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BS: Techs Online

Ebbie 23 Jun 09 - 03:16 PM
Amos 23 Jun 09 - 03:18 PM
Ebbie 23 Jun 09 - 03:24 PM
Bill D 23 Jun 09 - 04:29 PM
Joe Offer 23 Jun 09 - 05:53 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Jun 09 - 05:56 PM
Ebbie 23 Jun 09 - 07:28 PM
Bill D 23 Jun 09 - 10:36 PM
Amergin 24 Jun 09 - 02:17 AM
robomatic 24 Jun 09 - 12:25 PM
Dave the Gnome 24 Jun 09 - 01:49 PM
Willie-O 24 Jun 09 - 06:54 PM
Willie-O 24 Jun 09 - 07:10 PM
Bill D 24 Jun 09 - 07:32 PM
Bill D 24 Jun 09 - 07:36 PM
Stilly River Sage 24 Jun 09 - 07:42 PM
Claymore 25 Jun 09 - 02:26 AM
Willie-O 25 Jun 09 - 08:03 AM
Bill D 25 Jun 09 - 10:47 AM
EBarnacle 25 Jun 09 - 02:08 PM
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Subject: BS: Techs Online
From: Ebbie
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 03:16 PM

I just had the best interaction with a tech. Best service I've ever had.

I bought an external drive last year but discovered months later that I couldn't run DVDs on it- CDs were fine. It kept saying that I needed a driver. I didn't know where the manual had gone but I looked online from time to time and gave up each time after link after link.

Today, I plugged 'I/O Magic' into Google and came upon my make right away and, amazingly, there was a link to "Live chat" for problems. Filled in the form and pressed Send.

"Ronny" came online and with a few back and forths up popped the DVD drive. The whole process took perhaps 10 minutes.

Lovely.


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Subject: RE: BS: Techs Online
From: Amos
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 03:18 PM

It is so good when it works!! Makes it easy to forget theother 85% of our experiences with "tech support" from less competent companies.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Techs Online
From: Ebbie
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 03:24 PM

Isn't that the truth! But this one will give me an internal smile the rest of the day.


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Subject: RE: BS: Techs Online
From: Bill D
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 04:29 PM

That's good to hear, because I just spent 3 days (including 2 hours today) trying to deal with Sears. I wanted my lawnmower to start, and they wanted to replace the brand NEW blade *I* bought 3 weeks ago, and 'fix' wheel adjusters that were their poor design...at $16 apiece. I talked to 4 people before I sort of accidently got the head of the repair shop, who argued with me for 10 minutes before he finally agreed to just make the damn thing START. I saved $50

The repair shop is no longer on premises...it is in Baltimore, an hour away. They told me that 'replacing the blade' is now an automatic part of a repair...at $15...whether it's needed or not. He said they do 900 mowers a week. Guess why they make YOU specify not to do it....

Now I have this water filter pump on the refrigerator...from Sears...that is not working....

*sigh*


(I'm happy for you, Ebbie.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Techs Online
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 05:53 PM

Well, my AT&T/2Wire DSL modem went out Sunday, which caused a family crisis due to lack of Internet access. I took the modem to the AT%T store Monday, and they confirmed that the modem was probably dead and said that they had a lot of complaints about dead modems that were about 1-1/2 yewars old. They offered me an identical modem for $80, and I turned it down. I decided it might be better to buy another brand, preferably Netgear or Linksys. I checked several stores. The office supply stores did not carry DSL modems, and Fry's and BestBuy had lots of empty spaces on their shelves. Fry's did have one Netgear modem - for $150, so I settled for a $100 modem from Trendnet. Fry's told me I had to call AT&T to get connection information.

So, OK, I called AT&T, and they said they had a PPPoE connectionnd all I needed were my user name and password. So, I tried that, and it didn't connect. I called AT&T again, and they said they didn't support my modem, but that I could call AT&T Support, presumably to get somebody who could do more than read instructions off a piece of paper. Turns out, THAT AT&T support charges by the minute for help.

Then I called Trendnet, and their support tech talked me through a manual connection process. All I had to change was the VPI number, from something to zero. Then it worked. The Trendnet representative was very helpful, although it was clear she was reading off a piece of paper.

But why couldn't the modem be set up to connect easily to AT&T? And why couldn't the AT&T rep have talked me through a manual logon? And why couldn't AT&T have given me a decent modem to start with?

