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166 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 148495 21-Jun-2014 00:35
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Let me preface this with, I really don't want this to be a support bash or a customer bash, I'm not looking to apportion blame merely decide if a resolution is possible.
I would also like to start with a big thank you to helpful and knowledgable support staff, you are priceless, not many have the mental strength to do what you do.

I'm sure we've all been there you, have a problem, you try to fix it it's obvious that it is something wrong beyond your control... For example your internet is down.

Now you have to phone tech support. Often your fobbed off by someone who either cares less than you or knows less than you.
Now obviously you have to start at the beginning and work through a problem from the basics, there is a lot of silly customers out there who it seems are trying to make things difficult or piss you off. There are also a lot of seemingly knowledgable people that forget to check the basics and need reminding. The real issues seem to start when you start to exhaust the support persons knowledge, they seem to get les and less helpful instead off finding out if someone else can help you.
Just this week I have dealt with the full range of support staff from downright insulting and rude to the exceptionally helpful and truly knowledgable.

Is this solely a personality issue? (On either side)
Is it human nature?
Is it an issue with company/industry policy?


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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1071384 21-Jun-2014 00:48
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I would say a mix of Company and personality.
If a support person is out right rude, might want to raise that.
Strange topic. Worded like you are leading on an experience and about to comment on a company but its in off topic so no direct association. :)

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1071409 21-Jun-2014 06:09
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Comes from (mostly) outsourced call centres where they hire based on anything other than the employees technical knowledge.
And often they are not aware of outages for ages which also doesn't help.

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1071414 21-Jun-2014 08:08
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Support centers are a damned if you do and damned if you don't environment. Unfortunately they've grown out of a need to cater for the lowest common denominator, so have to be able to deal with a lot of mundane and basic stuff. Doing that maynot require a high technical skill or knowledge, but at the other end of the customer support chain you need some techie types who have a greater understanding of the system and are capable of dealing with the geeks and folk whove done a bit of analysis on their issue before they call.
As a customer calling in you've got no way of selecting who you talk to skill wise, just as call center staff can't vet you to get the issues they're better to deal with. Soo.... there's a standardized script which might wind you up, and wide and varried replies which frustrate them.
At each extreme there's dissatisfaction but in the middle majority the outcomes are ok.
Bit like living happily ever after

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  Reply # 1071433 21-Jun-2014 09:14
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I tend to run it one of two ways: either make sure everything you know they're going to ask for is provided in the initial contact (in which case it won't make things any faster but at least you have the satisfaction of replying 'that information was in the first email I sent you, have you had a chance to read it yet?' Or politely pretend you're following their script over the phone until you get to the end and then insist the problem be escalated.

Best result: did that back in the olden days of Windows 95 and Microsoft built in mail client. Pretended to follow along; got escalated to an ISP tech, told him I was running Linux and Netscape, and that the response to XYZ Pop3 command was ABC, and he said 'Oh right, I know what that is, it'll be fixed in 5 minutes.'




iPad Air + iPhone SE + 2degrees 4tw!

These comments are my own and do not represent the opinions of 2degrees.


gzt

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  Reply # 1071436 21-Jun-2014 09:17
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I worked for a technical call centre a long time ago. The line manager on the next level up handles escalation. Any tech attempting an escalation got 3rd degree questioning in a very unpleasant and personal way. Technically that is irrelevant, but the end result was that the less confident techs (the majority it turns out) avoided escalation by any means even after all the work that could be done was done. So the customer calls back and essentially has to repeat the same actions over and over again any number of times until..

On a subsequent random call the customer either or:
1. Gets one of the relatively few confident people who will escalate. (or who can recognise the real issues and solve the problem)
2. Begins to take up all the call time talking about the history and refusing to perform any actions.
3. Just loses it completely and begins essentially yelling down the phone and being really unpleasant with everyone.

You get a similar dynamic in any environment where nobody wants to look bad by escalating or there is some kind of escalation or assistance metric in place for assessing tech performance.

Later on in my career somewhere else as part of a development team it was sometimes my task to work with the few and far between customers who got development access at the end of a similar process. Almost without exception they were ropeable by this time and I had to spend the first 15 minutes explaining they had finally reached the end of the matrix ; ) before we could have a productive and entertaining technical session.

For one reason or another this is a worldwide problem and affects both in house and outsourced tech support in my experience.

Is there an answer to how to get tech support as a technical person?

My technique? Respect everybody, just call back and get someone different from the queue.

