Tag Archives: customer service

Last Day of Work

It’s a great feeling to be done with tech support as a job. The only thing is, much like the last job I left, I am leaving a lot of people I’d rather not have to leave. I remember writing a long time ago in my blog that I didn’t think I’d ever really develop “work friends” at this company, but I definitely did. Even with employees who worked in other cities, some of them felt like work friends. As I wrote a couple of posts ago, I feel sorry for these people because I know they’re not going to get the same quality of tech assistance, at least not for a while. I also know some will seek me out and learn I no longer work there, and I know some will wonder why they don’t hear from me anymore.

I sent out an email on Friday to several people, most of them in the IT department, who helped make my difficult job at least somewhat easier and let them know I appreciated it. Most of them didn’t know I was leaving. My supervisor had only told the people whom it directly affected, and I didn’t tell anyone except New Tech because we talked about getting the hell off tech support all the time. I got several nice responses back. A couple of people came to see me.

At the end of the day, I stayed late and spoke with a couple of people. One of the guys I was talking to knows the whole story with Lazy Tech and how my supervisor wouldn’t give me back the position I enjoyed, etc. He told the other people to whom we were speaking that I basically got screwed. He has told me a bit before about how he had a hard time getting where he is in the company/IT department, but he had never told me that he contacted the EEOC about our company because of what he felt was discriminatory treatment. He basically told me that I was doing the right thing by leaving this company.

A couple of hours before that, my supervisor actually came up to me and said they didn’t want me to go but they’re happy for people when they find better opportunities, if I ever need anything to let him know, yada yada. If he didn’t want me to go, he could have easily found a way to keep me. Him and his supervisor went so far as to create a damn-near pointless position for a white guy–who now sits and texts on his iPhone or surfs one of the company iPads 75% of the time–they wanted to keep. I just wanted a position that I was basically told I would be doing when I first interviewed with him and actually had for about a month until he decided some lazy white guy who sucked at his job would be salvageable if he gave that job to him.

To be clear, I left not because of any perceived discrimination; I left because I reached my breaking point with tech support/help desk type of work. I’m not one of those dumb people who doesn’t get that racism still exists. I know it does, so it’s not surprising to me or particularly upsetting that this happened. I was looking for another job even before this happened, even before I ever was actually placed in the position I liked, because I didn’t like my job. I stopped for a while but started again when my supervisor gave Lazy Tech my job. New Tech feels that our supervisor refusing to give me back that job is a power trip, basically. I guess he doesn’t realize he lost and I won. He will start to realize that on Monday when schitt starts falling apart without me.

I hope New Tech makes matters worse and gets another job within the next few weeks, really fucking schitt up for my now-former supervisor. I’m going to get all the details from New Tech, too, because we exchanged contact info and he asked me to be a reference for him. So if he gets a job, I’m going to know about it. I already know he talked to Belinda and Belinda’s manager about the open positions in the Customer Service department, and he applied for those jobs, too. Belinda asked him if he was sure he was interested, probably because, as I wrote before, IT is generally better than anything in CS. She told him how much one of the positions pays (and, as I suspected, he’d be taking a pay cut), and she told him that he’d be interviewing with her if he is selected to interview. I don’t know if they’d want references since he already works at the company, but, I mean, Belinda and B’s manager both know me–especially B’s manager, whom I always helped several times a week. I would think my word would carry significant weight.

As far as B and I go…well, I only saw her on Tuesday and didn’t see her the rest of the week. I don’t know if she saw me or not because I looked away, so there was no smile/wave like normal. I did quickly glance around every day when I walked through the company restaurant to see if she was there but I never saw her other than Tuesday. Didn’t get any of her calls, either. I tried to cyber-stalk her, if you will, but she basically has no online presence. So, I can’t even add her on Facebook or LinkedIn. Of course, I have her company email address.

But I made the decision/realization that I’m not ready to date after several weeks of just envisioning all the bad ways trying to pursue anything with B could go. I don’t want to hurt anybody, and I most definitely don’t want to get hurt myself. So I need to stick to what I realized and just let the thought of B go. Easier said than done, but it needs to be done.

I’m probably as happy and stress-free as I’ve been in a long time, despite not getting to know B, just being done with answering phones and emails and all these annoying problems/people.

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White Women and a Sense of Entitlement

Obligatory Disclaimer: I usually try to stay away from posts like these, but on this particular issue I just can no longer continue to hold back anymore. So. If you’re someone who gets offended by candid discussions concerning race and/or sex/gender, or you do not like to hear/read about race and that there’s a such thing as racial differences, please click away from this page. Thank you much.

