0806: "Tech Support"

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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby willpellmn » Fri Oct 15, 2010 6:40 am UTC

I think this may well be the best XKCD _ever_. Especially with the alt-text. I mean, there's wry observation of life's eccentricities, and there's hopeless speculation as to how things could be better, but this...oh man, this is like the square of the product of the something-or-other of both of those factors. (I'm not a mathhead.)
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby eovnu87435ds » Fri Oct 15, 2010 6:46 am UTC

Whoever decides to start up a company for smart people technical support will be a millionaire in no time.
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby BasieCounts » Fri Oct 15, 2010 6:47 am UTC

I work in a tech support company - we are instituting this effective tomorrow. :D

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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby kzrssk » Fri Oct 15, 2010 6:47 am UTC

Sadly, this is because we can be fired for not following these scripts. Having a crappy call-center tech support job really made me respect tech support people (mostly, anyway). They have to deal with so much bs, it's not even funny. Case in point, a guy called in all peeved, and I had him restart his modem. His Internet came back up. He had threatened to cancel for the first like 20 minutes of the call where I was trying to get him to troubleshoot while playing minimum-wage Psychologist. "Oh, looks like things get done when I say I'm going to stop my service. I want to speak to your supervisor. Don't expect a raise." Don't forget, I had just fixed his problem. I try to tell him that there's nothing the sup can tell him since we just fixed his Internet and he starts yelling and cussing.

Yup.
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby Eternal Density » Fri Oct 15, 2010 6:50 am UTC

Aww, what a letdown
I too thought it was real
But it was a dream.

The source in Haiku:
was it written so it is
haiku compliant?


First post on the page
so I'm editing my post
as if it matters.

This final haiku
is stolen from member 'phlip'
thanks for PMing:

Once a pagetopper,
Then prior posts were approved.
Now, it's not so much.
Last edited by Eternal Density on Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:23 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:03 am UTC

Years ago I was stuck on dialup in the tiny podunk town I grew up in, and had recurring connection problems. I mean, beyond the problem of being on dialup to begin with. About every five minutes, I would get spontaneously disconnected, almost instantaneously, and very regularly. My first thought was line noise, I called the phone company and asked them to test my line for noise that might disrupt a modem. They said it was perfectly clear. So then I complained to my ISP (who, being old-style dialup, was not my phone company), but they had nothing wrong on their end. Then I thought maybe it was a problem with my modem, but I tried another modem I had lying around that still had the same problem. So I then suspected it was somehow something with my computer instead; I did have a very old computer at the time, so who knew what might have been wrong with it.

Shortly thereafter, I got a new computer (not to fix this problem, but just because), which included a new internal modem as well, and when it continued to have the same problem I grew more suspicious. I called the phone company again; they still said it was clear, maybe it's the line connecting my computer to the phone? So I replaced that. Still happens. Called the phone company again; "I really think it's something on your end". They say no, seems fine on their end still. Maybe something wrong with the wiring in my house. So I systematically replaced every bit of cable between my computer and the cable coming off their pole, calling them each time, "I still think the problem is on your end, why the hell would some kinked wire in my house suddenly and regularly disconnect me every five minutes and not cause any other problems between them?" (I also called my ISP back a few times to make really sure it wasn't on their end either, and they, being very friendly local and technically savvy people, provided me with some nice reports showing that the connection to them was being spontaneously dropped from my end, as far as they could tell).

Finally I convinced the phone company that there is absolutely, definitely some kind of weird intermittent problem happening between this wire coming off your pole and the wire running to my ISP, and I imagine a lot more people beside me would be complaining to my ISP if the problem was in their corner of your network, so PLEASE DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. After enough complaining, they finally sent a guy to go sit up on the pole and listen to the line for about 15 minutes (after all these hours of my troubleshooting), and sure enough, about every five minutes there was a sudden, spontaneous spike of noise coming down the line.

They traced it to a switch or some such servicing at least a hundred households in my neighborhood, apparently none of whom used the Internet enough to expect a connection to last for more than five minutes.
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby cepheusei » Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:05 am UTC

Scripts exist to take the variance out of tier 1 tech support. It's not incredibly time consuming to just walk through the script with the person on the other end and then when they finish with the initial power on / power off / release/renew / whatever to suggest alternatives politely.

