October Theme Of The Month: Halloween!

Category: Technology

The realm of Technical Support is there to provide expert assistance to those who are not so tech-savvy. Although they still expect you to know what a computer is, and how to turn it on, and to know that you can’t ‘fix the internet’ because it isn’t pretty enough. You have been warned…

Can’t Help Those Who Won’t Help Themselves

| CA, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Technology

(The entire network for my store and the stores in my district have gone down, preventing us from looking up customer accounts and values for electronic devices. A customer comes in to have an estimate for selling an iPhone.)

Customer: “How much can I get for this?”

Coworker: “Our system is down right now, so unfortunately we cannot look it up.”

Customer: “You can’t even try?”

Coworker: “Well, let’s give it a shot.”

(My coworker starts loading the screen, and the system only loads about halfway before failing.)

Coworker: “Since it’s still not working, I can give you the number of another store that does have their system functioning so they can give you an estimate.”

Customer: “So you mean I have to call them, and you can’t tell me here?”

Coworker: “We cannot.”

Customer: “Why not?”

(I have just clocked off, but decide to interject to help explain the situation.)

Me: “Our system is down, preventing us from looking up the estimate. However, this store can give you an estimate. Additionally, you can go onto our store website and find an estimate there.”

Customer: “So you’re telling me you can’t help me?”

Me: “Through our system we cannot, but I have provided you two alternatives to help you out.”

Customer: *starts leaving* “Dumb-a** b****, won’t even help me out and look it up for me.”

Another Customer: “Their system is down lady! Gosh, what is her problem?”

Bashing The Button Basher

| TX, USA | Extra Stupid, Technology

(A 20-something calls in with the very common problem of their TV showing a blank screen. I’m second-level tech support, meaning they’ve already spoken to someone who either concluded their problem was serious, or simply gave up attempting to assist them.)

Me: “Press the red button at the very top of your remote.”

Caller: “Umm… uh… What’s a button?”

Me: “Do you want to think about what you just asked for a moment?”

Caller: “Umm, yeah, what’s a button?”

Me: “Those little round things that make stuff happen when you push them.”

Caller: “Oh, it worked! What was wrong?”

Me: “Your TV was turned off.”

On A Completely Different Wavelength

| USA | Extra Stupid, Technology

Customer: “I am looking for a portable radio with headphones I can use while I walk or go to the gym.”

Me: “Certainly! May I suggest this unit right here? It is actually an all-in-one unit; the radio is a part of the headphone assembly itself.”

Customer: “I would rather have the headphones and radio be separate.”

Me: “Well, we have multiple pocket radios with a headphone jack right over here. Do any of these look like what you are looking for?”

Customer: “I would rather have a larger unit I can keep on the table, and plug into the wall.”

Me: “Well, this unit right here is a little larger but can still be carried on you, and can plug into the wall as well as use headphones. It will charge while it’s plugged in, and you can take it with you when you walk or travel.”

Customer: “But I don’t want it to use batteries.”

Me: “So you want it to be a wall-socket only, non-battery powered, portable radio you can use while you walk and exercise?”

Customer: “Yes, why is that so complicated?”

No Ram-ifications

| ID, USA | Liars & Scammers, Technology, Theme Of The Month

(I work in the back of the thrift store, where everything is sorted and tested. A Hispanic family comes in the front of the store, carrying three very old laptops.)

Customer: “We bought these laptops from here, and would like to exchange them from something else.”

Manager #1: “I’ll take these back to the electronics guys, and make sure they work.”

(He takes them back to the guys, and relays the story. While I don’t work at the electronics testing station, my area is right next to it, so I can see clearly what they are testing. They sometimes call me over because I have a strong technical background.)

Tester: “I don’t ever remember seeing these laptops.”

Me: “Neither do I!”

Manager #1: “Hey, wait a minute. There is no sticker residue! Nor is there rubbing of where they should have been! Also, they didn’t come in with a receipt. Something’s fishy here.”

(While they have me quickly test the laptops, Manager #1 gets Manager #2, who is fluent in Spanish, but Caucasian.)

Manager #1: *in Spanish* “Hello! So, were you trying to exchange the laptops?”

Customer: *flustered* “Did I say ‘exchange?’ I meant ‘donate!'”

Manager #2: “Well, I’m glad we could sort out the miscommunication!”

(Two of the laptops don’t boot up because they don’t even have a hard drive. The one that does boot has a very small amount of RAM. The kicker? Even if, by some fluke, we had sold those laptops, they would have been thoroughly tested, and all three would have been sold as ‘for parts,’ meaning that the customer wouldn’t have been able to afford even one working laptop!)

Networking Notworking

| Stockholm, Sweden | Extra Stupid, Technology

(I am working as a shift leader in tech support for a global Swedish telephone company. I usually take phone calls from the agents where the customer is rather upset. I get called to an agent, where the customer is furious and yelling at him. I take over the phone.)

Me: “Hi, this is the managing shift leader; I hear you have a complaint. May I ask what this is about?”

Customer: “Yes! I called you guys yesterday about not getting network connection in my office, and nothing has happened yet! Do you have any idea how much money I am costing the company, unable to work?”

Me: “Okay, I understand; just give me a minute to check the logged issue.”

(I read the ticket and get suspicious immediately, because information about basic troubleshooting is missing.)

Me: “Sir? When you reported this, did the agent ask you to try another outlet?”

Customer: “Yes! It wasn’t working with that one either! Send me an onsite technician right NOW!”

Me: “I’m sorry to say, but I believe there has been a misunderstanding here of the real root cause. May I please ask of you to just troubleshoot one more thing before I can escalate?”

Customer: “H*** no! I spent over 30 minutes on the phone last time and that didn’t do s***! Do you have any idea how much money I make? I could have 20 of your so-called onsite techs following me constantly and it wouldn’t even show on my salary! I demand a priority top issue on this matter, right now!”

Me: “Well sir, I am sorry to say that it is not allowed for a single user issue, no matter how much money you make. I am fairly certain the issue does not lie with the outlet, but in fact with your network card. So sending someone to ‘fix’ the outlet isn’t going to solve the issue. If you on the other hand, let me verify my suspicions, then this can be sorted out in a matter of minutes instead of days.”

Customer: “D*** it! You are all worthless pieces of s***! Fine, what do you want me to do?”

Me: “Just press the start button. In the run field you enter ‘cmd.’ Is there a black screen there now? Good. Please type ‘ping’ What does it say?”

Customer: “‘Request timed out.’ What does that mean?”

Me: “It’s as I suspected. Your network card is broken. So instead of waiting for an onsite technician, how about I refer this ticket to your walk-in-center, and you just give them the ticket number and get a loaner PC while they fix your network card? That way you can start working again.”

Customer: “Erm… well, yes. That would work. Er, thanks.”

Me: “You’re welcome!”

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