When I was in school, I took [almost] all the fuddy duddy courses in all the departments most people don’t respect–psychology, sociology, philosophy, anthropology, etc. When I was in law school, I took many of the “Race and Law,” “Gender and Law,” “Law and the Elderly” types of courses. I’m one of those kind of people. And people think you’ll never actually “use” these things, but, in fact, I’m about to use them right now.

This is the kind of post people who don’t follow the blog regularly will find in a search engine, so let me recap a few things. I work in the IT industry. Most of the jobs I’ve had since leaving school have been customer service oriented, and right now I work in a tech support type of capacity. I’m trying to get away from tech support because I hate it. I hate dealing with the people we support, but particularly the phone calls. Most people who work tech support/help desk/service desk complain about the people. I took my current job, knowing from my last tech support job that I’d hate it, because it pays pretty well for where I live. I have loved the money, but I am just about at my wits end and ready to take a pay cut to get out. I cannot express how sick of people I am. [Now you’re up to speed.]

But I have especially had it with white women. They are the worst customers, do you hear me? They are the bane of my existence. They are the ones whom when the phone rings and I look over at the caller ID to see who is calling and I start cursing before I pick up the phone…it’s almost always a white woman. They are the ones whom when I see an email land in the inbox and I’m sitting there like, “I do not want to answer this email. No way…somebody else is going to answer this @sshole”…it’s usually from a white woman. They are the ones whom when the guys I work with and I are sitting around complaining about certain people who call or email us…the person about whom we’re complaining is almost always a white woman. They, in my experience, are the most difficult customers…and it’s not even close.

This was surprising to me, for a while. When I was in the beginning stages of starting my career, I expected white men to be the difficult people to serve. And I have certainly had to deal with some difficult white men. Indeed, if you’re a scholar of the fuddy duddy stuff–you know, the social sciences and the humanities–and/or you like to read those kinds of things in your spare time (as I used to like to do), you love those discussions (as I still do)…you’ve probably been led to believe that white men are predominantly the bad guys. They have done most of the bad things in history. They are the ones who feel entitled to everything today. And this “white guy as the bad guy” idea is largely perpetuated by, surprise, a lot of white men–as historians, as psychologists, as researchers, as scholars and so on.

But it’s also heavily perpetuated by white female feminists. In fact, let’s get real–the average visible feminist is a white woman. Hell, the average feminist, period, is a white woman. Nothing wrong with being a feminist, and I’m not saying I’m not one. I’m just saying that my observation has been that women of color, even though black women buck some of the key gender roles/stereotypes in society, still on the whole subscribe to more sexist ideals than white women do and are still more brainwashed in their thinking of what men “should” do, what men “should” have, etc, vs women.

Anyway, when these white female feminists are talking about sex and gender in our society, they are clearly speaking relative to white men…because other men do not have oppressive power, at least not in terms of the system. So, these white women are complaining about white men and their entitlement and the fact that they get things because they’re white men. This is not to say other men don’t feel a sense of entitlement. I know from dealing with black men as a black woman that black men certainly feel a sense of entitlement. All types of men feel a sense of entitlement. But my points are 1) we only ever hear about entitlement in white men and how that’s a problem, and 2) white women’s problems with men are with white men.

The funny thing I’ve come to see, though, is tons of white women act just the way they take issue with when it comes to white men. In fact, socially? White women are worse than white men. I suppose they’re making up for not having that power systemically.

If you ever run across discussions of entitlement in white women, they tend to only focus on relationships. No–white women just…feel…entitled. Period. Even though I’m a lesbian, I don’t date white women. Never say never, but I more than likely won’t date a white woman ever again, for so many reasons. So, I can’t speak with any real experience when it comes to what white women are like in romantic relationships. The reason why I say they’re entitled is customer-based.

It’s that, in my experience, the following comes from white women more than anybody else:

1) “Why do I have to do this? I shouldn’t have to do this…I don’t understand why…and it shouldn’t be this difficult…why this…why that…when is this going to be fixed…”

2) “I need this done right now!”

3) -[Emails to tech support] “I’m having XYZ problem. Call me at 200-400-5000.” (For those who don’t understand, erm…users are supposed to call tech support. We’re not f*cking supposed to call you. And why the f*ck would you email us that you have a problem and then ask us to call you? Why didn’t your prissy @ss pick up the phone and just call us?!)

4) [Attitude on the line, with a lot exaggerated scoffing] “Uck, I can’t get into Oracle, and I keep getting this error message, and, uck, I can’t work like this, and uck…”

Me: “What is happening when you try to get into Oracle? What does the error message say?”

