Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => All In A Day's Work => Topic started by: MamaMootz on January 26, 2011, 04:02:37 PM

Title: Need Help with Techies
Post by: MamaMootz on January 26, 2011, 04:02:37 PM
I am having an issue and am a bit perplexed on how to go about it at work.

I am pretty technical. I have worked with computers for most of my career, and it's been longer than 15 years, so I know the ins and outs of a lot of different programs. I'm also very familiar with the operations of office equipment.

Whenever I call tech support over here to come and fix something, they automatically assume I don't know anything about technology and insist on giving me fixes that I've already tried. They do this every time. Even though I tell them that I already tried that. It's getting so that when I make a help desk call for something, I end up going 5 or 6 rounds with the person before the issue gets fixed. It's annoying to me, and I'm sure it's annoying to them as well. There is also a language barrier involved, as my entire organization is almost another group who are not entirely fluent in English, so whenever I place a techology based request, I always do it via e-mail.

I realize that IT and tech support help folks have to deal with some people who don't know anything about technology, and they need to assume that the person they are speaking with is that person for simplicity's sake. I'm not that person, though.

Is there a way I can head this off at the pass in a polite way? I'm sure they don't want me to be going round and round with them and I'd like to avoid the entire thing.
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: VorFemme on January 26, 2011, 04:21:39 PM
Twice, it has taken me three phone calls to convice the tech that "it won't turn on, I've tried rebooting it already" before I was able to convince them that I was capable of turning the computer off and back on - but if the screen is still BLACK, then the computer is not working (both computers were sent back to their respective manufacturers - but it took three or more phone calls to go up the line to the second and third tier techs).

I had a second computer next to me - the second time I got sent a special "diagnostic" file to put on a flash drive and run so that the guy on the phone would know what was going on.............he thought I should hang up and call back.  I insisted on keeping him on the phone until he LISTENED when I told him that the computer was still not booting up and I had tried three times with the flash drive, copied it to a CD & tried again - NOTHING was happening...............

It is almost like they are so sure that everyone who calls in is an idjit that they aren't really listening............although a couple of the techs did have a heav accent and there might also have been an issue with them not understanding me - as I am pretty sure the "it's not doing anything - all I can see on the screen is my own reflection as the laptop is NOT booting up" was not on their decision tree script.

But I did get both of them fixed............eventually..........

I also learned that even telling the tech that you've already unplugged the modem, unplugged the router, plugged the computer directly into the modem, and you still aren't getting a connection doesn't guarantee that they won't walk you through the same series of steps (twice) while they are on the phone - and clearly expecting you to reply "yes. it's working NOW" after they have followed the sequence of events that you just told them you'd already done.

While we were on the phone, they got a trouble ticket and updated - the IPS had damage of some kind with a repair crew on site - so I finally found out that it was not MY connection...........it was the neighborhood's connection.

But I could go on for hours about just the events since we moved here in 2005............previous ISPs, computers, and software companies would triple the time spent telling you that I've BTDT and the t-shirts are worn out.

In short, write down the issue, make sure that YOU are using the correct terms, and get a refreshing beverage - because it may take a while and you will want to keep your temper.  Also - make sure that you won't need a bio or family break any time soon.............snack, bathroom, cordless phone (just in case - headphones will let the family members walking up behind you know that you are busy and ON THE PHONE), and whatever else it takes (notepad, pencil, possibly a flash drive or blank disk - a second WORKING computer just in case they have to send you something by email or direct you to a link for diagnostic software)............

Good luck.
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: Jan74 on January 26, 2011, 04:22:50 PM
Unless you start your call by saying "I've already rebooted etc.", we will tell you to reboot.

I work tech support and it is a habit thing. We will start with the easiest fixes. But when I call my ISP and need their support, for example, I start by stating "I have turned off the modem for 1m, turned it back on, and restarted the computer. The modem admin page shows that I'm having package loss pretty steadily". Saying stuff like that makes them skip the "Have you tried rebooting it?" part.

I'll be honest, even with the clients I deal with that are fairly tech savvy - even the ones running technology businesses - the easy fix works 90% of the time. So that is what we'll rec, unless we know for sure you've already tried it. Oh, and if people say "Reboot one more time", please do it. Don't pretend to do it cause you think a second reboot will do nothing, or start calling the tech support person an ignorant monkey for suggesting something you've already tried. Quite often, it will.
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: Jan74 on January 26, 2011, 04:24:20 PM
VorFemme, that kind of tech you're talking about is really just going through a script of steps they must follow. They don't have the training or the authority to think for themselves.

It sounds like MamaMootz is dealing with techs like me, though, so it is a different situation.

With the script types, all you can do is wait for them to finish the script, until they finally send you to a higher level person.
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: MamaMootz on January 26, 2011, 04:30:04 PM
This is the exchange from today that prompted this post:

Me: Hi, I need to be able to have XYZ's extension forwarded to my line as he has left the company and I'm his backup until a new hire is made to replace him.

Tech Support: Why do you need access to his phone line?

Me: Because he left the company and I'm taking over his role until a replacement is hired.

Tech Support: But we've already transferred his phone line over to you.

Me: No, the phone line is still going right into his voicemail.

Tech Support: ARe you sure? Have you called his extension?

Me: Yes, multiple times from different phones and it's going right into his voicemail. The call needs to come to my phone line.

Tech Support: Have you called his extension from different phones?

Me: Yes. And it's not forwarding to my line.

Tech Support: Hold on, let ME try calling the extension.

I hold on, patiently. Biting my tongue.

Tech Support: Oh, his line is forwarding right to voicemail. Why didn't you say so?