A lot of the time people that think they know all sorts of things about what the problem really is, especially if it's anything more than the basic things the script is designed to resolve, have absolutely no idea what they're talking about. Even if you, specifically, actually do know what you're talking about it's impossible for the person or organization on the other end to know that you're not one of the other 50 people that said exactly the same stuff and were completely incompetent.

Even if there weren't scripts, most help desk support people shouldn't take your word that things have been preemptively done because all users lie and if you believe what they say at face value you're going to waste everyone's time.

This is sort of the opposite of a normal xkcd comic, in that it isn't so much a joke based on insider knowledge of the topic at hand as it is a view from a SUPER USER!!@! perspective and vaguely stupid from a first hand perspective.
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby Nathan022 » Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:09 am UTC

I completely think it's worth saying shibboleet just from this comic. Anybody who laughs and gets the reference to xkcd probably knows enough to help you :P
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby michael24easilybored » Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:16 am UTC

kzrssk wrote:Sadly, this is because we can be fired for not following these scripts. Having a crappy call-center tech support job really made me respect tech support people (mostly, anyway). They have to deal with so much bs, it's not even funny. Case in point, a guy called in all peeved, and I had him restart his modem. His Internet came back up. He had threatened to cancel for the first like 20 minutes of the call where I was trying to get him to troubleshoot while playing minimum-wage Psychologist. "Oh, looks like things get done when I say I'm going to stop my service. I want to speak to your supervisor. Don't expect a raise." Don't forget, I had just fixed his problem. I try to tell him that there's nothing the sup can tell him since we just fixed his Internet and he starts yelling and cussing.

Yup.


I used to work on the phone in a bank and if a customer was rude to me then I could make a fuss and have his account closed :)
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby mheard » Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:21 am UTC

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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby phlip » Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:22 am UTC

cepheusei wrote:Even if you, specifically, actually do know what you're talking about it's impossible for the person or organization on the other end to know that you're not one of the other 50 people that said exactly the same stuff and were completely incompetent.

Yeah, exactly. Dunning-Kruger strikes again.

When I do tech support (it's a small office - all the programmers have to do tech support from time to time), I'll tone down the "go into the Start menu and click on 'My Computer'"-type language if it becomes clear the person on the other end is computer-literate, but even then, I still won't trust them if they say they've already done something that should have fixed the problem they're having. And if I have to remote-control their computer, I'll still do all the obvious things, even if they said they'd already done them, and then done them again while I was on the phone. Because sometimes neither is true.

In particular, never trust someone who's getting a password error and claims their caps lock is turned off. People will swear up and down that their caps lock is off, and then you'll convince them to actually look at their keyboard and it'll turn out to be on. And then they'll turn it off, but then type their password while holding shift, instead. Seriously, I had someone do that once.

But then, I do tech support for a particular software package, so people don't really know how it works behind the scenes, and people rarely call up with problems and theories about what specifically is broken... it's not like, say, Windows, or an Internet connection, where there do exist a lot of people out there who would be able to make quite good guesses at what specifically is the cause of a specific problem. So I don't have to deal with the situation in the comic very much, and I can't say for sure how I'd react if it did come up.
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby davidstarlingm » Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:27 am UTC

My roommate and I were tired of bumming off the neighbor's often sketchy open WiFi, so we went ahead and installed cable internet. First, my roommate had to teach the cable guy how to run wiring under a house; he wanted to come in through the siding.

We tried hooking it up to one Cisco wireless router first. Of course my MacBook and his Lenovo connected right away, but his little Acer notebook couldn't even see the network no matter what we did. An hour later, I just wanted to get one of the Indian guys doing Cisco support and one of the Pakistani guys doing Acer support on a conference call and let them fight it out. Sadly, though, such dreams simply don't come true in real life.

"Yes, I restarted the computer. And the router. Yes; I even unplugged the refrigerator. Do you have ANYONE who understands driver compatibility? Anyone? Do you know what a driver is?"