“Uck, I don’t know…uck…I just need it fixed now!”

[Trying to figure out how to help this b!tch when she won’t give me any useful information]

5) “I need to know when I’m going to be able to log into XYZ, because I’ve really got work I need to get done. I’ve got to be able to do this now.

Me: “Well, the admin who normally works on this issue is out of the office today.”

“Uck…who else can get this done for me? Who can I talk to? Who is the admin’s supervisor?”

“Tell you what, I will check with my supervisor to see who else can work on this issue for you.”

“Okay. Will you let me know?”

“Um…” hesitating because we don’t have time to be calling people back about schitt. Like I said, you call tech support; we don’t call you. “Yes, I will.”

[Thirty minutes later, an email goes out from this b!tch and another [white] b!tch to me, my supervisor, my supervisor’s supervisor, the admin who is out and a whole bunch of other people about this exact…same…issue. Funny thing is, they basically tell her the same schitt I told her, and all of a sudden she’s cool to just wait.]

6) “I’m calling to find out why we still haven’t received [user’s] laptop. We were supposed to receive it today, but it still has not arrived. Can you tell me when it was shipped out?”

[Shipping out laptops, unfortunately, has absolutely nothing to do with me because I no longer work in the position I want to work in at this company. So, I tell the user I will check and put her on hold]

Me: [after checking] “Hello? The laptop still has not shipped out yet. It looks like the user’s ID was just created, so the tech is only just now able to start setting up the user’s profile on his PC.”

“Oh, my gosh…I can’t believe this!” [Start of an angry rant. Erm, by the way…it was this b!tch’s fault anyways. She is the one who took forever to submit his f*cking paperwork, and that’s why his user ID was created so late. We can’t complete PC setups without a user ID because a tech has to log in as the user to set up his user profile. I calmly explained this schitt to this moron without trying to make it sound like I was blaming her]

7) [Email] “Please process these Oracle account creation forms for [users].”

[My co-worker responded to the email letting this b!tch know that she has not followed the correct process and that a manager needs to submit the forms through our intranet site]

[Response] “Well, that’s not how we did it before. [Life.overrated] helped me with this before, and I was able to email the forms in.”

[Yep…and that time before, the b!tch was trying to not follow the rules then, too. I had to go to my supervisor and get approval for this b!tch to get her way that time, and now she seems to think she can just not follow the rules every f*cking time and proceeds to argue back and forth with my co-worker]

That’s enough examples for right now (even though I failed to give an example on how white women also love to tell you how to do your job), but let me be clear on two things–1) these b!tches are not b!tches because they’re white; they’re b!tches because they’re pushy, demanding, argumentative, don’t treat people the way they want to be treated, and think rules/processes don’t or shouldn’t apply to them. This is how people who feel a sense of entitlement act when they are not getting their way or when things are not going the way they “feel” they should. 2) All kinds of people behave in ways similar to the provided examples, but I’m simply saying my experience is more (and not all) white women consistently do these things. All of these examples are of white women–except one.

Example #6 is, according to one of my co-workers, a black female. Now, if you’re smart, you should have been questioning how is it that we answer emails and phones but somehow know the race of the people we serve. There are three main ways, and some of the more politically correct among us won’t like one of these ways:

1) Sometimes at least one of us who does anything with tech support at my company has met the person. This is why we know the person in example #6 is black…because she damn sure doesn’t sound black. The new tech and I were shocked as hell when Wannabe Cool Tech told us #6 is black, and he said he thought she was joking when he met her and she told him who she was (WCT is white). So, of course, we get difficult black customers/users at times. However, my observation has been that the more difficult blacks tend to be black women who seem…for lack of a better term, “white-washed”…hence the stunning revelation that #6 is not white.

There is a black chick who works in the same building I do who is now friendlier and all “hey, girl!” when she needs assistance, but for months when I first started working at the company she was a hateful, pushy little b!tch whenever she needed anything. She is, you can tell, a “white” black female. And I don’t mean anything bad about being a “white” black person, as I am pretty “white” myself…I just don’t “ack a fool” with people who work customer service-type positions. If you’ve read about Belinda before in my blog…Belinda, though she hangs with only blacks at work, has got some whiteness to her, as well, especially vocally.

2) I’ve mentioned before, but a lot of people at my company throw a profile picture into their email accounts. So, when they email us, we either confirm they’re white or we see for the first time they’re white.