I don't know if there IS a way to avoid this politely. It's very frustrating.
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: Jan74 on January 26, 2011, 04:32:52 PM
This is the exchange from today that prompted this post:

Me: Hi, I need to be able to have XYZ's extension forwarded as he has left the company and I'm his backup until a new hire is made to replace him.

Tech Support: Why do you need access to his phone line?

Me: Because he left the company and I'm taking over his role until a replacement is hired.

Tech Support: But we've already transferred his phone line over to you.

Me: No, the phone line is still going right into his voicemail.

Tech Support: ARe you sure? Have you called his extension?

Me: Yes, multiple times from different phones and it's going right into his voicemail. The call needs to come to my phone line.

Tech Support: Have you called his extension from different phones?

Me: Yes. And it's not forwarding to my line.

Tech Support: Hold on, let ME try calling the extension.

I hold on, patiently. Biting my tongue.

Tech Support: Oh, his line is forwarding right to voicemail. Why didn't you say so?

I don't know if there IS a way to avoid this politely. It's very frustrating.

It is frustrating, but please realize, my clients lie to me blatantly. On a daily basis. They say they've tested it. They say they can't email but Google works fine. They say they've tried it. They say they just rebooted.

So we get in a habit of double-checking stuff, and testing for ourselves. For example, out of every 10 calls of someone who tells me they can't connect to email server, I see 7 of them connected and sending an email from the server side, during the call. So the first thing I do is check, cause I don't believe them.

Working tech support gives you the same view of people that Dr. House has of patients. Everybody lies etc.

Also, it could be a peculiarity with your phone, not with his, so him testing also serves to rule that out.
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: Suze on January 26, 2011, 04:41:21 PM
not a computer tech but a TV tech -- face palm moment

the tv was not working -- snow -- nothing else

Mom was on the phone with the cable people -- when the cat walked out from behind the tv stand

TRAILING THE TV CABLE ON HER TAIL.....

me to Mom -- you need to hang up

Mom to me -- but the tv doesn't work I need to get someone to fix it

Me to Mom - waving the cable around - I can fix this one myself

(opps)  After a couple more times of this I duct taped the stupit cable to the stand
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: Marguette on January 26, 2011, 04:41:42 PM
This is the exchange from today that prompted this post:

Me: Hi, I need to be able to have XYZ's extension forwarded as he has left the company and I'm his backup until a new hire is made to replace him.

Tech Support: Why do you need access to his phone line?

Me: Because he left the company and I'm taking over his role until a replacement is hired.

Tech Support: But we've already transferred his phone line over to you.

Me: No, the phone line is still going right into his voicemail.

Tech Support: ARe you sure? Have you called his extension?

Me: Yes, multiple times from different phones and it's going right into his voicemail. The call needs to come to my phone line.

Tech Support: Have you called his extension from different phones?

Me: Yes. And it's not forwarding to my line.

Tech Support: Hold on, let ME try calling the extension.

I hold on, patiently. Biting my tongue.

Tech Support: Oh, his line is forwarding right to voicemail. Why didn't you say so?

I don't know if there IS a way to avoid this politely. It's very frustrating.
It is frustrating, but please realize, my clients lie to me blatantly. On a daily basis. They say they've tested it. They say they can't email but Google works fine. They say they've tried it. They say they just rebooted.

So we get in a habit of double-checking stuff, and testing for ourselves. For example, out of every 10 calls of someone who tells me they can't connect to email server, I see 7 of them connected and sending an email from the server side, during the call. So the first thing I do is check, cause I don't believe them.

Working tech support gives you the same view of people that Dr. House has of patients. Everybody lies etc.

Also, it could be a peculiarity with your phone, not with his, so him testing also serves to rule that out.

Granted all that, but it’s no excuse or reason for the “Why didn’t you say so?” Then it makes you wonder if he was listening to anything else MamaMootz said.
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: Bramble on January 26, 2011, 04:50:45 PM
This is the exchange from today that prompted this post:

Me: Hi, I need to be able to have XYZ's extension forwarded as he has left the company and I'm his backup until a new hire is made to replace him.

Tech Support: Why do you need access to his phone line?

Me: Because he left the company and I'm taking over his role until a replacement is hired.

Tech Support: But we've already transferred his phone line over to you.

Me: No, the phone line is still going right into his voicemail.

Tech Support: ARe you sure? Have you called his extension?

Me: Yes, multiple times from different phones and it's going right into his voicemail. The call needs to come to my phone line.

Tech Support: Have you called his extension from different phones?

Me: Yes. And it's not forwarding to my line.

Tech Support: Hold on, let ME try calling the extension.

I hold on, patiently. Biting my tongue.

Tech Support: Oh, his line is forwarding right to voicemail. Why didn't you say so?

I don't know if there IS a way to avoid this politely. It's very frustrating.
It is frustrating, but please realize, my clients lie to me blatantly. On a daily basis. They say they've tested it. They say they can't email but Google works fine. They say they've tried it. They say they just rebooted.

So we get in a habit of double-checking stuff, and testing for ourselves. For example, out of every 10 calls of someone who tells me they can't connect to email server, I see 7 of them connected and sending an email from the server side, during the call. So the first thing I do is check, cause I don't believe them.

Working tech support gives you the same view of people that Dr. House has of patients. Everybody lies etc.

Also, it could be a peculiarity with your phone, not with his, so him testing also serves to rule that out.

Granted all that, but it’s no excuse or reason for the “Why didn’t you say so?” Then it makes you wonder if he was listening to anything else MamaMootz said.