On another note: is it just me, or is Randall making a lot of Bible references lately? Maybe he's reading through the Old Testament for some odd reason. Stranger things have happened.
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby wormtail » Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:29 am UTC

Shibbo1337 ???
googled it and came up with:
http://www.trickery.net/vb/showpost.php ... ostcount=5

Gmail eh? I gotcha.

/me performs Shibbo1337, the passgrip of a brother gamer


this shibboleet thing drive me crazy!get out from my head randall!!
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby negeungrevrhaf » Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:34 am UTC

I actually had the good fortune of getting into an enterprise-level tech support job after my short stint with consumer. It was sooo nice to go from "Click on the start menu." "Right click or left click?" to "Can we try clearing the ARP cache on your router?" "Sure thing. Be back in a minute."
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby paravatar » Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:39 am UTC

Currently I work with an analog digital interface and software. Three out of 10 times the interface is not recognized by the software and 1/10 times "turning it off and on again", "turning the pc off and on a gain" doesn't help - and neither does every possible permutation of that sequence.
There are 2 guys I can call in that case (or in any other case like the software not saving the changes I made in the last 2 hours): Both are from marketing :(*

But they are keeping a list of problems and suggestions they pass right on to the developer, at least they say so.


*anyway one of them is cool, he tries to reproduce the problems and actually gives helpful hints.
…is listening to the swooshing sound of deadlines passing by
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby nido » Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:04 am UTC

Actually, at my ISP they had a 'shiboleet' sentence. This usually has them putting me through to someone who at least pings the modem before having me act as if my linux test computer is a windows box.

"Hi I'm $name, The IP address of the router is $ip/non-existent, the mac address is $MAC, the serial $SERIAL, Windows has been reinstalled, as has been the router; another cable and another computer has been tried. I think $X is the problem because $LIGHT does/doesn't burn/blink. and the rx/tx counters on the modem page does/don't increase"

fill in $variables, obviously
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby melladh » Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:13 am UTC

I had friends who worked tech support who were forbidden to help the customer. Because the company they took the calls for hadn't paid for anything else than following the error chart (which they knew wouldn't help anyone), so if they helped anyway they'd be in trouble at work. Very sad.
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby Jez » Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:34 am UTC

Once I had to call technical support because our connection dropped out for about 5 days. The first thing I was told to do after explaining that the modem was showing that it failed to connect to the server was "load the bt website and do a speedtest"...
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby dbmag9 » Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:47 am UTC

SocialSceneRepairman wrote:Also, wasn't Shibbolet (instead of "Shibboleth") the one that would get you executed? Or was that "Sibbolet(h)"?

The important distinction (as has been noted above) was between the 'sh' and 's' at the start. Funnily enough, although the last sound is traditionally anglicised to 'th', in the Hebrew it would actually just be pronounced as a 't' (that's definitely true for Modern Hebrew, and I'm fairly sure it's accurate for Biblical). The same thing happens in 'Sabbath', 'Bethlehem', and probably those Lovecraftian words too.

Also, I liked this comic.
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby Technical Ben » Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:10 am UTC

Had this exact problem. Got setup with an ISP. The service was horrendous. So I called and said there must be a problem with their line, as all my neighbours are fine (but on other ISPs). They read the scripts, and sent a replacement modem. I even challenged the level 2/3 tech guy. He kind of went quiet, and glossed over the problem. All the while I checked their support forums to find out, all their customers had this problem. The company had not bought the backend/bandwidth to supply their customers!
Thankfully, they are the only ISP in this country that offers a "30 day cooling off guarantee". So I cancelled quick!
I'm now with a small ISP, who have 5 people in tech support. However, they know the difference between MSQL and a DSLAM. So it's great. When on their forums, we do ask people "have you tried resetting the pc/clearing your cash" but only in reply to generic problems. If we are asked "my modem is flashing, what does that mean" we will say "exchange problems, or the modem has died!" :)
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby MaCharSis » Fri Oct 15, 2010 9:21 am UTC

this is one of those strips which will have consequences...

also, when I just registered, one of the Recaptcha words where "Adama" :D
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby el_loco_avs » Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:14 am UTC

It's incredibly rare to get a user that actually knows anything when you work in tech support. Currently working for a large ISP. It's more often that I get a call about "my computer screen stays blank!" that a truely interesting problem; which usually goes to 2nd/3rd line support anyway.