3) Look, I’m sorry if you don’t like this, but 90-95% of the time you should be able to tell when someone is white or black on the phone. It has nothing to do with intelligence, contrary to popular belief. Black people and white people–usually and typicallyjust…sound…different…okay? I am intelligent, but I also sound black. Barack Obama is intelligent, but he sounds black. It’s not a matter of speaking correct or “proper” English. We have different tones and depths of voice. Black people often have deeper voices. There are certain words a white person is more likely to use. Things like that. It’s lazy to chalk it up to intelligence, but it’s also lazy to deny that we don’t sound the same because you can sit and analyze the differences, even breaking it down regionally (black Southerners sound different from blacks other places, for example, but they also sound different from white Southerners). Now, you can sometimes tell when you’re dealing with a Latino(a) or Asian, too, but that’s a matter of accent. Otherwise, they tend to sound more like white people.

If you read my blog, you might know about my last “ex-girlfriend.” One of the first things I said to her when I first heard her voice is that she sounds white. She got pissed and started lecturing me on how there’s no such thing. We never really talked about it again, but sorry…there’s a such thing. She just doesn’t think so because she is from an African family and has had a lot of acquaintances who are from “foreign” families. Well, as I mentioned just a second ago, being more “foreign” is a little bit trickier, more diverse. But it’s not tricky for white Americans and black Americans.

I will say, though, that if I can even find a group that comes in 2nd behind white women as being a nightmare to deal with, it is those more “foreign” people–probably most especially “foreign” women and perhaps even including the American-born ones with immigrant parents. Can’t break it into groups as far as Indian, Latino(a), Chinese, except maybe to lean towards people from the continent of Asia who live in the US most of all (so, in other words, I’m saying Asian and Indian-Asian women)…just all of them. They are difficult customers who also act with some sense of entitlement, and they are, perhaps, only a distant 2nd to white women just because of the frequency with which an American is going to interact with white women vs “foreign” customers.

Over the past few months, I have done a few internet searches on this topic. That’s why I have found that a lot of discussions about white women and entitlement focus on relationships. But a couple of months ago, I found a discussion on lipstickalley.com that let me know I wasn’t the only one who found white female customers overwhelmingly give service workers the dickens…unfortunately, I can no longer find that thread, or else I would link to it. I was surprised at the near unanimity of opinion on white women’s difficulty in that thread, though.

I did, however, find one true read that somewhat explains why white men are perceived as feeling entitled and why my experience with people “acking a fool” is almost always with white women as opposed to, say, black people. Also, even though this is about a relationship, I want you to skip to the 5:20 mark of this video and watch for about 50 seconds. Note that the blog post is an acknowledgement of white entitlement by a white male and that the video features probably one of the most racist white characters ever on TV essentially describing white women much the same way as I have. Even though the female described in the clip turns out to be black, she is yet another one of those “white” black chicks (watch the rest of the video if you have time to see what I’m talking about and to get an example of the difficult b!tches I deal with at work).

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Response From the Service Desk: 12 Pieces Of Advice For IT Service Desks – From A Customer!

I can’t believe I have been keeping this blog for over a year now. I was looking for something to read today during some of my downtime at work, and I just get the most random ideas for topics to search on the internet. Today was a particularly hell-ish day at work, so I felt inspired to do an internet search on what people expect from tech support. What I found inspired me write a post venting/explaining things people don’t understand about tech support-slash-help desk-slash-service desk-slash whatever else you want to call your IT people at work, similar to a post I wrote just over a year ago to vent/explain things about the hotel industry from a [formerly] insider’s perspective.

Here is the article I will reference, i.e. quote and respond to. It is called “12 Pieces Of Advice For IT Service Desks – From A Customer!” posted by Stephen Mann but written by an anon customer who has obviously dealt with people like me at work. I would like to respond just based on the two places where I’ve worked tech support, and, hopefully, this will provide some insight for many others out there who have had to deal with IT or will have to in the future. Just as the post provided by Mann was from one customer’s standpoint, the response is from my standpoint, although I know there are customers and IT professionals who agree with both respective standpoints.

Old Skool IT Support Seemed To Work

First of all, there are still places that have one or two IT guys who go around and help everybody at their location. At some of the locations my company has worldwide, this is the case. My co-worker from my last post would be one of those “IT guys” at the location to which he’s trying to go, because he’d be working in some podunk city that has relatively few employees to support. Where I work, we not only support our headquarters, which is a huge building with four floors worth of people…we also support every location worldwide–including, ultimately, that podunk city. We’re the people the IT guys at Podunk call when they don’t know the answers…which seems to be several times a week.

