TagHelp Desk

Patience

People have been taught to get off the line as quickly as possible. This comes from a toxic help desk culture of tracking the seconds of each call and keeping agents to strict quotas.

I work in a place where we are not bombarded with hundreds of calls per hours even though we serve a user community of over 20,000 people. Everyday once I’ve unlocked an account or reset a password, the caller says please wait with me while I try that or please don’t go! And I reassure them I am here for as long as they need me.

I am not held to a time limit for calls. My metric is customer satisfaction. Did I solve the problem? Did I give the customer an avenue for support if I’m not able to offer it? I want my customers to be happy and I work in an environment where that is not only expected but encouraged.

When you work in a place that respects the customer’s time and success, you’re still fighting against those in the industry who do not.

Text Travels

Exepundit write a short post today that really struck me. In Some Helpful Cautions he writes,

“Would the person who sent you that e-mail be completely comfortable if you forwarded it to another person?”

I never assume my email is private. I never assume the recipient of my email is the only person who will see it. Let me tell you a story about working in tech support. There are no secrets.

When you’re supporting customers, you generate a lot of text. You send email. You type instant messages. You update tickets. Your words are everywhere. Those words end up in the most unlikely of places.

Text Travels

When you update a ticket, that ticket could be seen my management, either yours or the customer’s management. Is this how you want to come across to management?

Ticket notes can be sent to customers. Did you write anything in the notes you wouldn’t want the customer to see? I’ve had help desk reps or other technicians send the entire ticket, with all notes and history to a customer or to another team without my knowledge. I have never been burned by this because I never make notes that disparage the customer or lie.

Truth

Never lie in ticket. Don’t say you did something when you didn’t. Don’t say you updated the customer if you did not. Don’t say you installed a program if you didn’t. Don’t say you called someone and left a voicemail if you never dialed their number.

Your lies will come back to haunt you. You’re doing a disservice to your customer and yourself. So don’t lie. Tell the truth about what you did, what you didn’t do and most importantly, what worked to resolve the issue.

Help Future You

Future you needs the help of Past You to be successful. I’ve fixed thousands of problems over the years. I’ve assisted other people with fixes and workarounds for their problems. Some took minutes and others took hours, days or weeks.

Always write what you did! Future You will thank you. I’ve gone back to old tickets many times to find “issue was resolved. Closing ticket.”

“Update fixed problem.”

Worked with _____ team to resolve issue.

WHAT DID YOU DO?

How does that help you or anyone? You’ll see this issue again. I guarantee when you fix an obscure issue you’ve never seen before, it will come up again!

Help yourself. Help your team. Help you 6 months from now when you remember fixing the issue, but have no idea what you did. Leave yourself a trail to follow.

List what you did. Specifically. Leave ticket notes behind that anyone could follow. Because in 6 months, or a year, or even 6 weeks later you are that person.

There’s nothing worse than solving the same problem over and over and starting from scratch each time. Give yourself and your team a head start.

Hindi Song

I wasn’t planning to post a follow-up to India Calling. And yes, they’re still calling. I’ve lost count of how many thousands of times they’ve called us in the past week. But it averages 4,200 calls from 6pm to 7am. And probably about the same during out working hours.

Most of the calls are still silence, or people conversing in the background. More of them are button presses or a recording that we’ve been placed on hold.

But every now and again, there is a truly amazing call. And this call is one such call.

To set the stage, I answered the call and started singing My Hero by the Foo Fighters. Because when you receive hundreds of calls per hour, the only thing you can do is have some fun with them.

And I got the singing Hindi song in response. Here is below in its full glory. I can’t explain why he sang it to me, or why he sang at all. But here it is.

India Calling

For the past three days, callers from India have called our help desk almost non-stop. When I arrived this morning, my co-worker’s telephone read 1324 missed calls since 6pm yesterday. For the first two hours of work this morning, we had racked up another 250 calls.

They finally slowed down around 3:30pm. After 1631 missed calls and another couple dozen calls we answered and hung up or had fun with them. My phone only logs the last 100 calls received and that only goes back 2 hours. It has been a long few days of constantly ringing phones.

Their goal is to get into our voicemail system. Though I’m not sure to what end. Most of the calls are silence, or the caller presses buttons, presumably to access the system. I keep telling them I’m a human and don’t understand Morse Code but they never respond. Rarely, we’ll get a person on the line who will speak to us. I got as far as being offered $1,015 for “the access code.”

So I decided to give him a long string of numbers. Since I’m not sure what access code he wanted, I tried my best to deliver an access code. So if this was your access code, I’m sorry. It’s now in the hands of the Indian Scammers™.

I recorded some snippets of our conversations and musical concertos recorded with my friends from across the sea. I hope you enjoy them and have a peaceful weekend.

Calling For Help

I am blown away continually how little respect people have for my time. Most of my days are very busy filled with complex and simple issues alike.
I do not have hours of time where I am sitting around waiting for people to decide their day has a small hole for me to help them.
That’s the primary thing that bothers me.

You, the user, has called the help desk or contacted me directly for help.

I want to help you.
I am here to help you.
I try to help you.
You tell me No.
Or later.
Or my personal favorite, “I’ll let you know.”

This is code for “I will never contact you again and will wait until this issue becomes unavoidable to contact you again.”

Your poor planning becomes my emergency.

It does not bother me personally you are having computer trouble. ((When I go home, I will not lose sleep over it.)) I could not care less of you cannot print, save, access or use a resource.
It is my job to help you but I am not invested in your job. When your poor planning and poor organization turn simple things into critical issues, they are not my problem.

I am not a magician.
I do not have a unicorn.
Computers are not run on pixie dust.
They do not speak to me in an ancient tongue.

Fixing problems takes time.

I know this may come as a shock but I am not a computer. I do not speak 1001100010011001 to it and have it reply.
I do not know what you’ve done to it. ((Purposefully or not.))
I do not know if what you’re telling me is true and correct. ((Again, purposefully or not.))
When I ask you a question about what you were doing when you had a problem I am not assigning blame.
I am looking for answers.

If you spilled water on your laptop, tell me.
If your child knocked it off a table, tell me.
If you “cleaned up” the registry, tell me.
If you “deleted some stuff in Windows”, tell me.

I will not blame you. I will not admonish you. I will not lecture you.

I am in search of information.
The more I know about a problem, the quicker I can diagnose and perform a repair.

In the search for information and troubleshooting. If you did something to the machine, I will find out. It will save is both a lot of time and effort if you can provide as much information as possible up front.

I am not here to belittle or judge your level of tech savvy. I am here to fix computers.