Also. Sometimes we can TELL that you're lying about powercycling. :mrgreen:
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby chernobyl » Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:20 am UTC

This comic made me feel nostalgic about the good old days when my ISP was a small start-up with only a few hundred clients. 1 hour after I had signed the contract, the guys pulled the cable up to my house and I was online! They only had two customer support guys and they actually knew their system, so I didn't have to speak to a call center employee with minimum training and scripts to follow.

Naturally, later they sold the business to a larger company and everything went downhill from there.
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby Layrajha » Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:25 am UTC

shibboleet - Add to iGoogle
5th most popular search in the past hour.


http://www.google.com/trends/hottrends? ... shibboleet

"Shibboleet" made it to the top google searches with only, right now 6 hours after the release of the comics, about 400 results. I love how XKCD can influence top google searches like that. While XKCD is obviously popular, I wouldn't have thought that XKCD readers were enough to influence google's top searches. It seems that the fact that they google everything they are even slightly intrigued about, and the fact that XKCD synchronously intrigues, kind catches up for our number.
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby techsupport » Fri Oct 15, 2010 10:36 am UTC

Dammit, keywords like this are not meant to be public knowledge! :cry:
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby dadrian » Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:14 am UTC

I just registered to give you THIS: http://dadrian.com/stallman_web.png

edit: a small version, so you don't have to follow the link:
Image
Last edited by dadrian on Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:54 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby Skrynesaver » Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:18 am UTC

Had to decloak for this one.
Once upon a time I had a domain which had been previously hosted by the hosting arm of the largest ISP in my country.
They still had an old MX record for this domain and so I couldn't receive mail from anyone using them as an ISP.
I contacted their support line
Me: You appear to have an MX record for a domain you no longer host
Tech: What?
Me: Your users can't send me mail
Tech: You can't see mail from our users
Me: Yes
Tech: Do you use Outlook or Eudora
Me: mutt actually, but that's not relevant
Tech: mutt???
Me: The problem is your mail routing
Tech: What??
Me: Do you have a supervisor there?
Tech: Yeah, sure, ....
Supervisor: What seems to be the problem?
Me: You aren't routing mail to my domain?
Sup: You can't read your mail?
Me: No your customers can't send me mail!
Sup: What are your Outlook settings?
Me: AARGH (This is the point at which Shibo1337 would be handy)

Loop:
    Hang up
    Me: Do you know what an MX record is
    Tech: What?
Break: Tech: <tone mode="insulted" >Of course</tone>


It took 3 days of almost constant phone calls to reach that guy but he resolved my issue in 5 minutes
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby NotGrouchy » Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:47 am UTC

NotMustapha wrote:Teeheehee, I loved this one. I've spent more of my life on the phone with tech support that is strictly good for my sanity. Almost never has it actually helped. I'm going to have to try that shibboleet trick next time :D

Oh Glee !

I'm so happy other people feel the same way. Sometimes I feel like just telling the person on the other end of the telephone to cheer up and think of flowerpots and string ! They don't even realise that, if we were both not holding a telephone, we would not be able to hear each other without shouting louder than thunder (if not louder !) What a remarkable invention of humanity; being able to send echoes to wherever we choose. It brings a tear to their joyful eyes (I can only presume !) *giggles*

*Smoke signals !*




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Mighty Jalapeno wrote:At least he has the decency to SPREAD LOVE AMONG HIS FELLOW MAN....
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby Marlayna » Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:53 am UTC

I have this problem where my line gets disconnected every once in a while, and stays down for at least a few minutes. I know it's the line because, well, I go to the router page - Status - ADSL, look next to the words "Line State" and see the word "Down" (or "Activation" or "Initializing", followed by "Down" again once I refresh the page). After trying without success to explain the problem to several people on tech support, I've ultimately resigned to the fact that I simply won't have reliable internet. :roll:

(Yes, I've tried resetting the router/changing the router/changing the cable between router and phone/removing the splitter and connecting the router directly to the plug, all to no avail - the problem is definitely on their end... it's just hopeless.)
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Those who can read binary numbers and those who can't.
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby cmnsoas » Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:53 am UTC

shibboleet- Add to iGoogle
5th most popular search in the past hour.