He's probably trying to express that MamaMootz sounded like she was making a duplicate request of a ticket that was already completed.  She makes a request, he looks in the system and see the system says its already been done, and thinks she just doesn't realize its been done already.  The first half of the conversation could have been avoided if she'd started off with "A request was made to forward XYZ's extension, but its still going straight to voicemail."  That frames it as the original request wasn't completed correctly instead of it just being a redundant request.
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: Hanna on January 26, 2011, 04:58:52 PM
Unfortunately, it's like Jan74 says, trying to change this is like blowing against the wind.

Unless you can get all of the non-tech world to change their habits, too.

Even us tech people have to deal with these kinds of conversations and questions when trying to get support on our own stuff.  You should hear me on the phone about my internet connection when it goes down.  They talk to me like I'm a n00b.

Example:
Dude in a truck hit a phone pole outside the office where I worked, knocking out our internet access.  At an internet based company.  Network guy calls cable company.  They make us dance a jig that added an extra hour to confirm the line was really knocked down and we didn't have an internal equipment issue before agreeing to deploy someone to fix it.  It was laying in the street!
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: Hanna on January 26, 2011, 05:04:31 PM
VorFemme, that kind of tech you're talking about is really just going through a script of steps they must follow. They don't have the training or the authority to think for themselves.

It sounds like MamaMootz is dealing with techs like me, though, so it is a different situation.

With the script types, all you can do is wait for them to finish the script, until they finally send you to a higher level person.
Besides that, I can't tell you how many times I've walked through steps people swear they already performed only to have things magically work!

One can't really troubleshoot something properly by picking up where someone else left off.
You need to start at the beginning.

There's something about being a technical person that is like magic, too. Something that doesn't work right for the user often works perfectly once I do it myself.

The phone issue is a communication thing, though.  Some tech people are better listeners than others. Good IT management will encourage staff to listen and to always treat users with respect.
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: MamaMootz on January 26, 2011, 05:05:05 PM
This is the exchange from today that prompted this post:

Me: Hi, I need to be able to have XYZ's extension forwarded as he has left the company and I'm his backup until a new hire is made to replace him.

Tech Support: Why do you need access to his phone line?

Me: Because he left the company and I'm taking over his role until a replacement is hired.

Tech Support: But we've already transferred his phone line over to you.

Me: No, the phone line is still going right into his voicemail.

Tech Support: ARe you sure? Have you called his extension?

Me: Yes, multiple times from different phones and it's going right into his voicemail. The call needs to come to my phone line.

Tech Support: Have you called his extension from different phones?

Me: Yes. And it's not forwarding to my line.

Tech Support: Hold on, let ME try calling the extension.

I hold on, patiently. Biting my tongue.

Tech Support: Oh, his line is forwarding right to voicemail. Why didn't you say so?

I don't know if there IS a way to avoid this politely. It's very frustrating.
It is frustrating, but please realize, my clients lie to me blatantly. On a daily basis. They say they've tested it. They say they can't email but Google works fine. They say they've tried it. They say they just rebooted.

So we get in a habit of double-checking stuff, and testing for ourselves. For example, out of every 10 calls of someone who tells me they can't connect to email server, I see 7 of them connected and sending an email from the server side, during the call. So the first thing I do is check, cause I don't believe them.

Working tech support gives you the same view of people that Dr. House has of patients. Everybody lies etc.

Also, it could be a peculiarity with your phone, not with his, so him testing also serves to rule that out.

Granted all that, but it’s no excuse or reason for the “Why didn’t you say so?” Then it makes you wonder if he was listening to anything else MamaMootz said.

He's probably trying to express that MamaMootz sounded like she was making a duplicate request of a ticket that was already completed.  She makes a request, he looks in the system and see the system says its already been done, and thinks she just doesn't realize its been done already.  The first half of the conversation could have been avoided if she'd started off with "A request was made to forward XYZ's extension, but its still going straight to voicemail."  That frames it as the original request wasn't completed correctly instead of it just being a redundant request.

Part of the issue is also the fact that my department doesn't communicate with me. So my manager could have put in a request to have the phone line forwarded but didn't tell anyone. So my VP will come to me and say "make sure you have XYZ's phone line forwarded to yours" and I'll treat it like a new request because AFAIK, it hasn't yet been requested. And Manager forgets what he's requested, so he'll often request something forget he requested it and then ask me to create a new request.
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: Jan74 on January 26, 2011, 05:05:54 PM

Granted all that, but it’s no excuse or reason for the “Why didn’t you say so?” Then it makes you wonder if he was listening to anything else MamaMootz said.

No, it definitely doesn't excuse the "Why didn't you say so?". I'd never say such a thing, even if I do wish the client had said so, like the people who say the computer won't work and fail to mention there is no power. Yes, it truly happens.  ::) But I don't say that kind of stuff to them, I just roll my eyes, wait until they hang up, laugh profusely, then tell a bunch of my friends so they can laugh too.
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: Hanna on January 26, 2011, 05:08:42 PM
MamaMootz do you have helpdesk software where you/IT can look up what your VP has requested?
If not, I would treat every request like it's a possible dupe. Ask them if it's been submitted before making the request.

Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: Jan74 on January 26, 2011, 05:13:25 PM

Besides that, I can't tell you how many times I've walked through steps people swear they already performed only to have things magically work!

One can't really troubleshoot something properly by picking up where someone else left off.
You need to start at the beginning.

There's something about being a technical person that is like magic, too. Something that doesn't work right for the user often works perfectly once I do it myself.

The phone issue is a communication thing, though.  Some tech people are better listeners than others. Good IT management will encourage staff to listen and to always treat users with respect.