The one thing I will say–well, three things, actually, but they boil down to one base–I have a problem with when it comes to having a “service desk” vs the IT guy: 1) IT guys and ladies at Podunk often don’t know schitt because they were placed in those positions without the proper background and/or the proper training; 2) When you have a big worldwide company with various locations, you can have techs at Podunks, but there is probably one location–often headquarters–where certain issues must be sent and only those IT people have what’s necessary to resolve them; 3) My company ranges from having “service desk” at headquarters to having absolutely nothing at other locations, not even an IT guy, which makes all those people have to rely on the “service desk.”

All three of those things are nonsense, to me, and it’s one of the reasons why tech support has gotten worse and more difficult for customers to deal with. Every company that calls itself having “IT” assistance needs to have it on site somehow, especially when you’re talking about a worldwide company. There’s no efficiency in my being in the Southern USA being the only support for people in Australia or Puerto Rico, but that’s precisely the way it is. That’s bad for so many reasons, from time zone differences to language barriers. It’s hard enough to assist customers, but then you throw in factors such as never really having support when you need it because our office hours are drastically different from Europe’s or Australia’s hours and native speakers of Asian languages or Spanish trying to communicate with me in their 2nd or 3rd language. These people all need their local IT guys and ladies, even the US Podunks. And those IT people need to know their schitt instead of being pulled from the Accounting department because they can tinker with computers a little bit. And they need to be able to do everything without us at headquarters having to be involved.

Obviously, part of the reason why there’s not just an IT guy everywhere now is due to money. But there are also now more service desks than IT guys at businesses because there’s more technology used in business now. It’s not just about web sites, email and desktop computers anymore. It’s everything from laptops and elaborate networks to iPads and cell phones. You really can’t just have one guy taking care of 50-100 people anymore. I can’t for the life of me understand why people at my company need a “company iPad,” but they rolled those suckers out to hundreds of thousands of people and now we have to support that schitt on top of laptops, desktops, cell phones, web sites, email, ftp, vpn, printers, software, servers, etc.

…all my colleagues and I want to know is “Why can’t I log into my email?” and “Can you fix it quickly, please?”

Oh, that’s “all”? Here’s why that’s not so simple:

1) Don’t implement strict procedures whereby you will only deal with issues that are submitted as a ticket and confined to the service desk.  Instead take in requests/incidents via every method of communication available to you and your customers – make yourself more widely accessible.

See, “service desk” doesn’t implement anything. That’s the problem. If we implemented things, your life probably would be easier. But no–we have managers, and our managers have managers. They are the ones who come up with the most convoluted bullschitt ever. We know we sound completely psychotic and roadblock-ish to you when we’re telling you the rules, but the sad truth is we don’t make them and we’re not about to risk getting yelled at or even fired to make life easier for you.

While we’re being truthful, truth is that our managers and their managers want to make people in IT less accessible to you. They want everything going through the service desk, despite the fact that service desk workers often can’t actually do schitt to resolve your problem. The guys who can resolve it don’t want to speak to you, though, and our managers don’t want them to speak to you. These people only want you to speak to us, the people who can’t help you 80% of the time. We at the service desk would be happily turning flips if we could just transfer you where you need to be instead of opening a ticket for the person who makes $90,000/yr to help you whenever he feels like it, but we can’t without eventually getting lectured about it by our manager and/or without the person who actually can help you getting pissy with us because we tried to make him do his job.

Convoluted, yes?

2) The customers’ problem may not be of high importance to the IT department but it’s important enough to the customer for them to have taken time out of their precious working day to seek advice and help.

This is not always true. I have people call me often and tell me it’s not important, they were just wondering or figured they’d ask, as if we have all day. There are just people who feel very comfortable picking up the phone to call “service desk” absolutely any time for absolutely anything, and I just don’t get it. Just the other day my co-worker and I were talking about this, and I told him that even if I weren’t in the IT industry I just can’t imagine ever calling IT unless it was one of those things that absolutely has to go through them.

I have a psychology degree and then I went to law school; I did not major in Computer Science or Information Technology or Management Information Systems. I know what I know about computers for two reasons: 1) When I had technical issues, I played around and figured out how to resolve them myself, and 2) When I had technical issues, I did [and still do] research to learn how to resolve them myself. But there are people who literally call me every…single…day. Sometimes the same person calls with one issue and emails with another issue on the same day. These people who contact us daily quite simply do not have urgent issues every single day. They just think we exist to serve only them, that’s all, i.e. they’re self-centered/self-important. The worst is when it’s one of the Podunks’ IT guys or ladies calling every day (and several of them do). They need to figure it out on their own the way I learned to do back in the 90s.

3) Nobody wants to hear the word “no” or “we can’t help.”

