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December 19th, 2007
07:05 pm
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NUTPOD
I've got an acronym to add to the tech support lexicon. I know we already have such gleaming gems as PICNIC*, but I think this one (which came to me in a moment of high school cynicism) is a worthy contender:

Never Underestimate The Power Of Dumb.

I've had a few calls this month that have put that piece of wisdom into sharp relief. But the grand prize winner would definitely have to be Kapital 9 Lady.

K-9 Lady (who I should refer to by that term's proper definition, i.e., "bitch") blew through our office in 48 hours, coming and going like a winter storm and leaving just as much ice in her wake. By the time she called to cancel (and we practically threw her money back at her before she could change her mind), she had managed to personally alienate everyone in the office.

Including me. This is a feat.

As much as I've complained here about customers, I don't take it personally. Even if someone is a giant black hole of obliviousness, they don't mean to make my day worse, and I don't wish them any ill. (I just come here to blow off steam in ways that won't harm anyone, and maybe will give my friends a laugh or a good story for later.) But K9? With her, everything was our fault, and she let us know about this not only with passive-aggressive complaints, but also at great length -- generally longer than it would have taken to fix the problem in the first place.

Then, of course, NUTPOD.

At this point I'm just going to start copying from the support ticket, because if I get into the specific complaints beforehand I'll have to start repeating myself.




ATTACHMENT: voicemail that is several seconds of silence and a hang-up click

12/04 Rob:
K9 did not leave a message, but we knew what the problem was anyway [because we have l33t tech-ninja kung fu, and server logs. -b]. After Tad spent an hour on the phone with her, during which she spent some obscene number of minutes complaining about having to type in her password, she managed to type it in with the caps lock on!

Ugh.

Rather than go back through the ordeal of helping the user find the 'any' key, just changed their password in our system to match.


12/4 TR - Other painful moments from 51 minutes and 29 seconds [yes, I measured. -b] of epic fail:

  • "Is that a capital 9, or a lowercase 9?"

    • (... and then, when we were typing in her password a second time, she asks it *AGAIN*. Yes, AGAIN. The first time is a momentary lapse of reason that can happen to anyone. The second time is no longer funny.)

    • [Needless to say, this is where the K-9 designation came from. -b]

  • About three minutes worth of complaints about the untypableness of her password [which we create at random for security reasons. -b], followed by less than two minutes of actually typing it

  • Click "continue" in Mac Mail's Add Account wizard and roll 2d4:
    • 2: Complain about untypableness of password
    • 3-4: Say that nothing has changed, even though it's gone to a new screen
    • 5: Say that nothing has changed, because it hasn't gone to a new screen yet
    • 6: Randomly jump to some piece of information the window requests her to type in, and state that the computer is now telling her that information
    • 7-8: Randomly jump to some piece of information the window requests her to type in and ask whether she should put something transparently wrong there
    • 9**: Read the title of the window out loud so that the t/s guy knows what the hell we're looking at now

  • After clicking "Create" in the add account wizard to FINALLY save her new e-mail settings:

    "Okay, now it's asking me for my phone number, user name and password, and there's the word connect in a circle."

    I finally determine that at some point it's leapt back to the Network preferences pane where it was asking her earlier to dial in.

    T: "Okay, close the window."
    "I don't see close."
    T: "Huh?"
    "I see Apply, Revert, Connect ..."
    T: "Well, just click on the red dot in the upper left."
    "There's no red dot."
    T: "Whuh --"
    "Oh, no wait, there it is."
    T: "Okay, click on it."
    "Nothing happened."
    T: "What do you mean nothing happened? You clicked on the red dot in the upper left?"
    "Yeah, the one right next to External Modem."
    T: *headdesk* "Okay, that's not the right one. Look up in the upper left."
    "That IS the one in the upper left!"
    T: "Further up." (fruitless efforts to describe window title bar)
    "Look, I'm up in the upper left one, all the other red dots are below it."
    [I finally give up and break one of the unwritten tech support rules: no meta-descriptions. -b]
    T: "Look up about an inch. What do you see there?"
    "Show All and two arrows."
    T: "And directly above that, are there a few circles?"
    "Yes."
    T: "The one on the left should be red."
    "Yes."
    T: "Click on that one."

    This is scary but true: The actual conversation was worse, that's just all I can remember from it.
Meanwhile, we have a customer in the office patiently waiting for my help, I'm trying to set aside some phone time to get ahold of Sonic for a DSL setup issue, and I'm not even scheduled to be in here on the first place. It takes a lot to get on my On Notice board. She's done it.


12/5 11a TR - She called back in this morning. K9 is now refusing to talk to me. (*quiet happy dance*) But that means she demanded to escalate the call and I had to hand it off to jp. I'm sorry, jp.

He said afterward (~20 minutes) that it wasn't -too- bad, but I was listening in. I know different. The phrase "I'm trying to help you out, but you need to have some patience" was used, as well as him flat-out telling her (a Mac user) that computers are complex things. Plus the requisite inability to find the menu bar in the upper left.

My call went something like this:

"The Internet isn't working. I know you guys say it is, but I know it's not. I talked with someone yesterday, and -- was that you? Is there someone else I can talk to? Transfer me to your boss."

JP chatted with her a little while, assured her I'm technically competent and that the Internet connection was in fact working, and played Good Cop. The actual problem was something inside Mac Mail. Which came up, incidentally, with a red '2' in a circle: our test messages have reached her. Apparently there was no actual connection problem; it was just asking for her password for her old e-mail account. Yes, even though this computer is only a few weeks old, she has ALREADY burned through one ISP before us. And she was about to leave us, too, except jp pointed out that if she switched again she'd just have to go through all of this setup -- again -- from scratch.

