combination of letters and numbers that start out with the floor or section you are in like “ITxxxx”.

User:   I see a white sticker here that says to call Technical Support at extension:  <ext omitted>.

Me:  Yes well that is our extension here.  Let’s move on and see if there is a way I can help you without the computer name.  On the lower right corner of the monitor should be a button with a light.  What color is it?

User:  blinking orange or yellow…

Me:  ok, can you press the button for me? (this would bring this model of monitor out of sleep mode and check for signals if need be)

User:  well now it is black.  That didn’t work.

Me:  well lets hit the button again.  It should go back to the orange light again.

User:   well it is blinking.

Me:  That is what we want.  Does anything come up on the screen?

User:  it doesn’t show anything but a box that kinda bounces around that says “Looking for Signal”.

Me:  Ok, sir… can I have you check the computer…  *user cuts me off*

User:  the big box thing on the wall?

Me:  yes sir.  There should be a round button on the front of it.  Can you tell me if there are any lights on the front of the computer that are lit up?

User:  Nope

Me:  ok, can you find the power button and press it for me?  It should be in the middle of the front panel.  When you press it you will see the green light come on and hear the fans kick in.

User:  Oh now my monitor is working!

Me:  Thank you for calling sir, hope you have a great day.

:: I mute my phone and proceed to pound my head on my desk ::

Support Case 2:

**note:  We have a staff of volunteers here that helps out in a variety of ways.  Most of them are older and kinda remind me of my grandmother.   We were told to make sure to lay things out very plainly for most of them.  The problem is, well… you will see…**

Me:  thank you for calling, what can I help you with today?

User:  well I cannot log into the computer, it says my password is wrong.

Me:  Ok, well we will start at the beginning, have you recently changed your password?

User:  No, I have had this password for a month now.

Me:  ok, no problem, can I have to check to make sure your Caps Lock is off since our passwords are case sensitive?

User:  I am not sure if it is or not.  How do you tell?

Me:  Well toward the upper right of your keyboard is a logo for Dell, just above that logo there would be a green light that is an “A” in a box.  Is that light on?

User:  I can’t tell.

Me:  Ok, well can I have you press the “Caps Lock” button a couple of times, and if it is working right you will see the light go on and off as you press the button.  I just want to make sure the keyboard is being seen by the computer.

User:  I can’t tell where that button is…

Me:  The “caps lock” button is on the far left of the keyboard on the last column of keys in the middle.  Do you see that key?

User:  No, I just had eye surgery and can’t see much.  I can barely see the screen.

Me:   Did you get clearance to come back to work?  I know monitors can really cause eye strain and I am not sure how that will affect your recovery.

User:   I haven’t talked to my doctor about this.  I just came back.  I have a job to do!

Me:  Ok, well the problem we have is I am not allowed to enter in other people’s passwords even if they request it due to security restrictions.  I understand you have a job to do, but not being able to actually read the screen may make it kind of difficult.  You may want to see if the volunteer coordinator to see what to do next.  I can unlock you acct and that is about it in this situation.

User:  well for a help desk, you aren’t very helpful.

Me:  I am sorry, but we have limits to what we are allowed to do because of security precautions.  We can reset passwords but the only passwords we know are related to our personal accounts or for our job function.   If there is anything else I can do, please let me know.

User:  you can log into my pc. Here is my password … **user starts to say it**

Me:  I cannot do that ma’am.  If I were to log you in, I would most likely lose my job.  If someone else at the volunteer desk wants to enter your password for you, that is their choice.  If there is anything else I can do please let me know.

User:  no,  you aren’t much help at all **hangs up phone**

I goto aftercall and just try to forget this call.

A Note in closing:

Please be kind to your support people.  They put up with a lot of sh*t, and even though you may be frustrated at a particular issue, chances are they have had a TON of “frustrated user’s “calls.  And in addition, these jobs just don’t pay as much as they should.

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~ by gramstead on October 13, 2009.

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