I've also had people who swear it is not their internet fail to do anything I tell them, pretending the whole way, then say "Ha ha! I knew I was right, I didn't do anything of what you told me and it came back! So it was totally your fault there, not my problem here!" and not realize that the fact that it went away by itself pretty much proves my point it was their internet.  ::)

This is the kind of job that makes you die a little inside, a bit at a time. I've been yelled at for being female. I've been told I don't know the difference between a byte and my [donkey], from someone who was mad that he had emailed his own domain name wrongly, with a typo [Let's not start to get into the whole "Pot, meet kettle" issue, even if I did in fact did not know what a byte was...). I could go on and on.

Also, contrary to telemarketing people who just wanna sell you stuff, we genuinely want to help and solve your problem.
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: MamaMootz on January 26, 2011, 05:14:58 PM
MamaMootz do you have helpdesk software where you/IT can look up what your VP has requested?
If not, I would treat every request like it's a possible dupe. Ask them if it's been submitted before making the request.



No, I wish I had software like that. It's very disorganized here. I know that doesn't help. I'd like to ask that the VP and my manager put all IT requests through me but they are so used to doing things for themselves, plus my boss is fluent in the language that the majority of the IT department speaks, so he's used to talking to them.

I guess I need to just put in my e-mail that so and so has requested that this thing happen. If it's not a duplicate request, and here's what I've tried so far. Maybe that will help?
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: WhiteTigerCub on January 26, 2011, 05:35:16 PM
Brings to mind a situation I heard of.

Lady calls her help desk : "My computer isn't working.The screen is black"

Tech: "Is the monitor turned on?"

Lady: "Yes but the screen is still black."

Tech: "Have you turned the computer on using the power button?"

Lady: "Yes." *pushes the power button again but nothing happens* "Still nothing."

Tech: "Ok, is the cord plugged into the back of the computer?"

Lady: *takes a moment to turn the computer around and finds the cord securely plugged into the computer* "Plugged in the back"

Tech: "Ok follow the cord to the wall. Is the power cord plugged into the wall?"

Lady: "Hold on" *climbs somewhat under the desk* "Ok, I need to get a flashlight to see under here because the electricity is out."

Tech: *head desk* "...........That won't be necessary......" *


*answer: the computer needs working electricity to run
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: VorFemme on January 26, 2011, 05:38:34 PM
I've done some simple repairs & upgrades on my own computers (waiting until after the warranty expires) - more RAM, larger hard drive, new WiFi card, and a new monitor in a laptop..........that sort of thing.  I may not be able to describe the difference between a bit and a byte or write code - but if I say that the computer is not booting up after being turned off & back on............well, I understand that the first level of tech may be restricted to a strict script to avoid things going  wrong (used to work at an internet desk for a car insurance company - no jokes permitted on the phone because someone MAY take you seriously - or worse - get offended).  

But it does seem (a lot of the time) like some of the people on the other side of the phone really don't have their headsets hooked up to their ears and brains - because they'll tell you to do what you just told them you've already tried three times..........

It doesn't matter what kind of support you are phoning for, prepare to be on the phone for a while, have something to take notes (calling them by name is friendlier and you can cite them by name for either being a lot of help or not being any help), and keep calm.  I guarantee you that shrieking at the phone that they aren't listening is going to get them to end the call, not start listening.
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: VorFemme on January 26, 2011, 05:41:58 PM
TechTales.com has had that last one turned in so many times that it is no longer funny how many idjits don't realize that they need power to run their equipment.  I've even heard it told about someone calling their cable company because the tv isn't working..........but they can't see if the cable is on the back of the tv because there isn't any power for the lights. 

Sometimes you don't know whether to laugh or weep...............
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: Jan74 on January 26, 2011, 06:17:27 PM
They also don't realize they need the internet for email to work.

At least 10% of the calls I ever had had that exact issue. I mean, why would email need the internet, right?  :P
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: Bramble on January 26, 2011, 06:46:20 PM
I have myself spent hours trying to figure out the problem with the equipment I use in my day to day job only to finally realize I forgot to plug a critical piece of equpment in.

Even techinical people can forget simple steps.  Just the other day I went over to a coworkers cube to help them out and apologized because I checked that everything all cord and cables were attached where they were supposed to be.  They were, but I wasn't going to start troubleshooting until I had verified it myself.
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: Jan74 on January 26, 2011, 07:20:49 PM
It is also how even an editor can make a typo, you know.

None of us are infallible.
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: shadowfox79 on January 27, 2011, 05:52:44 AM
I once spent about twenty minutes on the phone with a technician trying to explain to her why our new printer wasn't working, since she would NOT let me get a word in edgeways. The problem was that we had booked a porter to move it from another office into ours (basically down one corridor) and he had dropped it onto his trolley with such force that it broke a toner cartridge.

Eventually she broke script long enough to ask "Has anyone opened the printer up?"

"No."

"Then how do you know the toner is broken?"

"Because it's all over the floor."

Pause. "Oh, no."

It took her a full day to get that printer working again, and the cleaners six weeks to get the magenta toner out of the carpet.
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: hjaye on January 27, 2011, 06:45:37 AM
I work in the computer field as a senior engineer, I run into this problem all the time and I know how frustrating it is.

I think part of the problem is that now a days a lot of front end help desk personnel don't really know how to troubleshoot, they are given a script to work off of, and they won't deviate from it because they will then be lost, so they really are not listening to anything you have to say.

I called Microsoft once because I was having some difficulty with a fairly complex technical issue implementing some security practices on our network. I was mistakenly transferred to desktop first level desktop support.  The first question I was asked was if I was using XP or Vista.

I asked the technician what in the world was he talking about, I was working with servers and servers do not run XP or Vista. He should have picked up on that as soon as I told him my problem.  He should have said, "oops, this is desktop support, you've been transferred to the wrong queue, let me get you to the right support person....."  He just kept going down the script and didn't listen to a word I was saying.

