i heart helpdesk

I’m not sure how many readers here also read my twitter feed, but I have a feeling there are a few.  If so, you’ve noticed a recurring theme the last few weeks while I’m starting my new job.  Some are job related, some are related to my house, but all seem to center around technical support.  It’s been a wild month for systems and pages and routers and operating systems.  At least for the ones I’ve been touching.  Maybe I turned into the bizzaro Midas or something, but whatever I worked on seemed to completely crash.  We bought a new laptop, it worked great until I downloaded some trial versions of Adobe software and then it wouldn’t boot.  Good times!  I started my new job and got a laptop there but was not live on the system for nearly four days.  It took over a week to get the phone setup and I’m still waiting on a few applications.  That’s somewhat standard considering they are going through the same thing other companies are going through right now, staff reductions and that means fewer people to do the normal jobs.  My job is replacing six people at my last count.  This is not a post about work though, it’s about the help-desks.

It is not going to shock you, nor should it, that every help desk I called to date (HP, Dell, dlink, EDS, etc.) was located off shore.  Knowing that, you may also be surprised, or not, that I spoke with Steve, Dominic, Cheryl and I think there was a Chris in there as well.  My favorite was Steve from HP.  We were on the phone a while since we had to completely refresh the entire system (thank you Adobe) and while we chatted, he asked if I had ever visited India.  I told him know, but I hoped to be able to at some point.  He recommended a few places of interest and suggested a few hotels.  Technical support and ambassador  is quite the role.  Of course, it’s much better than just sitting on hold listening to the same music over and over and over.

My calls to EDS contain a very curious phenomena.  When the service tech needs to put me on hold they will say the following, “I need to do a little research on this, may I place you on hold for three minutes?”  Three minutes?  Really, if you’re going to be exact, make it four minutes so I can run down the hall and grab some more water, or perhaps ten minutes so I can run across the street for lunch.  I’ve been on the line with that help desk often enough that the other day while walking to my car, I found myself humming a tune.  It took me a few minutes to realize it was the HOLD MUSIC from customer support!  I’m a musician, I have tons upon tons of songs to draw from if I’m in need of humming while walking and my brain chose to grab that one!

I have two last conversations to share before I depart from this topic.  On one occasion, I was calling in an issue with voice mail.  Not mine, it was one of our sales people who did not have voice mail and a few people were not happy about that.  When you called her, you could not leave a message.  I called in the issue and the technical support representative stated the following: 

“has she accessed her mailbox?” 

“Well, no she has not.” 

“Well, maybe she should try.” 

“Quite honestly, I’m not sure why she would considering there are no messages there and no one can leave one.  Why would she check to see if anything was there?” 

“Sir, I’m going to give you a ticket number for this issue and we will escalate the call.” 

The second was part of an ongoing battle with dlink for my home network.  I finally grew tired of my old router having lapses of focus while I was logged on and purchased a new router along with a card for the desktop.  I won’t bore you with too many details, but we’ve have some issues.  I was on the phone with the last representative who had me remove the wireless card, reboot the router, reinsert the card, etc. and we finally had things working again.  I started this series of questions,

“Okay, it’s working.” 

“That’s great, sir.” 

 “Yeah, so what do I do if it knocks me off again?” 

“Well sir, then you should go to our website and download our driver update.” 

“I should do that if I can’t get on-line.” 

“Yes sir.” 

“And how would you propose I do that?” 

“Well our website is www.support….” 

“Right, and I should go there.” 

“Yes” 

“If I can’t get on-line.  You want me to go to your website.  Which is on-line.” 

Silence.  Pause, pause, pause. 

“Well sir, perhaps you should download that now while you are on-line.” 

“Indeed.”

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