ISP questions

Reid Linnemann lreid at
Fri Jun 5 14:13:46 UTC 2009

Written by Steve Bertrand on 06/05/09 08:43>>
>> Despite frustrations try to remember, it's not the tech support
>> people's fault. They're just there 8-5 trying to make rent and pay for
>> their kids dental. If you want to blame somebody, blame management.
> The tech support people do what they are told to do. If you've ever had
> a job in which every single incoming call is someone who is frustrated,
> angry and is going to take it out on *you*, it might be understandable
> why the tech support call centre business is like an employee revolving
> door, and they can't keep anyone longer than a few months.

I did the support gig for the better part of two years when I started
school. It was difficult, especially when the people that were
frustrated, angry, and determined to take it out on me had broken or
ancient hardware and lived out in the boondocks where audible crackling
could be heard over the same phone line they were using to dial in with.
I even had a guy call in once who got irate with me because I wouldn't
help him troubleshoot why his video card was displaying only 256 colors.
He just wanted someone to be mad at, and I was it.

> I've been in the industry quite a while, and I would hazard a guess that
> about 85% of tech support calls incoming would be user error.
> Unless it's a relatively small ISP, you can't expect the tech support
> people to be able to answer questions relating to the engineering of
> their network (how many hops to the core), what software they run on
> their servers etc.

This is very true. When the ISP I worked at was smaller and had a
support staff of around 10 people, and the network engineers where in
the next room, everyone knew what servers ran what services, what type
of machines they were, what versions of what operating systems were one
them, how to edit the zone files, etc. When that ISP was acquired by a
larger one, and operations expanded and the different departments
separated, things started getting dumb. Rapidly.

> Perhaps if people were to call into their tech support helpdesk every
> once in a while when they *aren't* having any issues just to tell them
> that their doing a heck of a job, and to have a nice day, you might find
> the staff willing to stay around a bit longer and become a little more
> knowledgeable for the next time one calls.

IMO, I think it's more laudable to take a minute to calm down when you
have an issue, take a deep breath, consider the position of the guy/girl
on the other end, and then make your tech support call with the
intention of making it productive for the poor dude/lady who is likely
getting bitched at not only from other users, but from his/her own
management as well for having an average call time over 5 minutes or for
taking a 16 minute break when only 15 minutes are allowed. Recognize
that every time that rep's phone rings, he/she feels a wave of horror
and anxiety for what might be on the other end - some problem they can't
solve, and irate user, a fed up user calling to cancel (but management
won't allow them to comply without trying to dissuade the user or put
them through a lengthy exit poll), or maybe the first call to mark the
beginning of an outage, sure to be followed by nothing but irate callers
for the next several hours.

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