My advice is to see if you can escalate to someone who has a better understanding of what you're having a problem with.

I have no problem telling someone "you're obviously not listening to me, and I don't have time to go back over everything I've already done, please transfer me to your next tier support.  Typically the higher up you go the better the chance you'll get someone that has a better understanding of your problem.
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: Jan74 on January 27, 2011, 06:48:31 AM
See but that is the kind of stuff we have to ask. Cause more than half the time, the person is convinced the toner is broken just because once, when he worked in another office, that was the problem with that printer, so he just knows the toner is broken this time too...  ;D

I had to file a complaint about HP tech support, though. I swear I'm buying an Epson next time. The guy wouldn't believe that the USB cable I used was a USB 2.0 cable, even though it said so on my computer. He insisted that it should say so on the rubber part of the cable. Now, I have around 20 of those cables here, both in use and stored, and none of them say "USB 2.0" on it. I tossed all the USB 1.0 ones a while ago, but the only way to find out which was which was to connect each of them to a computer, where it tells me what kind of connection it establishes.

The guy just wouldn't believe me, and refused to believe that I'd just bought a printer that essentially wouldn't work with Windows Vista or Windows 7. Their drivers were outdated. So he kept blaming the cable.
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: P-p-p-penguin on January 27, 2011, 09:08:20 AM
I don't work in tech support but I work closely with people who do and I have to agree with those who are saying that people do do stupid things and lie, and as such it's just safer and easier to ask everyone the simple questions.  Yeah, it is annoying if you don't fall into that category, but I can't really blame techies for asking. 

I do agree that the techie in post #4 was rude, though, because he clearly wasn't listening at all!  So perhaps MamaMootz's tech support are an exception?
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: Hmmmmm on January 27, 2011, 09:15:07 AM
This is the exchange from today that prompted this post:

 

Tech Support: Oh, his line is forwarding right to voicemail. Why didn't you say so?
I don't know if there IS a way to avoid this politely. It's very frustrating.
It is frustrating, but please realize, my clients lie to me blatantly. On a daily basis. They say they've tested it. They say they can't email but Google works fine. They say they've tried it. They say they just rebooted.

So we get in a habit of double-checking stuff, and testing for ourselves. For example, out of every 10 calls of someone who tells me they can't connect to email server, I see 7 of them connected and sending an email from the server side, during the call. So the first thing I do is check, cause I don't believe them.

Working tech support gives you the same view of people that Dr. House has of patients. Everybody lies etc.

Also, it could be a peculiarity with your phone, not with his, so him testing also serves to rule that out.

Granted all that, but it’s no excuse or reason for the “Why didn’t you say so?” Then it makes you wonder if he was listening to anything else MamaMootz said.

He's probably trying to express that MamaMootz sounded like she was making a duplicate request of a ticket that was already completed.  She makes a request, he looks in the system and see the system says its already been done, and thinks she just doesn't realize its been done already.  The first half of the conversation could have been avoided if she'd started off with "A request was made to forward XYZ's extension, but its still going straight to voicemail."  That frames it as the original request wasn't completed correctly instead of it just being a redundant request.

Part of the issue is also the fact that my department doesn't communicate with me. So my manager could have put in a request to have the phone line forwarded but didn't tell anyone. So my VP will come to me and say "make sure you have XYZ's phone line forwarded to yours" and I'll treat it like a new request because AFAIK, it hasn't yet been requested. And Manager forgets what he's requested, so he'll often request something forget he requested it and then ask me to create a new request.

First, if a tech responded with "Why didn't you say so"  feel free to reply "I did.  You weren't listening."

Next, anytime a VP asks you to put in a request, ask him if a ticket or service request was already opened.  That way you can say you are following up on an open request.

Remember that they have been trained to go through a set listing of questions and processes and many times can be reprimanded if they do not go through this process.  Also, remember that the language you are using is their second language.  Sometimes the less words you use the better.  

Also, when I have employees complain about the helpdesk, I ask them how many times they call up their mechanic and have him diagnose and resolve their car issue over the phone.  None you say... well a car is pretty self contained.  A computer tech is dealing with your PC, the operating system, the internal network, the routers, the firewalls, the applications, the email systems, potentially wireless devices, and maybe a server thrown in.  It's easier to do remote diagnosis if your able to start with "does the key fit in the ignition".  
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: Elphaba on January 27, 2011, 09:17:03 AM
But it does seem (a lot of the time) like some of the people on the other side of the phone really don't have their headsets hooked up to their ears and brains - because they'll tell you to do what you just told them you've already tried three times..........

And of course, there are some times when things just aren't hooked up on the other side of things too. Case in point: My DH, Fiyero is in IT at a medical office that does overnight studies of patients. At 11:30pm, he gets a frantic call from one of the overnight care providers (CP).

CP: My computer isn't working - I can't access any of the monitoring equipment!
Fiyero: Ok, is everything else on the computer working?
CP: No, I can't get to my email or the internet either.
Fiyero: Ok, is the network cable plugged in to the computer and the wall? It's the blue cable that has what looks like a big phone connector at the end (he's very good at not using technical terms where they're not needed, if you ask me  ;D ).
CP: Let me see...yes, I can see it going from the computer to the wall.
Fiyero: Just to be sure, unplug the cable from the computer, plug it back in all the way, then unplug it from the wall and plug it back in all the way.
CP:Ok, but it's already plugged in...[pause] Ok, I did that...and it's still not working!
Fiyero: Alright, I'll be there as soon as I can.

