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Rules of technical support

"Newbies can be good things."
-masteralida

Did you ever wonder whether phone and on-site techs have an unwritten code?
The answer, for the most part, is yes.
For instance, for high-speed internet (cable modem) service:

  • 1. Always push the responsibility back to the customer.

    • Direct the diagnosis from outdoor to indoor, i.e., "not our problem"

    • Never support multiple systems using a firewall

    • Don't support Linux; ask them to try a Windows system if they have both MacOS and Windows


  • 2. Rule out and get out.

    • Phone techs should hook up enough diagnostics to rule out outside line problems, then get the frell out

    • Never give the customer anything but a lay diagnosis

    • Replace modems or sell the customer a new one, but don't mess with anything sustantive such as lines and amplifiers





I have called Cox Cable 20 times in the past 14 months, 18 times in 2003. The first 16 times they came out, the techs couldn't fix a thing. Most of the time the problem was transient and alread gone by the time they arrived 24-48 hours after my reported outage. Then around July, 2003 they replaced 2 things:

  • a connector on my outside box that took signal strength "from 1 to 6", whatever that means

  • a length of cable from my house to the pole


That fixed all my problems for about 4-5 months. Now it's flaking out again; I think it's because they are finally catching KS up to the national network. As I told masteralida, this is too brief a respite from ISP-related frustration.

In any case, when I called on Sat 06 Mar 2004, I just got one of their lower-echelon techs who hadn't been indoctrinated yet. That's good because as you can see above, the higher you go, the more vacous the support can get, until you get to the local top-level managers, who are very amiable but promise things they have no intention of delivering, such as sending out a regional tech manager. (I told the tech who came out the name of the manager who was promised and he just sneered, "yeah, that ain't gonna happen".)

Anyhow, this fellow (who shall remain nameless for his own protection) was great. He obviously hadn't heard Rule #1 or didn't really take it to heart. So he told me all about how to change my DHCP to match their new nationwide nameservers instead of the dinky Kansas ones. He even recommended "strictly off the record" ("and we definitely don't support this, but you might look into...") running my own BIND. I love closet tronkies. :-)

Yes, gnubies can be a good thing. ;-)




Some quizzage, from the LJs of aricadavidson and oxbastetxo:

Got this result with two variations:
blue lightdaber
You have earned the Blue Lightsaber. You are
skilled in the ways of the Jedi, and the force
is strong with you. You have a mind of your
own, and sometimes do things your own way, but
always for the good. You are looked up to, by
the young and are strongly respected for your
decisions.

Which Star Wars Lightsaber Should You Have?
brought to you by Quizilla


Got this result with one variation:
green lightsaber
You have earned the Green Lightsaber. You are wise
and skilled as a Jedi. The force is strong
with you. Other Jedi look up to you for
information. You would rather teach others the
way of a Jedi than fight. But if you are
needed you are up to the challenge.

Which Star Wars Lightsaber Should You Have?
brought to you by Quizilla

naboo
Naboo! This Peaceful world is full of beatiful
landscapes and architecture.

What Star Wars Planet should you live on?
brought to you by Quizilla


--
Banazîr

Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
celandineb
Mar. 11th, 2004 02:32 pm (UTC)
Ah...
you are also in thrall to Cox, are you? I don't think I should say what we call them at my household - not a word for polite company! ;-)

Am not a major SW fan, but tried this quiz anyway, and the result rather surprised me.

purple lightsaber
You have earned the Purple Lightsaber. You have
gained a high positon on the Jedi councel, and
others look up to you. You are well skilled in
the ways of the Jedi, and the force is very
strong with you.


Which Star Wars Lightsaber Should You Have?
brought to you by Quizilla

Celandine
banazir
Mar. 11th, 2004 02:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Ah...
you are also in thrall to Cox, are you? I don't think I should say what we call them at my household - not a word for polite company! ;-)
Oh, try me. As a teunc I've heard it all... especially when it comes to nearly-worthless ISPs.

[purple]
Nice, but I'm not sure whether a position on the Jedi "Councel" is worth it. :-P

--
Banazir
celandineb
Mar. 11th, 2004 06:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Ah...
Oh, try me. As a teunc I've heard it all... especially when it comes to nearly-worthless ISPs.

It's pretty obvious, really: c***suckers. ;-) Although I haven't had quite as much trouble as you have had.