After some basic explanations about how computers work she seems to be squared away. I bloody well hope so, at this point.


12/5 12a TR - I should have known it was too good to last. She calls in AGAIN. With the EXACT SAME issue she was just talking to jp about. JP is on the other line, and thus unavailable. But suddenly, miraculously, now that she has no recourse but to complain louder, K9 will gladly complain at me instead.

She used to have Infostations ("Oops! I wasn't going to mention their name") for Internet service. She alternated between complaints that:

1) She can't get e-mail to her new address except for the stuff we've sent her.
--- Could this be because she hasn't told anyone the new address yet? But she wants US to test it out by having US send e-mail to her new address from some return address that's not at our ISP.
--- She tried sending herself a test message and never got it. OK, fair. This is a legitimate complaint and I'd be happy to troubleshoot it if she'd shut up long enough to let me check her outgoing mail settings.
2) It's not connecting to Infostations to get her old e-mail.
--- this is because, oh, she CANCELLED WITH THEM BEFORE COMING HERE. I am not the first person to explain why this makes her old e-mail not work. I will not be the last.

UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT
UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT
UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT
UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT
UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT
UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT
UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT
UNCLEAR ON THE CONCEPT

There IS a legit tech support issue here, which I finally, painfully pried out of her: she gets an error message connecting to our mail server's port 465. This probably means that SSL is turned on for her SMTP connection. And maybe also that the password got mistyped. But she absolutely refused to sit down and fix her settings -- she's 45 minutes overdue for something important, etc. Well, I asked, it sounds like this isn't a good time for you to talk. Would you prefer that we took care of this when you're not under such deadline pressure? Then, because she's so late for something so important, she spent the next minute and a half complaining to me about her broken e-mail.

Lessons learned:

1) She doesn't actually want tech support, she wants to complain.
2) She is of the impression that if she whines loudly and long enough, no matter what the problem is nor how many times it's been patiently explained that the settings on her computer need to be changed, no matter how crazy her Heisenclicking gets, that we have some magical ability to hack not only the Internet but also all of her applications, and make everything Do What She Means.
3) I bet she lives in Lake Wildwood. [This is the rich-snob gated community down the hill. Surprisingly, my guess was incorrect. -b]


12/6 jp - K9 called at 11:30am on Thu Dec 6 and said "I don't want your service any longer. Cancel it." We have refunded the full amount on her credit card, and the account has been closed. She has been nothing but trouble. Lots of blaming.




Anyway, K9 is gone now, off to the greener pastures of other ISPs that haven't banned her for life yet. Perhaps she's also found happiness in switching in her shiny new Macintosh for a computer that is more user-friendly.

If not, I recommend GlaDOS.

--
* Problem In Chair, Not In Computer.
** Yes, this is an impossible result.

Current Location: ~spiral
Current Music: Al Green, "Here I Am (Come And Take Me)"
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Comments
 
[User Picture]
From:baphnedia
Date:December 20th, 2007 06:06 am (UTC)
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Problem Is Between Chair and Keyboard (a recent version I used when trying to make my newsletter-thing work) :p
[User Picture]
From:baxil
Date:December 20th, 2007 06:13 am (UTC)
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Or: Problem Exists Between Chair And Keyboard (PEBKAC). Those are probably the more canonical versions. But I tend to prefer PICNIC because it's got a more elegant acronym.
[User Picture]
From:postrodent
Date:December 20th, 2007 06:31 am (UTC)
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Sir, I simultaneously salute and weep for you.
We've all been there, but damn, you've been there and BACK...
[User Picture]
From:baxil
Date:December 20th, 2007 07:35 am (UTC)
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Thankyew! And now, for my next trick, I will attempt to read a full page of Youtube comments!

(... Naw, I kid. Even I'm not that insane.)
(Deleted comment)
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From:roaminrob
Date:December 20th, 2007 07:02 am (UTC)
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She's really only about two steps beyond our regular customers.
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From:roaminrob
Date:December 20th, 2007 07:03 am (UTC)
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If ever there were a time where it was justified to tell a customer to their face that they were too stupid to own a computer, this was it.

Sorry you got the brunt of her.
[User Picture]
From:kadyg
Date:December 20th, 2007 07:31 am (UTC)
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Yikes. I'm sorry you all had to deal with her. Is there some small comfort in the fact that you were all in it together? Sort of a "comrades under fire" sort of thing?

>The phrase "I'm trying to help you out, but you need to have some patience" was used.

The last time I had cause to say this, the person it was aimed at literally walked backwards out of the room rather than turn their back to me. Apparently I looked pretty scary and I remember that I was about 15 seconds from killing them with my stapler.
[User Picture]
From:elynne
Date:December 20th, 2007 08:25 pm (UTC)
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*hehehehehehe* Hooray for the power of Skeery! ;)
[User Picture]
From:charles
Date:December 20th, 2007 10:44 pm (UTC)
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Ouch.

I'm having flashbacks to my time at ISP tech support. At the same time, I'm thanking whatever fates exist that they're only flashbacks.
[User Picture]
From:joysweeper
Date:December 22nd, 2007 02:50 pm (UTC)
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"That thing you deleted isn't important to me. Not any more. It's the Fluid Catalytic Cracking Unit; it makes shoes for orphans. Nice job breaking it, hero."

Perfect match.
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