Fiyero then drives out to the office, 30min away from our house (by this time it's almost midnight). When he gets there, he finds that yes, the network cable is "in" the wall, but only partially and had not "clicked" in to the wall outlet. He taps it gently, hears the click and ta-da! Everything's right in the world. He then talks to the care provider again:

Fiyero: So it looks like the network cable wasn't plugged all the way in. Did you unplug it completely when we were on the phone?
CP: No, it looked like it was already plugged in so why did I need to reach all the way back there?!?
Fiyero: [sigh...]

He then gets back home past 1:00am and has to be up at 6. Yes, since the CP didn't want to reach back to the back of the computer or to the wall, Fiyero had to drive out there, late at night to plug in a network cable.


I guess the point is, it goes both ways. Yes, sometimes techs don't listen, but sometimes users don't either. And most of the time, it's impossible for techs to actually drive to your location so they need to be sure (sometimes doubly and triply sure) that all the menial trouble shooting things have been done before moving on to more laborious, involved things.

ETA: The whole "why didn't you say so" thing was definitely out of line. I agree with PP that "I did say that, at the beginning of the call" is warranted in that situation.
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: Twik on January 27, 2011, 09:35:36 AM
Brings to mind a situation I heard of.

Lady calls her help desk : "My computer isn't working.The screen is black"

Tech: "Is the monitor turned on?"

Lady: "Yes but the screen is still black."

Tech: "Have you turned the computer on using the power button?"

Lady: "Yes." *pushes the power button again but nothing happens* "Still nothing."

Tech: "Ok, is the cord plugged into the back of the computer?"

Lady: *takes a moment to turn the computer around and finds the cord securely plugged into the computer* "Plugged in the back"

Tech: "Ok follow the cord to the wall. Is the power cord plugged into the wall?"

Lady: "Hold on" *climbs somewhat under the desk* "Ok, I need to get a flashlight to see under here because the electricity is out."

Tech: *head desk* "...........That won't be necessary......" *


*answer: the computer needs working electricity to run

That's an oft-quoted story.

On the other hand, I have a reverse one, that I swear did, truly, happen to me.

I was surfing the web one night, and suddenly the connection dropped. After about an hour, I called tech support for my ISP. His first step (a logical one) was to have me describe my set-up. Now, I have a (allegedly) wireless modem, but no one (even tech support) was ever able to get the wireless working, so I finally said the heck with it, and bought a wireless router. This made the tech's ears perk up. This, CLEARLY, was the problem - the fact that the setup had worked for me for months was irrelevant. He had me disassemble, reassemble, and reboot several times. I figured I'd go along with it, but didn't figure it would get us anywhere.

Finally, he threw up his hands (figuratively) in disgust. "I'll have to get the second-tier support people working on this," he said, "but they're not available right now."

And why, perchance, were they not available?

"They're all busy on another problem. The servers have been out in your area for the last couple of hours."

(facepalm)

My connection returned in another hour or so.

(ETA: To my eternal shame, I did once call tech support because I forgot I'd unplugged a wire, and their preliminary check forced me to actually look at the setup. I apologized profusely, though.)
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: Cutenoob on January 27, 2011, 09:40:22 AM
Hey. It's ok. :) I'd get miffed too.

I've worked helpdesk before, and I've also been repairing PCs..and calling to vendors to get parts....it runs in circles.

Many times a person says "the snogglebug won't work" and we still have to ask questions..to find out what cause the snogglebug to mess up..and then we find out that it's not a snogglebug issue, it's really a power/hardware/user messup.

People are more likely to hide their mistakes than fess up and say, OK, I think I killed the snogglebug...I did this and that...

And, I get the same thing, when I call for help.  I'll say, Iv'e done standard troubleshooting - put me to Tier 2. Thank you.  When the person says Did you do power cycle...I'll run the list of what I've done:  "Recycled power, checked cable ends, checked power connection to all hardware, danced on the couch, now put me to Tier 2 please"

And I'm firm. Once I get to Tier 2, I'll list off the things I've done (because, by this time, the T1 person hasn't had time to put notes into the db about my call..oh and by the way, that's also done to make a ticket..their questions).   Then I ask - would it be this? Or those? And I find out that no, it's actually a bug in the software, and there is no known fix at this time.  That kind of junk.

Just say, This is the troubleshooting I've done. (Nicely.  Ahem, here, let me tell you the list of what I've done).  Then say, I've done most of it, could you connect me to Tier 2 please?  Then make faces at the phone when the transfer starts :)

Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: MamaMootz on January 27, 2011, 10:46:56 AM
I have to contact them again today about the copier. Our tech support handles everything - IT, phones, copier. I contacted them yesterday and told them of the issue, the techie came here and showed me what to do, I explained that I had already done that, he repeated what he said like I didn't even speak, and then he left.

The issue is still happening. I kind of think he wants to believe it went away all on its own.

I'm going to e-mail him again this morning and I will be sure to use concise wording and keep it short and simple. I will also re-explain the steps I have taken. I'll let you know how it works.
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: Hanna on January 27, 2011, 11:04:09 AM
If this keeps happening, it should be brought to the attention of his manager.

It sounds to me like a combination of poor comprehension and poor attitude.

Is this happening with one person or many?  Folks like this one are what gives Helpdesk Folks a bad name.  It's like a salesperson in a story pointing you to something rather than taking you to find it.  He should fix the copier and test it himself, not tell you what to do then leave.

My concise wording would be:
Or you could say "The copier is still not working. Please do the needful and let me know when it works."  ;)
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: MamaMootz on January 27, 2011, 01:43:14 PM
Hanna, it happens with the whole department. The people who handle phones are different from the people who handle the copiers who are different from the people who handle computer issues.

I think it's a combination of poor organization on my department's behalf, poor communication from the IT department as English is not their first language and even the head of IT here does not speak English, and then on top of that, the fact that they don't believe I'm doing everything I say I'm doing.

