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Old 07-06-2016, 02:07 PM
 
Location: Whittier
3,007 posts, read 5,208,438 times
Reputation: 3041

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I think the article rests it's key point on a huge assumption:

People think they are more technologically savvy because they use more technology...but in reality the paradigm didn't shift just the vocabulary did. The terms have just shifted...not one's knowledge. Most people still wouldn't know how to set the time on a VCR. In part, because the basis for troubleshooting lies in logical patterns that can be applied to any field; electronics, car repair, computers and if you have that basis, then you could diagnose, if not solve a majority of your problems.

Sure one can look up things in a YouTube video, but even that is a skill; what terms and knowing how the problem manifests or is affecting other things. As much as I rely on Google for these sorts of things, I still have an inquisitive mind of wanting to know how something works; and many people either don't want to do that, or just don't care.

Granted the help desk monkey knows literally nothing except for how to read a script, but that's almost always been the case. Add to the fact that some of these company systems are closed or proprietary and that these companies can give you the run around for a majority of the time...and that just plain sucks, because you're at their whim.

That and a majority of these "tech support" help/call desk people are tied to SALES, and will try to keep you on the line, to NOT cancel, to pay for prority or just to plain up sell; and that's too bad.

However if it's truly a technical problem, once escalated to 2nd, 3rd or even 4th tier and is actually a technical problem, this actually shows competency on both sides of the dialog. The user has to know more than the 1st tier at this point, and I'd argue that most times the user thinks they do, but really they don't; they're just angry and want to talk to a better line of support.

EDIT: So in the end, I try to limit my time with these companies/people. And I do that in part by knowing what I know.
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Old 07-06-2016, 02:23 PM
 
2,715 posts, read 3,006,243 times
Reputation: 1230
"That and a majority of these "tech support" help/call desk people are tied to SALES, and will try to keep you on the line, to NOT cancel, to pay for prority or just to plain up sell; and that's too bad." (harhar)

I ran into that once. She was determined to sell me something and simply refused to get on with helping me. She set my computer to scanning for viruses and proceded with her sales pitch. When I protested, she just kept telling me my computer was loaded with viruses. Then she'd start on things I should buy. Do they perhaps get a bonus for selling? I did write and ask the company but they did not reply. That answered me. The next day another support person found the real problem in just a few minutes. The hard drive was failing. We replaced that and all was well. It was also the last computer I bought from that company.
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Old 07-06-2016, 03:53 PM
 
Location: Wandering.
3,547 posts, read 5,683,767 times
Reputation: 2664
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hazel W View Post
Then she'd start on things I should buy. Do they perhaps get a bonus for selling?
I have a friend who worked for tech support @ AT&T for a while (DLS / Cable IIRC). His job was to sell things (Wireless, higher tiered cable packages, internet, etc). He had a very short amount of time allotted to actually trying to help fix the problem (a few minutes per customer on average), and the only metric that the company cared about was the sales.

So it wasn't even about bonuses, his job was to sell you something if you called for tech support.
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Old 07-06-2016, 03:53 PM
 
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
11,849 posts, read 13,978,818 times
Reputation: 8083
That's actually a good point Harhar.

I had someone ask em one time
"Aren't you worried as MS (and others) make things easier and easier with each OS, you will be needed less?"
Actually it's just the opposite. When everything seems so simple on top, and doesn't have as many problems, 'regular people' don't try and fix things as often... Make things easier and people rely MORE on support... not less.
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Old 07-06-2016, 04:00 PM
 
Location: Wandering.
3,547 posts, read 5,683,767 times
Reputation: 2664
Quote:
Originally Posted by harhar View Post

Granted the help desk monkey knows literally nothing except for how to read a script, but that's almost always been the case. Add to the fact that some of these company systems are closed or proprietary and that these companies can give you the run around for a majority of the time...and that just plain sucks, because you're at their whim.

This is a super important point here.

In many cases first level tech support people aren't geeks, techies, or necessarily great at solving problems, and likely don't know much more than you do.

They're reading a script, and trying to go down a list of possible solutions in that script to solve your problem. They exist to solve the super simple problems so that the higher level tech support people only have to handle more complex problems (since the higher level techs are generally in short supply, and cost more money).

The first level support staff that are capable / techies / problem solvers, are generally moved up into higher levels of tech support after a short period of time.
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Old 07-07-2016, 08:26 AM
 
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
11,849 posts, read 13,978,818 times
Reputation: 8083
Maybe consumer facing support, but not internal office support. I was internal help desk for about 4 months, we had no script.
Just skillz.
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Old 07-07-2016, 08:55 AM
 
Location: Wandering.
3,547 posts, read 5,683,767 times
Reputation: 2664
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peregrine View Post
Maybe consumer facing support, but not internal office support. I was internal help desk for about 4 months, we had no script.
Just skillz.
Different animal most of the time, and this largely depends upon the size of the company (the companies in the OP are massive, with extremely large public facing support groups).

We're a very small company (less than a dozen employees, and a half dozen re-sellers / VARs), with ~1500 active installations in North America

Our first tier support people are the same ones that configure and install the systems, so they know the hardware and software inside and out (and generally know the customers by name). We do have hardware and software specific people in our organization, but they end up supporting both ends and each other internally.

Our second tier support are the software developers / owners.
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