The AT&T person was nice, but not too bright. The Trendnet person was competent and efficient, and pleasant.

-Joe Offer, AT&T stockholder-


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Subject: RE: BS: Techs Online
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 05:56 PM

Pertinent only to Bill D, but I had a riding lawnmower from Sears and needed to replace the belt. They wanted something like $60 for the part. I was cussing about it to my auto mechanic, and he said he thought he could get the right fit cheaper. He found it for $15. On several other things, Sears was high on parts that were cheaper elsewhere. In general, their repair is high.


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Subject: RE: BS: Techs Online
From: Ebbie
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 07:28 PM

By the way, that tech support I'm feeling good about is FREE. :)


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Subject: RE: BS: Techs Online
From: Bill D
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 10:36 PM

I think Sears is in deep, deep trouble. There are very few customers at times when *I* go in, (though I tend to choose mid-afternoon on a weekday), There are very few clerks on the floor, and one often has to walk to another dept. just to PAY for something. The clerks they do have are about 4 on a scale of 10, and are surly and/or vague.

I fret about how many items I have from Sears I may need parts for in the next few years.

(This is a pretty big, major Sears store that has an excellent location.) The only department that seems to be thriving is Craftsman tools.


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Subject: RE: BS: Techs Online
From: Amergin
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 02:17 AM

I avoid calling tech support as much as possible....because 9.5 times out of ten...I know more about what is going on than they do....the only times I ring tech support is if a a hardware component is dead...and if the item is still under warranty to make arrangements for its replacement...or b...the internet connection is down...and the cause is outside the premises...(down wire, network down that sort of thing)....

sometimes my stubbornness can cause me to spend hours troubleshooting my computer.....for example since my brother was deployed back to iraq....i came into possession of a 64 bit pc with windows 7, all the toys that I want for the time being with the ability to expand it...but it was constantly giving me the dreaded blue screen of death...and nothing worked...reformatted and reinstalled 3 times...still did it...couldnt find anything online about resolutions...so finally yesterday it gave me the blue screen of death...and i rebooted...but it would not boot into windows...it refused to boot off the hard drive...and would only boot of the dvd drive....so i put the windows disk in...and still wouldnt boot...went into the bios...and disabled a few boot options...made sure it would only boot off the hard drive...and bingo...it boots up now...no data lost, and no bloody blue screen of death...so something i did in there caused it to stop....the bloody thing's been working beautifully now....which is just as well...since it is a built pc...with a beta os...no tech support to really contact...


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Subject: RE: BS: Techs Online
From: robomatic
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 12:25 PM

Bill D:

A very good friend of our family had the Sears "moving parts" rule (You don't buy anything from Sears that has moving parts). Many years ago I received for my birthday an electric typewriter, not the same deal as my Mom's, a SMith Corona with a HAND return, but a PUSH-BUTTON return. It was shaped and built just like a Smith Corona, but it had different colors and said "Sears" or "Kenmore" on it. Although it was my birtthday it was a major purchase for us and we all went to Sears together to pick it up. I remembered the moving parts rule and suggested we unbox it and plug it in RIGHT IN THE STORE. We did this, and it wouldn't start!

AH HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

The next one worked.


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Subject: RE: BS: Techs Online
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 01:49 PM

this one will give me an internal smile the rest of the day

Can you have an internal smile about an external drive. Sounds kind of perverse to me...

:D (eG)


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Subject: RE: BS: Techs Online
From: Willie-O
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 06:54 PM

Joe sed: "Then I called Trendnet, and their support tech talked me through a manual connection process. All I had to change was the VPI number, from something to zero. Then it worked. The Trendnet representative was very helpful, although it was clear she was reading off a piece of paper.

But why couldn't the modem be set up to connect easily to AT&T? And why couldn't the AT&T rep have talked me through a manual logon? And why couldn't AT&T have given me a decent modem to start with?"

Far be it from me to defend ATT, or the just-as-evil Canadian telecom corp I worked for for two years as a level one tech, but I can perhaps illuminate the process here.

The key words are "modem not supported". In a perfect world, all questions would be answered by whoever picks up the phone, but that knowledge base is not available to everyone. There is hardware that is designed and configured for your particular service, and then there is hardware that you choose to buy which might work, or might not work. The ISP can't keep up with the exact features of every conceivable type of modem that might work with your service, so they choose two or three "supported" models and make sure the helpdesk has all the necessary info on those. If you want to use one that they don't support, you are of course directed to the manufacturer of the product you are trying to use.

