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Grad Students Using Coke To Solve Their Problems

, , , , , | Learning | May 28, 2022

In the mid-1990s, I worked in tech support in a campus computer lab for the English department of my university. A grad student came to me, nearly in tears. The floppy that contained their thesis was unreadable. Could I help?

After several attempts, it was obvious that the disk was beyond repair. Sorry.

They shifted to plan B. Could I use the scanner attached to my computer to scan in their thesis? I was on the clock, and it was a slow day. Why not? So, I proceeded to scan their thesis using ’90s-era OCR software on an ancient flatbed scanner. It took forever.

When I gave them their file — with a caveat that the text was sure to be full of errors — they gave me a Coke.

In hindsight, they got off really cheap. But we were both poor college students, so I was happy with the Coke.

Such Complex Issues Are Best “Left” To The Experts

, , | Right | May 26, 2022

I’m on the phone assisting a customer.

Me: “Click on the Start button in the bottom lefthand corner of your screen.”

Caller: “Your left or mine?”

Dialing 101 101

, , | Right | May 25, 2022

When I worked in home line faults for one of the big telcos, I had a lady ask about how to use her voice message bank. I called her number and left a message while talking to her on the initial call; this avoids the problem with the customer not letting the phone ring out.

The next step was for me to hang up from her, and then she was to call 101 and retrieve the message, and I would call her back in a couple of minutes to make sure it was working. So, I hung up from the customer, waited two or three minutes, and called her back. She had not called 101.

Me: “Okay, let’s try again. I’ll call back again in a couple of minutes.”

I called back again. She had not called 101. I re-explained the steps, got her to repeat them to me, and hung up to try again. I called her back, and once again, she had not called 101 to pick up the message I had left. I tried the same thing several times more with the exact same result. I must have sounded like I was in a cult begging her to retrieve the message I left her.

About half an hour into this call, I suggested that we could remove the message bank as it seems like it might be a bit too complicated for her. Nope, she wanted her message bank. In the end, there were forty-five minutes of my life wasted, and she still didn’t know how her message bank worked. She was going to get her son to explain it to her. I felt sorry for him.

This Client Needs Some Special Attention

, , , , , | Right | May 24, 2022

I work in tech support. I’m called in on a consult because the company’s internal programs aren’t working. I look at the input and notice they keep entering a dash.

Me: “You know this input cannot handle special characters.”

Client: “It’s not special. I use it all the time.”

Define “Urgent”

, , , , | Working | May 17, 2022

I work in IT and I assist in tracking down issues and correcting them from various departments. The tickets are coded in priority from low to urgent, meaning that business is stopped.

I get an urgent ticket from the call center, which typically means phone lines are down, so I stop what I am doing to look at it. The request states that eighty calls in the past month have been routed incorrectly for [Product]. This needs to be researched and corrected immediately.

Eighty calls? I pull up how many calls this product receives each month: over 35,000.

I close the ticket and respond.

Me: “I show that members have the ability to select in the phone tree which department they wish to reach. If eighty members out of 35,000 calls reached the incorrect department — which is less than 0.23% of the call volume for [Product] — I would recommend that we put this in the monthly bulletin as a success case and see if we can get the same percentage in our other products. Thank you for sharing the good news with the IT department as, typically, we only see Urgent tickets for escalated items such as the phone system down in the call center.”

Sadly, it was not in the monthly bulletin, but it was brought up in my one-on-one with my manager to not copy the entire department on ticket responses.