Tech support questions
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Thread: Tech support questions

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2002

    Tech support questions

    I am sure that most of you (AO readers) have contacted support at some point in your career. I now have the task of improving our software support staff and just want a few suggestions on what makes a good support staff. What are the things that you guys/gals appreciate when calling tech support?

    Also, for those that have/do run tech support, how did you manage statistics? What things did you record and keep track of?
    Sex is like \"Social Security\". You get a little each month, but it\'s not enough to live on.

  2. #2
    Priapistic Monk KorpDeath's Avatar
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    Dec 2001
    Well speaking english helps. Though nowadays that's a rarity.

    Actually listening to what the problem is helps also, instead of going through a checklist of solutions that have nothing to do with the problem.

    I guess these are personality traits that support people have to have instead of, say, a policy you could enforce or a process you could make a flowchart out of.
    Mankind have a great aversion to intellectual labor; but even supposing knowledge to be easily attainable, more people would be content to be ignorant than would take even a little trouble to acquire it.
    - Samuel Johnson

  3. #3
    The best advice I can give for tech support staffing is to find people who know what they're doing, don't just give them a checklist. Make sure they can actually solve problems. Also, make sure your staff knows that if they can't solve a problem, it is acceptable to pass the problem to a supervisor.

  4. #4
    In And Above Man Black Cluster's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
    Check the following:

    1- The competency of the tech support.
    2- They are polite enough to address customers' problems.
    3- They can smile at an angry face.
    4- They can ACTUALLY help customers instead of wasting time.

    Checking what are the FAQs of customers ultimately helps to imporve the quality of the product or service you offer.

    Creating a database for the custoemrs is really delicate in terms of self-development, self-assessment and overall competency of the company.

    For instance, if there is an increasing complain about a part of the product or the service these complains MUST be reported to the development team, in order to handle it.

    Just my $0.02
    \"The only truly secure system is one that is powered off, cast in a block of concrete and sealed in a lead-lined room with armed guards - and even then I have my doubts\".....Spaf
    Everytime I learn a new thing, I discover how ignorant I am.- ... Black Cluster

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Awsome guys/gals. Thanks for the postings..look forward to more input. The guys here that I train/work with do not read scripts. It is all from the head (mostly, some are MS KB items).
    Sex is like \"Social Security\". You get a little each month, but it\'s not enough to live on.

  6. #6
    AO's Resident Redneck The Texan's Avatar
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    Aug 2003
    My biggest deal is them speaking and understanding english. and actually listening to what you have to say instead of just passing you along or putting you on hold forever. and please speak in terms normal ppl understand.. i mean i work with computers so i usually know what they are talking about but, people like my parents no way!
    Git R Dun - Ty
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  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2002
    I agree. We are an American/English speaking company that has not outsourced our tech support. I hope to hear from some AO guys that currently (or have prior) done stats with their techs, so I can gauge what kinds of things I need to log.
    Sex is like \"Social Security\". You get a little each month, but it\'s not enough to live on.

  8. #8
    ********** |ceWriterguy
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Having worked as outsourced tech support for AoHell before it all got re-outsourced to India I can offer up the following from their point of view:

    1. You'd be amazed at how many Americans cannot speak English above monosyllables.

    2. Tech support won't help you fix windows, no matter how hard you try.

    3. It's amazing how well an uninstall/reinstall will work when done properly. Add to this it's amazing how many users reinstall an infinite number of times without uninstalling anything until their hard drive is full and they call tech support complaining.

    Now I give you the 'hideously bad' dark secret of AoHell tech support - even when you have a semi-competent tech on the phone with you, odds are he's going by a computer program known as 'Sherlock' - which is designed to ask certain questions based on keywords he enters into its database, and offer up solutions in sequential order. It works just like the 'troubleshooter' MS incorporates into their operating systems nowadays. The downside is that even if the tech knows what the problem is, and knows exactly how to fix it, he's bound by contract to go by the steps Sherlock offers and not his own knowledge. This tends to anger the real techies out there who can fix the systems they're taking calls on, because they know that Sherlock usually takes about 10 tries to find and fix the problem correctly. It also tends to anger the customers because those 10 steps each involve a separate phone call (unless you have a 2nd phone line or are calling from your cell, in which case it involves about an hour of work to do a 2 minute fix.)

    Welcome to the age of automated tech support. I refuse to call any of 'em, and couldn't understand them if I did. If they can't fix it realtime through a chat or prompt email responses, I'll blow away their software and reinstall it myself.
    Even a broken watch is correct twice a day.

    Which coder said that nobody could outcode Microsoft in their own OS? Write a bit and make a fortune!

  9. #9
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
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    Jul 2003
    United Kingdom: Bridlington

    1. Listen..............then listen some more.......
    2. Make sympathetic noises, and DO ask obvious questions............wouldn't be the first time I have gone to "fix" a computer that only needed a fuse in the power cable
    3. Keep records, some hardware and software actually have endemic design faults
    4. Talk to eachother and share your prize for re-inventing the wheel!

    Checklists are really only for stuff that has been RTB, on the 'phone you should sound natural and confident.

    A bit of humour for the end of the week:

    nihil: "do the little green lights come on at the front?"

    ZT3000 (£$%^&*): "nice to hear that you deal with such a technical customer base nihil"

  10. #10
    AO übergeek phishphreek's Avatar
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    Jan 2002
    I like when they throw a lot of techno babble at me hoping that I won't find out they have no F'ing clue what the hell they are talking about.

    Then I solve my own problem wondering why I even bothered to call in the first place...
    Quitmzilla is a firefox extension that gives you stats on how long you have quit smoking, how much money you\'ve saved, how much you haven\'t smoked and recent milestones. Very helpful for people who quit smoking and used to smoke at their computers... Helps out with the urges.

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