AS you point out, AT&T also has two streams of tech support service: one that is included in the price of your service, and one that charges by the minute for support questions which deal with non-supported hardware that people choose to use with the service, or presumably other non-supported issues dealing with user knowledge. (Your ISP help desk is not there to teach basic computer-use skills. I'm not being snotty; read on) Most people want the free helpdesk service, of course, and they want the phone picked up in twenty seconds, not twenty minutes. Call centre logistics are a balance of staffing, scheduling, training and all that, and to meet the answer-time objective, calls must be kept as short as possible, and there needs to be priorizing of essential and supported services. So it makes sense to limit the number of items that are supported.

If the free support service tries to support every type of question thrown at them, they will not be meeting their call-answer time objectives, and if it's you calling in with a routine inquiry for your DNS numbers or a sync check to find out whether your modem's blown or the network is down in your area, (or your kid unplugged your modem, but you don't believe that do you?) you won't like waiting and listening to that stupid music for half an hour because other people are on the line getting support for their non-critical or issues, which take longer to sort out (often because the callers lack any knowledge of their computer or internet setup--again, we don't teach that--go read a book or take a course).         

Level one techs are not PhD-bearing systems analysts, they are people like me, who have basic tech savvy, demonstrate communication skills, and will work for about fifteen bucks an hour. It's silly to put them down for "reading from a piece of paper"--um, it's a computer screen, just like yours--but that's actually a good thing. Cause it means there's a procedure to follow. You're not the only one to have this problem. I don't know how it is in the US, but in Canada, a lot of level one techs are experienced and very good in their jobs, like I was after a year or so, because if you're not bilingual, there are not many promotions you are eligible for in the call centre business. (Since tech support calls go to level one techs first, they can be streamed into French and English-speaking queues which can be staffed by unilingual techs. However, if the call needs to be escalated to level two or higher, there are a lot fewer of those people around, especially at night, so at that point, bilingualism is a job requirement. That's just the way it is.)

Now, there is certainly abuse of procedures from many techs, who have the simple objective of keeping their call times short. Because bottom line, that (aside from multi-linguistic skills) is how you advance your pay grade. Customer service skills are nice, but call time is everything. (I got stuck at grade 2 of 5 pay levels within Level One, cause I was better at customer service than at keeping em short.) So if the tech can quickly establish that you are using something unsupported (whether or not that unsupported item is relevant to the problem, which it may or may not be), you are gone, and understandably pissed off. Or they may tell you to reboot your PC, power-cycle your modem and router, then call back if you still have a problem (note: always do this before you call--it fixes at least half of all disconnects!) Bye, you will be calling back five minutes later but you're someone else's problem.   

Also, I found that although your calls are listened to and graded, if you "accidentally" lost a connection with a customer, you weren't penalized--the transcript would just say "connection lost--assume positive intent". All the calls I ever lost were by accident, lots of buttons on those phones--and they helped my call times! You can see where this could lead.   

I could go on, but I think I already have...plenty

hope that provides some understanding, Joe and everyone else.

W-O
Former Help Desk Slave


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Subject: RE: BS: Techs Online
From: Willie-O
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 07:10 PM

And I should add, thanks Ebbie, on Ronny's behalf. Being able to help people solve their problems is really very satisfying--best part of the job. If you are very happy with service you receive, ask for their ID number so you can call back and leave a compliment

I think I should also point out that, if you are ever aggravated and find yourself tempted to take out your frustrations on the helpdesk tech on the other end, whether they deserve it or (more usually) not, don't go there. You are talking to someone who is looking at ALL KINDS OF YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION. They have all your account login codes, your address and phone number, can read your e-mail, change your passwords, etc etc, and could potentially cause you much grief, whereas all you can do is ask for a supervisor. (Click. "Assume positive intent".) Seriously, you have no privacy whatsoever from your ISP representatives. We were required to keep a log of all our calls, including the caller's info, so I could have walked out of work every day with about forty sets of login codes and whatnot...there were no privacy controls whatsoever. It's a wonder there isn't more abuse of this carelessly handled data. Must be because people are basically good, that's all I can make of it.