Does that make sense?

Because the copier person that I spoke with yesterday who repeatedly told me to clean the machine even after I cleaned the machine and told him so.... well, he just left without another word yesterday. So this morning I contacted him to follow up and he said, "What are you asking me about this for? I spoke with Canon yesterday and they are coming to fix it!" to which I replied, "This is the first I'm hearing about Canon coming here".

I think I cannot fix this, no matter how professional or polite I can be.
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: Hanna on January 27, 2011, 01:52:49 PM
I agree with you.   It's infuriating because I've always worked in terrific IT departments where that mentality was just not tolerated, but I've seen new people helpdesk staff come in and attempt to pull it on people.

I think some folks treat others like they are stupid due to their own insecurity and defensive nature.  Others learn the habit and poor communication skills, and think it's how they are supposed to behave.  If the entire dept is like that, it's being run by a manager that either allows it or fosters it.  Honestly, it makes my blood boil. 

You may also be dealing with some cultural issues.  I had an employee explain (after I directly asked) that in his country it would never have been acceptable to admit you didn't know the answer to something.  What drastically changed our relationship was telling him "I don't care if you don't know how to do something. I don't know how to do all kinds of things.  We aren't here to know everything, we are here to figure it out and we can do that together if you tell me when you need help." 

I'd push back hard on them every time they make comments like that "How would I know that when you did not tell me?"
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: Marguette on January 27, 2011, 04:45:30 PM
I don't work in tech support but I work closely with people who do and I have to agree with those who are saying that people do do stupid things and lie, and as such it's just safer and easier to ask everyone the simple questions.  Yeah, it is annoying if you don't fall into that category, but I can't really blame techies for asking. 

I think you've hit on a key part of the problem right there. Because of so many people lying or doing stupid things, the techies do have to ask the question, have to follow the script, but they also have to listen to the answer. And listen to the user’s description of the problem.

Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: Jan74 on January 27, 2011, 09:27:03 PM
Yes, these people are violating the Tech Support code of honor, which is: Don't treat the caller like they are stupid... until they hang up. You are supposed to mock them behind their backs, not in front of them! Newbies.  >:D
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: P-p-p-penguin on January 27, 2011, 10:15:36 PM
^ Big LOL!

You guys should watch the IT Crowd.  Great if you've ever worked in IT.  They answer the phone with "have you tried turning it off and on again".  No hello, just that! :D
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: GoldenGemini on January 27, 2011, 10:22:20 PM
Hey. It's ok. :) I'd get miffed too.

I've worked helpdesk before, and I've also been repairing PCs..and calling to vendors to get parts....it runs in circles.

Many times a person says "the snogglebug won't work" and we still have to ask questions..to find out what cause the snogglebug to mess up..and then we find out that it's not a snogglebug issue, it's really a power/hardware/user messup.

People are more likely to hide their mistakes than fess up and say, OK, I think I killed the snogglebug...I did this and that...

And, I get the same thing, when I call for help.  I'll say, Iv'e done standard troubleshooting - put me to Tier 2. Thank you.  When the person says Did you do power cycle...I'll run the list of what I've done:  "Recycled power, checked cable ends, checked power connection to all hardware, danced on the couch, now put me to Tier 2 please"

And I'm firm. Once I get to Tier 2, I'll list off the things I've done (because, by this time, the T1 person hasn't had time to put notes into the db about my call..oh and by the way, that's also done to make a ticket..their questions).   Then I ask - would it be this? Or those? And I find out that no, it's actually a bug in the software, and there is no known fix at this time.  That kind of junk.

Just say, This is the troubleshooting I've done. (Nicely.  Ahem, here, let me tell you the list of what I've done).  Then say, I've done most of it, could you connect me to Tier 2 please?  Then make faces at the phone when the transfer starts :)


I am the exact opposite of that - I am fully aware that I have a power zorb or some magical electro-magnetic field operating around me.  Usually the first thing out of my mouth is "I think I broke the computer/released the demons".

I do have some knowledge of teh 'puter thingys, but I am happy to do the seventieth "turn off and then on again" if it gets the IT guy to move on.
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: VorFemme on January 28, 2011, 01:06:21 AM
My issues have been when the "tech" wants to keep rebooting until the computer (router, modem, whatever) starts to work - and after thirty minutes or so on the phone and fifty reboots the computer hasn't started, much less rebooted and started running again..........I'm getting a bit upset (and being on the phone means I can't go get another Coke or a cuppa tea).  And they want me to try rebooting a few more times to see if it will work "this time". 

Nope - I get a bit testy and ask for another tech.
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: Jan74 on January 28, 2011, 06:27:59 AM
My issues have been when the "tech" wants to keep rebooting until the computer (router, modem, whatever) starts to work - and after thirty minutes or so on the phone and fifty reboots the computer hasn't started, much less rebooted and started running again..........I'm getting a bit upset (and being on the phone means I can't go get another Coke or a cuppa tea).  And they want me to try rebooting a few more times to see if it will work "this time". 

Nope - I get a bit testy and ask for another tech.

Over 3 reboots means, rebooting won't work.

3 is truly a magical number with Windows, though. If there are problems, Windows can only fix so many with each reboot, so if you had a terrible problem (say, the "Blue Screen of Death"), 3 reboots will fix it.

For modems, it is usually 2 reboots.


Golden Gemini, I once did tech work for an office where they got a new girl to replace a person on medical leave. She did have a power zorb around her. It wasn't that she did anything wrong, the hardware would just break around her. I think 3 different parts broke in 2 weeks. But even weirder, the outlet where the stabilizer for the computer was plugged in *melted*. Had to be rewired, and a new stabilizer purchased. And of course, the lightbulbs, there were over 6 changes in those 2 weeks. And the fan in the office just stopped working.

