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October 06, 2003

Tech Support

I have, at different time, been on both ends of the Tech Support line. The worst stories I have about providing tech support are when I was working for a financial organisation and the "operators" used to call with their problems. In this particular organisation the operators were assumed to be about as smart as trained monkeys. They had job sheets where every step was itemised and had to be initialled before proceeding. About 3 am I get paged for a support call so I ring in (as per the rules) to talk to Dopey (not his real name).

Dopey: Ummm. I gotta problem.
Me: What
Dopey: Ummm. I did step 6 before step 5.

I am racking my brain to think what the steps were numbered, eventually give up, grab my Newton and checks list. The abbreviated list looks something like:
Step 4: Insert current tapes (labelled XXXX1 through to XXXX4) in tape stacker (labelled UNIX-4)
Step 5: On the console select menu item (B)ackup and press return once. Wait for finished message.
Step 6: Eject stacker cartridge from tape stacker (labelled UNIX-4)
Basically, Dopey has ejected the cartridges before the backup has finished (actually as it turned out, before the backup started). He figured there were two activities that had to be done out of his chair (and away from the TV) so he economised by doing steps 4 and 6 together before trying step 5 which of course failed due to the lack of a tape to write on.

Me: OK, Do step 4 again.
Dopey: I can't.
Me: Why not?
Dopey: Because it has already been signed and logged (i.e. initialled and timestamped).
Me: You have to do step 4 again.
Dopey: I can't.
Me: Don't make me come in there with my LART and deal with you!

At this point Dopey hangs up. I have to get in the car and drive into the city. I park in the garage and head upstairs. There is no sign of Dopey - he split and never returned.

One day I will tell you a story from the other side: The Story of the ISP from Hell (with new improved outsourced call center). In the meantime, you could go and read this one while you wait.

Posted by Peskie at October 6, 2003 12:00 PM