W-O


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Subject: RE: BS: Techs Online
From: Bill D
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 07:32 PM

You are absolutely right Wille-O, but the very truth of what you say shows the circularity of the increasing problems...more technology means more confusion, and more confusion mean more calls....and less time to answer them and fewer qualified people to do it...and more restrictions on "call time"....and often, more 'automated call filtering' asking you to push buttons for 'choices' which are usually not about what you need! (It took me 10 minutes to even get thru the menu to be put on hold!)

Several years ago, I bought a fancy all-in-one printer/fax/scanner from HP to got with my HP computer. It wouldn't work...the PC didn't recognize it.
Nice guy on tech support (remember...brand new item)...ran me thru long minutes of "try this...try that...are you sure you plugged it in?) THEN he said: "Now, the directory where this is installed...is it in UPPER CASE or lower case?"

"Hunh?"...says I..."I'll look............oh..UPPER CASE!"

"Ok," says he, "change it to lower case."

"Hunnnnhhh?" says I...Ok...wait.....there."

"Now, try the recognition routine again."

"Glory!" says I.."It worked!"

"I'm glad" says he.

"Ummmm...", I ventured,"I don't suppose you are allowed to comment on why that silliness happened in the first place, or why there is no simple documentation in the manual, or why you were not allowed to suggest that trick FIRST?"

"No sir...I'm glad it works."


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Subject: RE: BS: Techs Online
From: Bill D
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 07:36 PM

(and yeah...when I called Sears, the first human I spoke to made me PROVE...in great detail...exactly who I was. I am not sure why complaining about my lawnmower repair warranted all that...but...)


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Subject: RE: BS: Techs Online
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 07:42 PM

Joe, I shop for a lot of those items now at NewEgg.com. They have much better prices than many other businesses for a variety of tech items. My Motorola modem and Linksys router both came from there at a considerable savings over the next lowest price. And often there is free shipping.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Techs Online
From: Claymore
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 02:26 AM

Bill D,

I find that the one thing that Sears does well is to have backup parts for almost everything they sell, include other brand name repair parts for those items they sell in their stores. You have to do the repairs yourself, but the part is available. Past examples include a belt for a twenty year old clothes dryer, door latch for a ten year old Panasonic microwave, and batteries for the best screw gun anybody ever put out, the 4.8 volt screw gun (slow enough not to over-drive the screw, strong enough to drive any length screw). You have to order off an 800 number but if you know the make and model number of your item, even if you didn't buy it from Sears they may have the part.


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Subject: RE: BS: Techs Online
From: Willie-O
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 08:03 AM

Yes Bill, there are a lot of restrictions on what the help desk slave is or isn't allowed to say--especially in regards to whether the customer has previously experienced imperfect service or products from Our Beautiful Company. Sticking to the scripts for complaints in strongly encouraged. You gotta read between the lines.   

Experience has shown that if a brand-new product does not work, it is usually either because of the physical hookup, or an incomplete installation attempt that needs to be deleted from your system before retrying. Usually only passwords would be case-sensitive, everything else is not, so that is an interesting example of the exception--no wonder it took awhile to find, although one hopes that will be closer to the top on the trouble-shooting list if it is now an identified issue with your product.

Hi Claymore, good to see you posting again.
W-O


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Subject: RE: BS: Techs Online
From: Bill D
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 10:47 AM

"..sticking to the scripts for complaints in strongly encouraged. You gotta read between the lines."

Yep...I can tell. But I kinda enjoy imagining that 'higher ups' are monitoring the call and, even when the tech follows the script, they KNOW I am aware of their carelessness and that they won't write his script to allow him to say "we screwed up". *shrug*...I think they NEED to be tweaked.

(I also thank the intelligent, competent tech profusely.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Techs Online
From: EBarnacle
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 02:08 PM

I recently rescued a laptop from a recycle bin. It had XP installed but would not register with Microsoft. Finally, I phoned the help line and got a help desk person in India.

He reviewed the number and advised me that whoever had wiped the computer had installed a "house" version of XP, probably Dell, on the IBM and that we would have to do some work to get things straightened out. We then spend the next 45 minutes getting it a new, authorized, user key. He really worked well for me--no irritation, confusion or condescension--total politeness and a "We want you to be happy" attitude.

Even if I had previously considered going to another supplier, his assistance would have turned me around.

He also sent me an e-mail followup so I can contact him directly for other problems if they occur.

You betcha!


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