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Techie Manuals I'd Like to See

    I think this is what our Helpless Desk uses.

From here. Go play - have fun!


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 7th, 2011 02:35 am (UTC)
I've definitely called that desk before.
May. 7th, 2011 02:16 pm (UTC)

We're in the process of transitioning from one low-ball help desk bidder to another. Yays?

May. 7th, 2011 02:45 am (UTC)
Hooboy. That's how I feel about the tech people at our school district. In order to find a teacher's e-mail address, you need to know their full name. If I knew the full name, in most case, I could figure out the e-mail address on my own. Sheesh.
May. 7th, 2011 02:19 pm (UTC)

That's actually a common symptom of help desks - not thinking outside the box, not even one millimeter. You tell them it's the teacher named Ms. Wilson, they look and see 3 female Wilsons, and instead of saying "Is it the one who teachers 5th grade, 3rd grade, or Kindergarten?", they say they can't figure out which one.

It's like they have a script for which there are only certain questions and those questions only have certain answers.

May. 7th, 2011 02:41 pm (UTC)
My complaint is actually about the web design, not the help desk aspects. I don't expect them to need to be a help desk; I expect them to design something useful and intuitive. Instead, the website is cluttered and every time they mess with it, they make it worse.

I'm not even going to get into the absolute crap form letter they sent out (more than a week in advance) describing the parent portal that allows you to see your child's grades in real time. I wound up yelling at someone over that who kept trying to talk over me and wouldn't let me finish a sentence. I hate that.
May. 7th, 2011 04:02 pm (UTC)
The sad thing is, they probably DO have a script. Because hiring people who are minimally/under/un-qualified to actually troubleshoot things on their own, and handing them a set of scripts/flowcharts for the most common sort of problems and telling them to follow it to the letter OR ELSE, (and frequently punishing the ones who DO show any initiative in thinking outside the box) is much much cheaper than actually hiring people who are competent and qualified, and that's just what you tend to get with organizations going for a slash-costs-to-the-bone, lowest-bidder sort of mentality when staffing/outsourcing a help desk. :/

Once upon a time, back in the dark ages when dinosaurs roamed the earth, the ISP I used to work for had its own in-house tech support, and our guys and gals were really pretty damn good. They knew our systems, they knew our policies, they'd come talk to the sysadmins and abuse people informally if they wanted to know more about something, and we held regular training sessions for them on how to deal with stuff that needed to be escalated up to us. It was an entry-level position and so of course the pay wasn't great, but people were able to learn enough on-the-job that the really savvy ones didn't stay in it for ever, they either moved up to techier positions in-house or else they used their experience to get better techier jobs someplace else after a year or two. Our customers were pretty happy because our techsup staff actually put serious effort and thought into trying to solve their problems; and when we bought out several smaller regional ISPs, we got places much like ourselves right down to the high-quality customer support departments.

This was, of course, too good to last. First the higher-ups decided that it was stupid to be paying for multiple separate facilities, etc., and started eliminating people/departments at all the newer acquisitions and centralizing stuff. Which I'm sure makes sense as a business decision, but the way it was done...ended up with our people having to support all these weird unfamiliar legacy customers/systems that were different from ours with absolutely minimal training/documentation, and there were only a dwindling handful of remaining legacy employees that you could seek help from when inevitably you ran into something tricky. Unsurprisingly, the legacy customers were NOT happy with the changes, because even though our techs were good they were working at a severe disadvantage when dealing with anything quirky specifically related to the legacy systems.

And THEN, when the parent company started circling the drain, one of the first big cost-cutting moves was ditching our entire in-house support staff, and farming everything out to one of those outsourcing companies that sets up huge call-centre barns in economically depressed parts of the country, where they can pay absolute peanuts compared to even an underpaid entry-level tech support gig near DC; and the performance metric they were working to was not customer satsifaction, but call volume handled. And these folks were totally cut off from us -- we didn't train them, we didn't talk to them in the halls or the intra-company mailing lists and chat servers, we literally had no direct personal points of contact with anyone there except for a handful of supervisors. Needless to say, the quality of service provided dropped drastically, and our customers hated it -- but the management didn't care, because the numbers said the new setup was handling more calls faster for less money, and that was all that mattered to them. :/

May. 7th, 2011 06:31 am (UTC)
The link wont load for me :P

but i think i have to defend helpdesks slightly because i more or less work in one. :P I work hard for customers satisfaction, at the end of the day hearing that the connection works again does make me happy :)

but we are based in Australia for an Australian ISP. I find it difficult to talk to the HP helpdesk.
May. 7th, 2011 02:27 pm (UTC)

You're right, it's down. I think we broke the site! I got that from a friend on Facebook, so there's probably been a lot of traffic going there.

Don't get me wrong, I worked Help Desk for 5 years myself. That's exactly why I have no use for the attitudes of most of the people who do it.

We were supporting a required government data gathering project, people had to use this system, they hated it, they were all remote (phone support only), we never knew what they had in the way of a desktop system at the other end, and because it was a legal reporting system, the users were generally not technical: they were secretaries, clerks, or financial assistants. We had to tell these people how to create a clean ASCII text file of the report from whatever word processor they were using, how to use their modems (usually external in those days - no Intarwebs yet!), and how to use either their own telecomm product or our proprietary product or both.

These Help Desk people at my office nowadays? Who are only supporting one organization with a limited set of hardware and software? Hah! They have it easy! Why are they so helpless and surly?

May. 7th, 2011 08:36 pm (UTC)
hmmm i dunno it is hard to say, a friend told me a story about a member of their team hanging up on customers. All i say is "Gah" i've worked their for two years, you don't hang up on people without warning.

I think good helpdesk roles are more customer service roles so you're trained to assist the customer rather than to push their issues away.
May. 8th, 2011 01:39 am (UTC)

Yes, exactly! For Tier I support - the people who take the initial call - customer service is key. You have to calm the customer down, be reassuring, and get the customer to the point where he or she can explain the problem in enough detail so that troubleshooting can begin. After that, if necessary, you can always bring in a more technical person to take over if the problem isn't simple.

When they interviewed us for the job I was describing above, we did role-playing: the interviewers pretended to be angry customers, and we had to act out what we would do in such a situation.

Edited at 2011-05-08 01:39 am (UTC)
May. 7th, 2011 09:21 pm (UTC)
I'm fairly certain this is the guide used by the lovely, lovely people at Cox Communications.
May. 8th, 2011 01:40 am (UTC)

It's a very popular book!


May. 12th, 2011 05:34 pm (UTC)
Good one.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )


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