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Cheers - AE

Monday, 11 January 2010

A message to people who work in tech support.

Hello people who work in tech support, I have something I want to discuss with you. Now this isn't really aimed at those people who solve complex computer problems while stirring their coffee and can configure networks as casually and instinctively as some of us draw breath. No, I'm talking to the people who man the telephone help desks in some call centre fuck knows where who work off a script. I have a few requests for you.

First I have a couple of points I want to make to the management. Number one, Windows isn't the only operating system in the fucking universe, okay? There are enough of us Mac users to justify you hiring a couple of people who don't run screaming from the fucking building if the person on the phone mentions the letters O, S and X. I'd argue that this applies to Linux as well even though I get the impression Linux users are a pretty competent bunch who don't need some minimum wage script reader's help to diagnose a problem. However, when the problem is that something has gone tits up under warranty you know that somewhere along the line some cunt is going to ask if you phoned tech support and if not why not, so it would be rather nice if doing so wasn't a total waste of time and, since toll free numbers are starting to become a fucking endangered species, money. Second, even if Windows was the only operating system in the universe it would be useful if your staff (or the scripts they read from) were up to date. Nothing makes you look more like a bunch of fucking amateurs when the person calling mentions that they have a very new version of Windows and the call centre wage slave hasn't a fucking clue how to direct them to get a particular dialogue box or something, particularly if it's essentially exactly the same as it was in the previous version of Windows. Windows 7 was not a fucking secret, okay? Now someone go and tell those poor fuckers you've got chained to the oars downstairs. Write another crib sheet if you must, but don't keep up the farce of the fucking tech support guy on the phone asking the fucking customer how to do things any longer, especially now that every new PC is fucking shipping with the bastard, eh?

Now to the wage slaves. I know you're not paid enough to give a shit, and I know that it isn't technically feasible for someone to reach down the telephone line, jab your eyes out and pour your no doubt shithouse quality coffee into the sockets, but for Christ's sake just try, huh? Start by getting a pencil and a notepad and use it to take notes on what the people phoning you are telling you. Then when someone tells you that they've already tried A, B, and C and it hasn't got them anywhere you won't waste any more of their time by asking them to first try A, and when that fails try B, and when that fails too try C. Refer to your notes (the ubertalented of you could just pay fucking attention), attempt some kindergarten level fucking initiative and go straight to D. In a similar vein when dealing with someone who has a little experience and has not only anticipated what you're going to want opened for tweaking next but tells you as soon as you mention it, it's probably redundant to begin with the instruction to click the Start button. This is because they'd have fucking done that to get to where they just told you they were right after you said you wanted them to go there. What you're doing is like a bus driver telling passengers who ask about what stop to get off at for connecting services to go back to the fucking depot and start from there. It's intensely annoying - stop fucking doing it.

And stop beginning every sentence with 'okay'. It's not okay, okay? If it was okay we wouldn't have called and sat through the annoying hold music just to talk to some desperately under-prepared wage slave whose bosses haven't trained him to do more than read and parrot instructions for possibly inapplicable operating systems. If it was okay the product we're calling about would probably be working correctly.

And yes, this personal plea does come as a direct result of buying a new router and spending several hours trying to configure the bastard thing in 42 degree heat with, for want of a better word, the help of several different and equally annoying tech support staff, finally to be told that the shitting, fucking, cunting, bastard thing is probably cactus and that I need to return it. Which is a possibility I brought up about twenty minutes (including menus and hold music) into the first phone call.

I'm not going to get this afternoon back, you know. Thanks a fucking bunch, you cock chomping arseholes. I hope a cat shits in your breakfast.


JuliaM said...

Well, to be fair to them, they do have to put up with a hell of a lot from the vast majority of technologically-challenged people out there. As a glance at any one of those amusing 'Calls to the Helpdesk' email funnies floating around will show.

I just wish they'd find some way of filtering out the hopeless from the competent-but-have-hit-a-problem callers. Maybe a test?

Angry Exile said...

Oh yes, I do realise that and I agree that they could do with some kind of filter system, but that's kind of my point. A little attention paid in the early stages of the call, maybe a few notes taken about what the caller has already tried, and the application of some initiative on the part of the help desk geezer would be the filter. When someone calls and says the cupholder on their PC is stuck you don't need to know that they've just destroyed the optical drive's disc tray to know that you're dealing with a complete fucktard. But when someone calls and explains the problem in terms that drop a fucking atom bomb sized hint that they have experience in trying to do whatever it is they have a problem with, plus a detailed list of what they've already tried to solve it, it's a waste of time to (a) get them to repeat most or all of those steps just because their fucking crib sheet says so and (b) explaining how to do it in the 'this is a mouse' style language of a beginners' computer classroom.

And what I said about the cunts believing that Windows runs the bloody universe will probably hold till the end of time. Bastards.

microdave said...

You should be thankful that HP don't make Macs....

Angry Exile said...

microdave, you sound like an embittered HP customer. Don't get too jealous though. I don't make a secret of the fact that while I like the computers I'm not the biggest fan of Apple as a company. My experience of their after sales care is that it sucks arse. Seriously. Could HP possibly be any worse than Apple? Actually, what am I saying? It's HP we're talking about - of course they could be worse than Apple. To paraphrase Churchill, Apple is the worst computer company apart from all the other ones.

microdave said...

"microdave, you sound like an embittered HP customer.

Got it in one!

Just a small matter of cooling fans. The one on my HP laptop has a variable speed, depending on CPU load. Except that it only works if the machine has been booted normally. Put it into standby or hibernation, and when you bring it back out again it runs at whatever speed it was previously working at!

Not very clever if I then give it some work to do...

It turns out this is a well known problem that they seem unwilling or incapable of fixing. When I first realised what was happening over 6 months ago I found an identical complaint on their "Business Support" site - yet despite this being a year old, it had not received so much as a response, let alone a solution.

Since then I've exchanged numerous email and phone conversations with some guy in (presumably?) India. I have been through the usual "reading from a script", and even when I sent a very detailed email with screen shots, their reply showed that they simply didn't read it, or failed to understand....

At their behest I installed a benchmarking utility which ran a VERY thorough test and produced a huge report. And yet they claim to be unable to reproduce the fault in their workshop.

They keep asking me to return it, but having been advised they will almost certainly replace it, I have said no, as I can't be arsed to spend a couple of days re-installing all my files, and programmes etc.

Other blogs & forums suggest that it is almost certainly a mainboard driver issue, and I feel they should be able to issue new software which I can easily download, and install myself.

The last reply from them was well before Christmas, and to be frank I don't think it's worth me calling them again - I'll just put up with inconvenience....

Not surprisingly I won't be buying anything else with the "HP" name tag!

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