The one thing I liked about my previous “service desk” job is we were allowed to tell people “no” or “we can’t help.” They drew a line on what they’d assist people with. For the most part, we’re not allowed to do that where I work now. Because of that, sometimes I get stuck with issues that are above my head but don’t technically belong to one of the little sectors of the IT department, meaning there’s no correct person to hand it to for resolution. I also get stuck with issues that are going to be time-consuming to figure out, but no one who works service desk has time for time-consuming issues because issues are constantly coming from all directions. In these cases, you’re not going to get issues resolved quickly.

The truth is that we don’t know everything. There are also just some things that can’t be done for security reasons or just literally can’t be done because there’s no technical way to do it or because it’s a software/site that we don’t administrate, i.e. Google.

4) Don’t make a decision based solely on how it works for the IT department. You need to think about how it affects the people in the organization. Remember that if IT fails business people cannot do their job properly, and chances are these are the people making money for the business. Remember that they probably pay your wages – you are their overhead. Put yourself in their position in the context of IT and support.

Again–you need to talk to my dumbass manager and his manager. Also, if you can figure out the direct line to some of these lazy/anti-social $90,000+/yr IT guys, please give them a call about this one, as well.

5) Treat customers as human beings. Know who they are (including their names) and what their IT needs are.  Do not regard them simply as a “ticket number.”

I’ve got bad news for you–if we know who you are, that probably means we don’t like you because you’re one of those people I mentioned above who contacts us way too much. Either that, or when you contact us it’s always something crazy or hella-difficult. Nobody’s ever just a ticket number to me and they’re never treated that way, but most of the people I assist whose names I know very well are the people me and the other guys who work around me just groan, shake our heads and talk about how annoying they are. So, it might be at least a little bit better if we don’t really know you.

6) Help your customers understand life on the service desk. Maybe if your customers better understood the issues you are facing (and the larger corporate IT issues) they might be less inclined to complain about service and IT as a whole?

That’s what this post is for. Incidentally, I don’t really think any customer has ever complained about me–at least not to the point of going to my supervisor or even my co-workers. I actually get, “Thank God it’s you” or “I was hoping I’d get you” at times when I answer the phone, which surprises me, but I think it’s a customer-service thing more than anything else. I have gotten complaints about others, though. Obviously, those of you who know about my rude co-worker Lazy Tech know that’s a customer-service thing, as well. I don’t think our service desk as a whole receives complaints, just individuals.

7) You need to know how to say sorry for IT mistakes regardless of whether you caused them or not.

This is a big, big thing with me and one of the reasons I absolutely must get away from service desk jobs. I… cannot… stand… getting… blamed… for… schitt… not… my… fault! Well over 90% of issues are not service desk’s fault, but service desk is the face and voice of IT, which I think really just enables everyone else in IT to be lazy, to make mistakes and to not take ownership. I’ve had experience with this enabling factor, but we’re the ones who get harassed about the issues not being resolved, the issues reoccurring repeatedly and being told one thing when it’s not the case. I’m just not going to apologize for these people, to be honest with you, because we work harder, take more schitt and earn less money. Some of my co-workers and I spent 30 minutes after work one day just talking about all the people in our department who don’t do any work.

I didn’t realize so many people didn’t work until I actually started taking my full work breaks. When I started taking breaks, I started to see that there are quite a few people whom every time I’m on break they’re walking around the building, standing around talking or hanging out outside. A lot of people in other departments are like this, but a lot of these are IT guys, too. I started to understand why every time I go looking for one of these guys or try to call them at their desks they’re not there. I see the exact same people, regardless of when I take breaks. These people are just flatout not working. My previous service desk job was the same way. So, no…no apologies on their behalf. In fact, I’d like to throw them under the bus to you.

8) When a corporate machine wipes itself clean owing to a virus don’t tell the customer it’s their fault due to something they downloaded when corporate IT security has failed to do its job properly (I’m also sure I don’t have the rights to download stuff anyway).

Honestly, where I work, we’re not allowed to tell you it’s your fault. But a lot of the time it is. Just because you can’t see how it’s on you doesn’t mean it’s not. And IT security, whatever that is, can’t prevent everything. I don’t know if that’s supposed to be an anti-virus program, firewall, a guy who sits and monitors schitt all day every day or what (and if it’s supposed to be that guy, then, like I said, he’s too busy walking the building or smoking outside). But none of that schitt is 100%, kind of like a condom or birth control pills. Some of getting pregnant is still going to be on you, you know. It’s like wanting to put the blame back on the pills just because you forgot to take them one day.