Nice, but I'm not sure whether a position on the Jedi "Councel" is worth it. :-P

I was hoping for green actually...

Celandine
banazir
Mar. 11th, 2004 09:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Ah...
It's pretty obvious, really: c***suckers. ;-)
I'm not surprised, though it's a little hard to reconcile that with the smiling face of Eliza Bennett. ;-)
(Karmic balance, peut-etre?)

Although I haven't had quite as much trouble as you have had.
Oh, that's just the tip of the iceberg.
I once had 21 days of downtime (almost the entire month of June, 2002) during one of my most important grant proposal preparation periods. That proposal has yet to be funded. I really should have just gone in to the office even though classes were over and Cox Cable was promising "any day now".

You know what I got?
One month of my service fee refunded.
And just the ISP at that.
Grr.

--
Banazir
megpie71
Mar. 11th, 2004 03:54 pm (UTC)
*grin*

As a helldesk techie, I can confirm that yes, there is a code of conduct. There's the formal one, which stresses "customer service". Then there's the informal one, which definies "servicing" customers in rather agricultural terms.

The informal one is a response to being phoned up continually and bitched at for things you can't do anything about. For example, at ork at the moment, we're rolling out a new OS - and as per bloody usual, we're getting the wonderful things like the rollout schedule having been cut from 2 months back down to 1, the rollout having been brought forward at the last minute, and all the little last minute bugs that are coming up as a result of our testing environment not bearing any resemblance whatsoever to the actual production environment.

I can make absolutely no changes to any of this. However, as I'm part of a helpdesk which is trying to make itself into the "first point of contact" (wooohooo! [/sarcasm]), I get to try to make sense of the complaints, write them down, and explain that no, $NEW_OS will not eat your data, your children, or even your network connection. Being bitched at constantly for 7 and a bit hours a day tends to make me niggly.
banazir
Mar. 11th, 2004 05:13 pm (UTC)
Welcome to the Helldesk
As a helldesk techie, I can confirm that yes, there is a code of conduct. There's the formal one, which stresses "customer service".
Huh. Would you believe I've never heard the term "helldesk" before?
BOFH, yes, but not "helldesk".

Then there's the informal one, which definies "servicing" customers in rather agricultural terms.
:blink: Eh?

The informal one is a response to being phoned up continually and bitched at
Ah, yes, well, there are frequently two sides to every story.

I can make absolutely no changes to any of this. However, as I'm part of a helpdesk which is trying to make itself into the "first point of contact" (wooohooo! [/sarcasm]), I get to try to make sense of the complaints, write them down, and explain that no, $NEW_OS will not eat your data, your children, or even your network connection. Being bitched at constantly for 7 and a bit hours a day tends to make me niggly.
Well, more power to you. And keep up the good work! :-)
And if you feel the need to bitch about your job: you have my podium.

--
Banazir
gondhir
Mar. 12th, 2004 08:13 am (UTC)
Re: Welcome to the Helldesk
Then there's the informal one, which definies "servicing" customers in rather agricultural terms.
:blink: Eh?

There are fields, Bana, where customers are grown... I didn't believe it at first! I had to see it with my own eyes...
banazir
Mar. 13th, 2004 01:59 am (UTC)
Customer Matrix
There are fields, Bana, where customers are grown...
I didn't believe it at first! I had to see it with my own eyes...

LOLOL!
Why, oh, why, didn't you take the Blue Help Ticket?

"Believe it or not, you son of a trask, you're still gonna bluescreen!"

--
Banazir
zengeneral
Mar. 11th, 2004 05:06 pm (UTC)
Tech Support Woes, do you know your local high school geeks/nerds?
This reminds of "We don't support that"

In your problem, I would switch to DSL if applicable. Granted, there is a potential for same tech support problems. But Cox does suck. It sucks badly. I would prefer dialup over Cox. Our apartment had Cox, and it sucked. We just recently got DSL; sure, sometimes it dies, but we reboot the router and modem -> all good. Am I harboring some deep seated neurosis against Cox? No, it is clearly on the surface.

In the general problem. I wouldn’t call for change. This is the problem that I see; the amount of tech support questions/problems has grown faster than the supply of high-school geeks and nerds (yes, combined). Being 90% nerd and 10% geek, I made most of my money by whoring out selling my skills (had to get my fix for computer equipment, go too long and I start to jon’zen); I was not alone in my endeavors when I went to HS. The solution, encourage a nerd utopia.

