ISP questions

Steve Bertrand steve at
Fri Jun 5 14:03:09 UTC 2009

Bill Moran wrote:
> In response to Steve Bertrand <steve at>:
> [snip]
>> Disclaimer: I work as a network engineer at a small ISP. From time to
>> time, I still have to answer the phone every once in a while
>> (unfortunately).
>> I do not like dealing directly with users. Most of them complain, bitch
>> and snivel and have no respect. It's not my fault you can't connect if
>> your dog ate your keyboard, why are you bothering me?
>> I thoroughly enjoy a good conversation with a user if they can ask a
>> decent and sincere question, and I can tell they are willing to learn.
> I think there's a serious lesson to be learned here ... many years ago
> I realized just the kind of crap these people have to deal with on a
> daily basis, and I make it a point to be polite and friendly _any_ time
> I call tech support.  The upshot of this is that I've noticed that I'll
> get answers and help where other people won't ... the tech support folks
> _want_ to stay on the phone with me.

You are absolutely right, and I'm glad you pointed that out. Even I will
admit to not minding hanging on the phone a few extra minutes with a
calm, polite user (no matter how 'green' they are) if they do what I say
(without click-click-clicking in the background) throughout the
troubleshooting process.

We *always* will be up front and honest if we (or any of our wholesalers
or intermediaries) are having issues (that we know about).

Being small, we also expect users to believe that when we tell them that
they are having a problem at their end and they need to call someone in,
that we actually know what we are talking about.

It's the users who scream and bitch and claim "it hasn't worked for a
month!", meanwhile their IE is displaying an illegal page fault that are
really frustrating.

> The downside to this is when I make a call and either I or the the tech
> support person knows that they can't fix my problem -- being polite doesn't
> help much.

No, but remaining polite after you _both_ realize this and come to terms
with it will help you remain calm, and help the tech person be able to
deal with the next available irate client a little better.

>  When the both of us know that management or the higher level
> tech screwed something up and the tech support folks are supposed to be
> covering it up, there's not much you can really say or do, and that's
> _really_ frustrating.

Yes, I agree. I've been in that position previously during times where I
wasn't connected to my own ISP.

I must say, that my experience working in an ISP environment has
completely changed my attitude when it comes to me having to call a
different ISP on behalf of someone else (mind you, if required, I can
usually find someone there that has a clue).

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