9) Encourage and welcome suggestions on how you can improve IT support…

I really have nothing to do with IT improvement, unfortunately. Our dumb managers and their managers don’t even listen to our suggestions, which are probably similar to yours anyways. Had a co-worker get pissed about the fact that our manager encouraged suggestions and then got chewed out when he gave some to our manager. That actually started our 30-minute conversation about all the people who don’t do work at work.

10) Let your customers know what work has been done (and is being done) to improve IT service delivery and keep them informed of potential upcoming issues/downtime.

That’s not practical, most of the time. Now, if we know something is coming that affects a lot of specifically-identified groups, sure, someone needs to send an email blast. That happens sometimes; other times not. More often than not, when something is happening service desk is not even informed about it. That’s those guys who hardly work suddenly deciding they want to do work but still being too lazy to let anyone else know about it. We find out when you find out, honestly. And issues don’t wear signs that say, “I will be resolved in 30 minutes.” They just don’t. Plus, if we’re getting calls from 30 different people about an issue, we can’t keep 30 different people informed on top of everything else going on at service desk. Again, if it affects the entire organization or an entire location, an email blast can work or we can contact an IT guy/lady if you have one. Otherwise, no.

11) You need to appreciate that not everybody works in the same office as IT Support staff – you may have global offices or remote workers.  Informing external staff that you will “fix the issue when you are next in the office” is simply not good enough.

See my discussion near the beginning of this post about service desk vs IT guys. I will also add, though, that there’s a very real challenge to assisting people who have issues you can’t see or touch. This is especially the case when the customer is–sorry–a dumbass, computer illiterate or wants you to fix things with the least amount of information provided as possible (or inaccurate information). This is also why every location needs its own IT guys/ladies, and not someone from the Accounting department.

12) …putting machines into complete lockdown to the point where they probably need an admin password just to fire up Microsoft Office is not acceptable…

I completely agree. I think my company makes everything ridiculously hard to access, and it’s annoying and can cause tons of problems. But again, it’s not service desk’s doing. In fact, it’s something that really makes assisting customers unnecessarily difficult.

I am a CUSTOMER

Be that. Don’t be a brat, and don’t be unrealistic. A lot of IT fixes are not going to be quick and easy, and yelling or talking about how you need XYZ “right now” isn’t going to change that.

I also have to tell you this very important thing–you’d be surprised by how many people in IT range from not being good with people to not liking people at all. You shouldn’t be, though. I mean, what’s the stereotype of someone who is a tech geek? That he/she lacks social skills. Plus, IT is one of the first fields that comes up when someone asks for career suggestions for people who don’t want to deal with people. Unfortunately, if someone starts out on service desk, they have to deal with people. And just about every tech geek I know hates the “dealing with people” part of service desk, to some degree.

I admit readily and freely that I don’t like people. However, I come from a psychology background and an English background in college. So, I can communicate with people and communicate the right way with people. But most people in IT don’t come from backgrounds like mine.

IT Service Desk Management

There are times in the blog post when management is mentioned. I can’t really tell if service desk is being addressed, IT service desk managers are being addressed or if the two are being collapsed in the blog. Honestly, to me, my manager is not part of service desk at all. Maybe that’s something that needs to be understood by customers, too. The post needs to be addressed to IT managers, not the service desk.

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The Customer Service Paradox

There’s a reason why there have been no posts for over a week–I’m thinking about whether or not I want to stick with this blog, and I’m leaning towards no.

I wanted to share something I figured out recently, though.

I’ve been reading a few things about working in tech support and other customer service-oriented jobs this past week. As you probably already know, customer service generally sucks. And I’m talking about when it’s being provided to you. As someone who has worked in support positions and currently works in tech support, I know that providing service sucks for the employee, as well. Well…usually.

See, there are two types of people who are best-suited for public service jobs and endure in those positions for a long, long time. One is the type of person who is seemingly always cheerful and nothing bothers him/her because he/she always has “the right attitude” or “the right response.” There are some people who are like this by nature. I don’t understand them, but they exist.

The other type of person?

The asshole.

Yes, you read that correctly. Assholes and bitches are well-suited for service positions.

Why is this?

Well, some of you are probably the reason why. See, assholes who work in customer service know how to deal with assholes who need service. In short, assholes speak asshole. And, boy, do a lot of assholes need service every day (and don’t be a perv here, haha). If this weren’t the case, assholes wouldn’t cut it in service positions. But as you probably know, there are plenty of assholes out there providing service and not getting fired. Some of them even get raises and promotions.

Also, assholes don’t care what you have to say or how ass-ish you get. So, they’re not going to take anything personally. They’re going to find humor in you, the customer, being an asshole. They’re not going to respond to threats. They’re not going to be pushed around. In short, they won’t be broken by asshole customers. They know how to handle asshole customers, which keeps them able to do their jobs. And if you’re a fairly easy customer, the asshole is not necessarily an asshole with you–he/she is just not particularly friendly, welcoming or inviting. But the asshole gets the job done, so the asshole is safe in his/her position.