She also apparently got a bunch of disks (floppies, at the time) completely de-magnetized somehow. She worked in a very open area, right next to the owner, so she wasn't sabotaging things or doing anything bad. She just had some sort of electrical Poltergeist. Before her temp work was over, the copier just broke too. The tech for that said that the control board for it fried like it would in an electrical storm.  :o
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: FlyingBaconMouse on January 28, 2011, 06:53:30 AM
I've actually had some luck with a pre-emptive strike when my home internet went wonky. Not only did I tell them what I'd already done to try to fix it, I said, "Look, I understand: my mom refuses to learn anything about computers, and you have to check for people like that. But this is not that. This is [my problem]." Given that my evidence that the modem was broken involved having to say, "My Nabaztag wi-fi bunny isn't getting a signal, either," they were very understanding.  ;D
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: Elphaba on January 28, 2011, 07:18:13 AM
Hanna, it happens with the whole department. The people who handle phones are different from the people who handle the copiers who are different from the people who handle computer issues.

I think it's a combination of poor organization on my department's behalf, poor communication from the IT department as English is not their first language and even the head of IT here does not speak English, and then on top of that, the fact that they don't believe I'm doing everything I say I'm doing.

Does that make sense?

Because the copier person that I spoke with yesterday who repeatedly told me to clean the machine even after I cleaned the machine and told him so.... well, he just left without another word yesterday. So this morning I contacted him to follow up and he said, "What are you asking me about this for? I spoke with Canon yesterday and they are coming to fix it!" to which I replied, "This is the first I'm hearing about Canon coming here".

I think I cannot fix this, no matter how professional or polite I can be.

Do any of your IT departments use ticketing systems to track problems and work orders? This is usually a good way to make sure you get follow up and are informed of what's going on. For example, the one that the desktop guys that work for DH use has to have a resolution entered before the ticket can be closed even if the "resolution" is "Called Cannon, they're coming in tomorrow to look at the copier". The systems sends an email with the resolution to DH (the IT supervisor), the person who entered the ticket, and if the right box was checked or something, anyone else who the desktop guy or the person who entered the ticket felt might need to know about this (like they're supervisor or coworkers).

If you don't have one, maybe it's time to suggest one? It makes it super easy for users to know what the heck is going on and while it's a little more work for the IT dept, DH says it's saved lots of time by eliminating (or at least decreasing) the, "So, what's going on with my [insert technical thingy here]" calls.
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: Jan74 on January 28, 2011, 07:19:13 AM
I've actually had some luck with a pre-emptive strike when my home internet went wonky. Not only did I tell them what I'd already done to try to fix it, I said, "Look, I understand: my mom refuses to learn anything about computers, and you have to check for people like that. But this is not that. This is [my problem]." Given that my evidence that the modem was broken involved having to say, "My Nabaztag wi-fi bunny isn't getting a signal, either," they were very understanding.  ;D

That is what I do, preemptive strikes as well. State all you've done clearly, they immediately understand you're not a total computer moron, and you save yourself a lot of time.
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: Bramble on January 28, 2011, 10:11:07 AM
MamaMootz, how about starting conversations with IT with "I'm checking on the status of...".  Even if it turns out they don't know anything about the issue yet you can fall back with "I'm sorry, I thought somebody might have already entered a ticket.  Here's the problem we're having."
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: MamaMootz on January 28, 2011, 11:13:34 AM
No, there is no ticket system here. I would love to see something like that, but as it stands now, everyone just e-mails IT with their request and they get back to it when they can. Suggesting changes here is a great idea, however my organization is pretty change-resistant.

They refuse to use a travel agent for booking travel so I get to do all of that online, which is very time consuming and often costs more, and they also refuse to hire any temporary help whatsoever. When I have proposed changes, even showing them the amount of money they could be saving,  I have been met with a "That's not the way we do it here".

I'm afraid the IT department will be even less resistant to the concept of the ticket system if proposed.
I've learned not to broach the subject of changing ANYTHING here.
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: kkl123 on January 28, 2011, 07:37:44 PM
Lots of luck with this... the only hope is that it's a small enough group of techs and they get to know you and remember you.  Our upstream ISP only has about half a dozen in the tech department, and they've gotten to know that if we call, something is indeed acting up. usually on their end, sometimes farther upstream from them.
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: Cutenoob on January 28, 2011, 10:15:03 PM
Actually, one of the first things I ask about is a ticketing system, when I have an interview.

I WANT a way to track issues, read up on other people's fixes and find out who the "special snowflake" in the batch is :).

There are multiple FREE tracking systems out there, and there's no excuse to not use one.  If there are less than 100 users to care for...maybe a spreadsheet or Access DB.  But any more?  Get it going.

I really like one with a web user interface - the user types in the fields what's going on ...we could set it up required fields (name, desk location, phone, email) and then have the user type in the issue.  "my snogglebog is not working"

Many IT managers are so resistant to spending money, as an IT department is seen as a cash drain.  Although we FIX people, and doign that lets yalls work, accounting always sees IT as a drain.  So, the grunts would have to "sell" a tracking system. Even though it's FREE.
If nobody buys in..it won't work.  You need support from Top down. Sorry...I'll end my soapbox.
Title: Re: Need Help with Techies
Post by: Jan74 on January 31, 2011, 08:05:47 AM
As Cutenoob said, there are good free systems. And even if you have less than 100 users, if you have more than 1 request a week, it is worth implementing it.

We use a free, web-based one. All we had to do is install it in an HMTL page.