From the trenches

Everyone loves tech support stories, so here are my favs before I leave at the end of this week.I have a new job that I’m starting on the 20th as a Linux Sys-Admin. Yay! Before I leave this job I want to give you a few of the little gems I’ve taken.

User – “Hi. I can’t connect to the network.”
Me – “Okay. Can you open up Internet Explorer.”
User – “Maybe, if you help me. What is internet explorer?”
Me – “It’s the big ‘E’ on your desktop.”
User – “Oh! That internet explorer.”

User – “I can’t seem to connect to my printer.”
Me – “Is the printer physically connected to you computer is it a network printer.”
User – “It’s a network printer.”
Me – “Great. Can you see if you can get to the intranet?”
User – “I have notepad open, does that count?”

User – “This box keeps appearing on the screen whenever I boot the machine, it says Service Control Center. Can you get rid of it?”
Me – “Is there anything in the box.”
User – “Yes. There is a whole bunch of stuff.”
Me – “Is there a button labeled ‘Ok’ or ‘Cancel’?”
User – “Yes. But I can’t get rid of this box. It isn’t highlighted.”
Me – “Could you please try and click the ‘Ok’ button?”
User – “I can’t get rid of this box, it won’t get highlighted. I can’t do my job with this box in the way. Can you send someone over here to get rid of this box?”
Me – “Well, if I send a tech over there it may take a day or two.”
User – “I won’t be able to do my job then. Can you fix it? Can’t you look at what my screen is?”
Me – “One second. I’ll remote control onto your machine.”
Brings up PC Anywhere and connects to the machine and proceeds to click “OK”. Box disappears.
User – “Oh wow! The box is gone. Thank you.”
Me – Filled out ticket, ‘Remoted onto user’s computer and clicked ‘ok’.’

User – “The system is locked and I can’t seem to reboot it.”
Me – “Okay. What happens when you hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete?”
User – “It brings up the ‘This system is locked by —— please type password to unlock.'”
Me – “Okay. Would you please press in the power button and hold it for 5 to 10 seconds?”
User – “What’s the power button?”
Me – Boggle “It’s the little round button on the front of you computer, that sometimes has a light in it. It acts kind of like a light switch for your computer.”
User – “Oh, you mean the button to turn the power off of your computer!”
Me – “Yes, that power button.”

Our number is 1-800-772-4357, Microsoft’s service pack 2 number is 1-888-772-4357

Me – “Thank you for calling AMTRAK helpdesk. My name is Stephen. Are you calling on a new or existing ticket?”
User – “My f*cking windows computer is broken. Dell told me to call you.”
Me – “Are you an AMTRAK employee sir?”
User – “That mother f*cker. I’ll kill that son of a b*tch!”
Me – “Thank you for calling AMTRAK.”

Me – “Thank you for calling AMTRAK helpdesk. My name is Stephen. Are you calling on a new or existing ticket?”
User – “Hi. Verizon said to call you for my problem with my network card.”
Me – “Are you an AMTRAK employee sir?”
User – “No, but Verizon said to call the AMTRAK helpdesk.”
Me – “Did they now? Sir, do you know what AMTRAK is?”
User – “No, but they said you could fix my problem.”
Me – “We’re a train company. We do passanger rail. Would you like to buy a train ticket?”
User – “Trains?! Why would Verizon tell me to call you?”
Me – “I’m as baffled as you are sir. Perhaps if you call 1-888-772-4357 you’ll get the help you want. That is Microsoft.”
User – “Okay. Thanks.”

Me – “Thank you for calling AMTRAK helpdesk. My name is Stephen. Are you calling on a new or existing ticket.”
User – “Hi. I have a problem with my windows computer.”
Me – “Are you an AMTRAK employee?”
User – “No. But the problem with my computer is that….”
Me – “Sir. Sir! SIR! This is the AMTRAK helpdesk. The number you want is 1-888….”
User – “But this problem is really simple. Look its…”
Me – “I’m sure that the people at 1-888-772-4357 would love to help you with your simple problem. Would you like some train tickets?”
User – “What? No, I just want my computer fixed. Look, it’s not that hard.”
Me – “If you want you computer fixed call 1-888-772-4357. It’s not that hard.”

5 Responses to “From the trenches”

These are great, Stephen!

I can’t believe the microsoft similarity.. If my back of the envelope calculation is correct, the odds of that occuring (given one of you has an 800 number, the other 888) is around 1 out of 823,543. Wow.

The other best one is the “click Ok”. Man… some people.

Glad you’ll be done soon! 🙂

Paradoxdruid - June 13th, 2005 at 8:21 pm

Got another winner today.

User – Hi, I’m trying to backup my computer. So I’m putting a CD into my CD drive and its saying the device is busy. So, why would my device be busy, I just put a CD in it.
Me – Hold on. Is the drive a CD-Rom drive or a CD-writer?
User – It’s a CD-Rom drive. But that doesn’t matter because its saying the device is busy.
Me – Sir, I’m sorry to inform you, but you can’t write data on to a CD without a CD writer. CD-Roms can only read CDs.
User – Oh, so I have to put my CD into my CD-writer and not my CD-Rom. Okay. Thanks.

stephen - June 15th, 2005 at 6:14 am

I find that last caller more perlexing than frustrating… the user appeared to be fairly knowledgable, but yet somewhat clueless.

So, are the working conditions as bad as I’ve heard call centers can be? I.e. crammed cubicles with scorching heat, constant noise, and the faint smell of ingrained body odor lingering on the furniture.

Paradoxdruid - June 15th, 2005 at 1:10 pm

Not like that. The cube set up is a half height cube two standard cube lengths with a full height T juncture at each end. In the middle of the half height part is a very small divider to show where your desk ends and your teammate’s begins. So imagine an x of half height cubes with a person in each empty sector and caps on the ends of one line where another x begins. We don’t share our desk with anyone, even the night shift, so you really can’t smell any body oder. The lighting is dim, the conversations are always floating overhead. The temperature is actually around 60 degrees, cold enough that since you aren’t doing anything you want to wear long sleeves, but wearing short sleeves in’t uncomfortable. Occasionally the IBM manager blusters about talking to people. In general, the feeling is depressing, like you are in a forced labor camp and the guards have to keep an eye on you.

We have a big manager, whom I’ve never met over the past 6 weeks here. She supposadly listens in on calls and the other managers say she cares about us, but as far as I can tell she is merely a ficticious person used to scare the employees into doing what they are supposed to do. We’ve had two meetings, both were so that we would know what the managers talked about, both were supposed to be led by this big manager, but she was unavailable on other business.

stephen - June 16th, 2005 at 9:18 am

The manager of the project I’ve been working on showed up about once every two weeks for an impromptu, hour-long meeting that never actually involved the sub-group I was part of. Though lately she’s been around more.
My direct supervisor is really good, though. He makes subversive comments about the whole process, and covers our asses for us. Does all the arguing on our behalf that needs doing (Like, when we start bitching about some entirely unrealistic demand from The Overlord, like expecting us to accomplish in a day what takes us two weeks, he says, “Yes, I know, I’m going to talk to her” and does).
And, yeah, saved my ass from my own stupidity once 😀

Ow - June 17th, 2005 at 4:23 pm

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