Hotness:Mild
google.com/trends
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby HonoreDB » Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:57 am UTC

My worst tech-support-with-inappropriate-script story happened when I was in an application support job. I'd gotten a ticket for an application my company didn't actually support, so I looked up who was responsible, copied the ticket information including the user's contact info, and forwarded it to them. After a bit, I called to follow up. The tech kept trying to follow his script when talking to *me*, even though I couldn't possibly do any trouble-shooting. He didn't seem capable of retaining this information.

Him: Could you try restarting your computer, please?
Me: I'm not the user. You have the user's number in the ticket; maybe you should call her.
Him: I see. *pause* What version of *** are you running?
Me: I don't know what version the user is running.
Him: Ah, right. *pause* Do you mind if I remote into your computer?
Me: I don't see what good that could possibly do. Look, the user's number is ***-***-****, please run through this with her.
Him: Okay, I'll do that. (defensively) Remoting in can solve the issue very quickly, though.
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby theflatworm » Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:01 pm UTC

NotGrouchy wrote:I'm so happy other people feel the same way. Sometimes I feel like just telling the person on the other end of the telephone to cheer up and think of flowerpots and string ! They don't even realise that, if we were both not holding a telephone, we would not be able to hear each other without shouting louder than thunder (if not louder !) What a remarkable invention of humanity; being able to send echoes to wherever we choose. It brings a tear to their joyful eyes (I can only presume !) *giggles*

*Smoke signals !*



Interesting. There is a song by my favourite band (called The Mountain Goats,) which contains the lyric:

You speak in smoke signals
And I answer in code


Ok, that's probably not interesting to anyone else, but it made me chuckle.
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby MichaelKarnerfors » Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:10 pm UTC

Story 1

I get my first ADSL modem, I plug it in... not working. I look in the box... find the troubleshooting guides... follow the guides. Still not working.

Next morning before going to my lectures I call tech support.

- Hi, my new ADSL modem isn't working.
- Have you [starts reading from troubleshooting guide 1]
- [Interrupts] Yes I went through all that.
- Allright... have you also [starts reading from troubleshooting guide 2]
- [Interrupts again] Yes, I did that too.
[2 seconds of silence]
- Allright, we'll send someone to look at the connection box.

I came back from the lectures in the afternoon, connection worked perfectly until I moved out of the apartment 5 years later (apart from the occasional excavator fadeout).

Story 2

My smartphone isn't getting a GPRS internet connection any more. This was in 2006-2007'ish and mobile internet connections wasn't quite the hot stuff just yet.

- Hello, support? Yeah I can't get my smartphone to connect to the internet any more.
- Eeeh... hold on, I'll patch you through to someone that knows that.
[Short hold]
- Okey, how did you configure the modem settings?
- Eh... I didn't... I just used the GPRS number *99*.
- Oh geez, I'm surprised you got a connection at all so far! Ok... follow this procedure to get to the advanced settings.
[Click click click]
- The tab is not there.
- Did you do exactly as I said.
- [Blushing as I didn't... took a "clever" shortcut] Uhm... no.
- [With wonderful constrain and not biting my head off] Do it again
- Ok, got the advanced settings.
- Type this: [spouts modem initialization command with three parameters] and from now on, wherever you're on a Sony Ericsson phone you put "10" at that particular spot in the string; all other phones you use "1" instead. And dial *99***10#, or *99***1# for all other brands, ok?
- Eh... ok, just gimme a sec... hey, it works! Thanks!!


Story 3

Mum and dad's computer won't connect to the internet over their (un)trusty old 56k modem. I lift the handset and hear massive amounts of static.

Mum & dad's phone lines inside the house are... eh... "abused". Not pretty. So I backtrack them, eventually all they way up on the attic there the copper pair comes into the house. I strip the wires, hold them to the phone connectors... still static. Ok, it's not in the house.