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  Reply # 1071442 21-Jun-2014 09:30
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We all have account numbers or identifiers, it'd be nice if you could earn some kind of status over time. Perhaps when I phone the call centre, my account could display a "NOT AN IDIOT" status, and someone else could have an "ESCALATE IF REQUESTED" status.




Location: Dunedin

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  Reply # 1071462 21-Jun-2014 10:04
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andrewNZ: We all have account numbers or identifiers, it'd be nice if you could earn some kind of status over time. Perhaps when I phone the call centre, my account could display a "NOT AN IDIOT" status, and someone else could have an "ESCALATE IF REQUESTED" status.


Trust me, when I worked on the support desk we had notes on many accounts ;) , typically warning the next CSR what to expect.

The truth is that while many people may consider themselves experts, that is typically in the context of their friends and family or work colleges, not industry. Years on and I'm an Engineer now, the number of 'real experts' I deal with is close to zero.





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BigPipe

  Reply # 1071479 21-Jun-2014 10:11
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Email support is the way forward here IMHO.

1) you can put a lot of technical info into the email - so the person who picks it up can tell immediately that you are techy. You can also tell them easily what you have already tried (restarting modem etc) so they know not to ask you again.

2) because they don't have to respond instantly, they can go away and run various diagnostics without you waiting on the phone, or if it's something they don't know, get help from a supervisor etc without putting you on hold. Sometimes these diagnostics take quite some time, so waiting on hold is just a waste of your time.

That's how we operate.

One of the main things we emphasis to our helpdesk people is to interpret how techy the person is based on their initial email. So if their email is just 'my broadband is down, help please!' Avd doesn't contain any other information, we know to start right from the beginning with basic troubleshooting.

If their email contains more info, like modem stats, tracerts or whatever is appropriate, and lists the things they have already tried like modem restarts, checking jack points etc, then we know that the person probably knows what they are talking about, so we can move onto the more advanced diagnostics.




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  Reply # 1071489 21-Jun-2014 10:23
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insane:
andrewNZ: We all have account numbers or identifiers, it'd be nice if you could earn some kind of status over time. Perhaps when I phone the call centre, my account could display a "NOT AN IDIOT" status, and someone else could have an "ESCALATE IF REQUESTED" status.


Trust me, when I worked on the support desk we had notes on many accounts ;) , typically warning the next CSR what to expect.

The truth is that while many people may consider themselves experts, that is typically in the context of their friends and family or work colleges, not industry. Years on and I'm an Engineer now, the number of 'real experts' I deal with is close to zero.

Which is why I suggest the status is earned.

I don't (or at least try not to) pretend to be an expert, or that I deserve escalation on request, far from it. As you say, compared to most of the people I know (and many CSR's), I'm bloody clever, compared to top level tech support, I'm a mildly retarded gibbon.




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  Reply # 1071495 21-Jun-2014 10:28
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in all my time with Snap i have never been told to reset the modem etc , in fact some of the questions and answers get really technical and i wonder if they are like that with every caller or can they tell the clueless ones. I like it because it seems they are really trying to find the answer and if they dont know i often get put on hold while they find out.

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  Reply # 1071627 21-Jun-2014 12:47
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andrewNZ:
insane:
andrewNZ: We all have account numbers or identifiers, it'd be nice if you could earn some kind of status over time. Perhaps when I phone the call centre, my account could display a "NOT AN IDIOT" status, and someone else could have an "ESCALATE IF REQUESTED" status.


Trust me, when I worked on the support desk we had notes on many accounts ;) , typically warning the next CSR what to expect.

The truth is that while many people may consider themselves experts, that is typically in the context of their friends and family or work colleges, not industry. Years on and I'm an Engineer now, the number of 'real experts' I deal with is close to zero.

Which is why I suggest the status is earned.

I don't (or at least try not to) pretend to be an expert, or that I deserve escalation on request, far from it. As you say, compared to most of the people I know (and many CSR's), I'm bloody clever, compared to top level tech support, I'm a mildly retarded gibbon.

Only works if the CSR actually reads the notes.
I had a home fone wireless unit for a while, first question CSR would ask "what is your PIN?". As I didn't want a pin on what was effectively a home line I wasn't interested in creating one and had it noted that I didn't have one, didnt want one, and not to ask.
Did it make a difference? No.
But I did enjoy answering that question with "if you read the answer to that question we'll both be less grumpy"

gzt

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  Reply # 1071633 21-Jun-2014 12:58
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Some of the CRM software in use can make it difficult in practice to read any customer specific notes in the normal flow of a call. Different area of the application to the case notes.

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