My problem is, yes, I’m a bitch–but not when it comes to doing my job. When it comes to my job, I’m about perfection. The fact that a customer is unhappy signals a lack of perfection, even if I’m not the problem. I have a low tolerance for imperfection when it affects me. So, I care too much when one of my employer’s clients is upset. The asshole doesn’t care.

And when I say “asshole,” I say that with admiration. It’s not an insult. I have always wanted to be more like the asshole. But the fact that I’m not–at least not at work–means I’m not cut out to serve people, unless, perhaps, I work for a certain type of company. And my current employer comes close. They do care about the service they provide, but that’s because of its small size and it not being the only game in town. In other words, they have to care. They want employees like me, but they put employees like me in a position to support crap-ass products…which means I have to deal with assholes. And I get being upset about shit not working all the time, but you don’t have to be an ass.

Now, take some crap company like AT&T, for example. AT&T is huge. I mean, it’s just about everywhere. And, for a lot of people, it’s one of very few options for phone or internet. They’re a monopoly. This allows AT&T to not give a shit. This is why they can employ and retain a lot of assholes who also don’t give a shit and who let it show. They know that they will still have a lot of business. But my small employer turns flips over clients. The more the client pays, the more they turn flips and expect us to turn flips. I had a negative experience with that earlier this week. My co-worker, Chatty Cathy, i.e. Miss Piggy–I swear she looks just like her–i.e. the queen of bullshitting her way through the work day, went from standing in the middle of the tech support room running her mouth about absolutely nothing to, in my bitch co-worker’s words, “getting pissy” because I wasn’t moving fast enough for this company with which she’s affiliated. Some damn company that started calling us at 6:30am with shit.

6:30am? Why is anyone working or worried about anything related to work at 6:30am?

Well, service people seem to love to call people “stupid” all the time. Everything and everyone’s stupid to people who provide service. I rarely do this regarding my employer’s clients, which is probably another sign I don’t belong in any service position (instead, everyone’s an ass or a bitch to me). But I’ll tell you about the stupid service person and the stupid customer.

If you whine about customers or your service position all the time and then you say you’ve worked that job for years…you’re a stupid service person. You can say you’re so much smarter than your customers and most of them are stupid, but if you put up with it for 10 or 15 years, what does that make you? At the very least, you’re someone who needs “stupid” people to make you feel better about yourself as opposed to being able to feel good because you advanced out of a low-rung sort of position.

And if you’re that customer–that one who is essentially a regular complainer or the one who threatens to take your business elsewhere, but you keep coming back or you stick with the service–you’re a stupid customer. A stupid, power hungry but powerless, game-playing customer. If you don’t like a service, drop it. If you can’t drop it because there’s nothing better out there, don’t call a low-rung employee who can’t do shit about shit and throw around empty threats. It won’t improve your service.

Even though I can tell my employer wants employees like me, it’s telling who most of my employer’s employees actually are and how long they’ve been there. I work with one star employee, a bitch and two asses. One of the asses is a field technician, so he goes to clients to work on equipment. The star employee takes the least amount of tech support calls because he’s trusted with other stuff at work. And even at a business as small as where I work where quality service matters more, my employer knows the bitch is a bitch and the ass is an ass but nothing is done about it. The bitch has been there, like, 8 or 9 years, and the ass has been there almost 2 years when he definitely should have been fired by now. I suspect they both get raises for reaching certain marks of time for having been with my employer, just as I did when I hit three months there, but neither will advance with my employer–which means clients will keep having to deal with the bitch and the ass.

As for me? Even after the shit with Miss Piggy’s affiliated company, I was called into my supervisor’s office in part to be told that I’m doing a good job at work and that she hears good stuff about me from others. That’s not true, at least not by my standards. I have the attitude to advance at this place, but I don’t want to stick it out long enough for that (I also have seen what advancing there is like–I’d always be on call, and…um, no). I can’t handle sucking by my standards, and I can’t handle assholes (especially when it’s both clients and co-workers, even though only one co-worker bothers me). I have a feeling my supervisor is worried that I’m going to leave, and I think that’s one of the reasons she told me I’m doing a good job.

I am going to leave. Not just because of assholes and my standards, but because tech support is a beginning–not a destination. The least important people in any company deal with the highest number of assholes, and no one has to be the least important person at his/her job for years and years. If that’s the case, that employee’s not doing something right.

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