How can I resist quizzes?

double red lightsaber
You have earned the Double-Ended Red Lightsaber.
You are pure evil, and well skilled. You have
never known what good is. If you are not in
combat, you are taining hard to perfect your
skills. You follow the instructions of others
but at the same time do things your own way.


Which Star Wars Lightsaber Should You Have?
brought to you by Quizilla

coruscant
Coruscant! This planet-wide city has always been
the centre for Justice and Authority both good
and bad and the main planet of the Galaxy.


What Star Wars Planet should you live on?
brought to you by Quizilla
scottharmon
Mar. 11th, 2004 05:46 pm (UTC)
Quiz Results
Hey, I didn't cheat!
purple lightsaber
You have earned the Purple Lightsaber. You have
gained a high positon on the Jedi councel, and
others look up to you. You are well skilled in
the ways of the Jedi, and the force is very
strong with you.


Which Star Wars Lightsaber Should You Have?
brought to you by Quizilla


endor
Endor! The forest moon of Endor is home to the
fuzzy Ewoks and has very beautiful bush.


What Star Wars Planet should you live on?
brought to you by Quizilla

Endor!? :-D
banazir
Mar. 11th, 2004 05:53 pm (UTC)
Ee chub ar ay?
[purple]
Pretty bad, dude.

Endor!? :-D
LOL!
Allus wanted an Ewok for a grad student...

--
Banazir
marm
Mar. 11th, 2004 07:33 pm (UTC)
woah, cool!
purple lightsaber
You have earned the Purple Lightsaber. You have
gained a high positon on the Jedi councel, and
others look up to you. You are well skilled in
the ways of the Jedi, and the force is very
strong with you.


Which Star Wars Lightsaber Should You Have?
brought to you by Quizilla
banazir
Mar. 11th, 2004 09:12 pm (UTC)
Re: woah, cool!
Purple again!
W00t!
All my friends are such bad Oedipi!

Great icon, BTW - who is that?

--
Banazir
gondhir
Mar. 12th, 2004 08:14 am (UTC)
Re: woah, cool!
All my friends are such bad Oedipi!
LOL. Can't say I've ever heard that word used in quite that way before...

BTW:

blue lightdaber
You have earned the Blue Lightsaber. You are
skilled in the ways of the Jedi, and the force
is strong with you. You have a mind of your
own, and sometimes do things your own way, but
always for the good. You are looked up to, by
the young and are strongly respected for your
decisions.


Which Star Wars Lightsaber Should You Have?
brought to you by Quizilla

naboo
Naboo! This Peaceful world is full of beatiful
landscapes and architecture.


What Star Wars Planet should you live on?
brought to you by Quizilla
banazir
Mar. 12th, 2004 10:16 pm (UTC)
Re: woah, cool!
LOL.
Can't say I've ever heard that word used in quite that way before...

Yeah, well, there's a lot of Oedipizing words you haven't heard me Oedipizing use in quite a lot of Oedipizing ways before.

So, are you Captain Panaka?
Or a Gungun?

--
Banazir
gondhir
Mar. 13th, 2004 08:26 am (UTC)
Re: woah, cool!
So, are you Captain Panaka?
Or a Gungun?

A loss of communications can mean only one thing. Darth Cox.
banazir
Mar. 13th, 2004 09:33 am (UTC)
Re: woah, cool!
A loss of communications can mean only one thing.
Darth Cox.

By the First Midichlorian!

--
Banazir
(garbage in, garbage oat)
marm
Mar. 13th, 2004 05:05 pm (UTC)
Re: woah, cool!
Ah, that is Technician Arnold Rimmer, after he contracted a holovirus. And the thing on his hand is Mr. Fibble.

It's not the sort of thing that is easily explained. ;)
banazir
Mar. 13th, 2004 07:19 pm (UTC)
Re: woah, cool!
Ah, that is Technician Arnold Rimmer, after he contracted a holovirus.
And the thing on his hand is Mr. Fibble.

Tell me, friend, is Mr. Fibble a demipenguin?

It's not the sort of thing that is easily explained. ;)
And yet, and yet... your partial explanation leaves me wanting more. :-)

--
Banazir
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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