I call support on my cell phone, and end up in a fully automated system with voice recognition.

- Please describe the problem
- [Brief one-sentence desciption]
- Did you mean: [Alternately worded but right on the money description]
- [Amazed] Yes!
- Ok, what phone number is having the problem? Speak or dail, finish with the hash key.
[Bleep bleep bleep]
- Ok, we will now make an automated probe of that phone line. In the mean time...
[Short exchange of numbers where I can be reached if they need to ask further questions]
- We have found that there is an error on your line and will send a repair team. Would you like to be contacted when the repairs are done?
[another short exhange to give contact detail]
- Thank you, we expect this to be completed in approximately three days. Thank you for your call.

It was done in less than 24 hours...


Without advertising I would just like to say that I love Telia's support (yes, all three were to Telia). :)

/Michael
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby rcox1 » Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:23 pm UTC

kzrssk wrote:Sadly, this is because we can be fired for not following these scripts. Having a crappy call-center tech support job really made me respect tech support people (mostly, anyway). They have to deal with so much bs, it's not even funny. Case in point, a guy called in all peeved, and I had him restart his modem. His Internet came back up. He had threatened to cancel for the first like 20 minutes of the call where I was trying to get him to troubleshoot while playing minimum-wage Psychologist. "Oh, looks like things get done when I say I'm going to stop my service. I want to speak to your supervisor. Don't expect a raise." Don't forget, I had just fixed his problem. I try to tell him that there's nothing the sup can tell him since we just fixed his Internet and he starts yelling and cussing.

Yup.


The reality is many people have no understanding of how computers work, and will probably never have any understanding because they either don't have the abstraction skills or the respect for process. Electronics are dumb and if one goes through things all willy nilly they will no work, and some people just don't make the effort. I see this often when I teach about how to put in chips. Some people will never accept that the notch has to match the notch.

Turning off the computer will fix many of the problems much quicker than diagnosing the actual problem. For instance, on one set of laptops I use there is a touch sensitive portion of he keyboard that will turn off the wireless radio. Rather than try to explain this to people who just call everything "the internet", I generally just tell them to restart the computer.

Of couse I suspect the most difficult users that tech has to support are those that know a little bit, and think they have already diagnosed the issue. Really, when calling for help don't assume you know the solutions. When my friends or family ask me for help, I waste the first five minutes trying to get them to describe the symptoms rather than asking for me to implement a solution. This is the same as in a design process. All to often people want a servant instead of a tech.

If I call tech support I have no problem going through the script. If I have a problem that I need to call tech support, I know it is bigger than the script can handle, but I also know they need to verify that all the obvious stuff has been done. I is like a flight checklist. We know we did it, but it does not hurt to make sure. OTOH, I like my web hosting service because they have email support and can normally get me back up within the hour.
<p>
On another note, if one set up a ech support for with highly qualified people, one would likely go broke. No one is going to pay enough for electronic gear to support the pay that highly qualified require, nor are highly qualified people going to take the abuse that average user feels is thier right to inflict on support stafff.
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby NotMustapha » Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:35 pm UTC

NotGrouchy wrote:Oh Glee !

I'm so happy other people feel the same way. Sometimes I feel like just telling the person on the other end of the telephone to cheer up and think of flowerpots and string ! They don't even realise that, if we were both not holding a telephone, we would not be able to hear each other without shouting louder than thunder (if not louder !) What a remarkable invention of humanity; being able to send echoes to wherever we choose. It brings a tear to their joyful eyes (I can only presume !) *giggles*

*Smoke signals !*


-NG>


I agree about the sending of echoes to wherever we wish being one of humanities most wonderful inventions. I think it is the tension between that wonder inherent in the concept and the actuality of most of our time on the phone that the comic captures so beautifully.

I might have to try talking about flowerpots and string if shibboleet doesn't work. At least it might brighten their day :D

Also, you just helped me with my pollyannaism of the day! At least tech support isn't handled through smoke signals! Though it might not be so hard, last time I had to call my computer's tech support folk I already had some smoke on hand :(
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby jlane628 » Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:38 pm UTC

Nothing much to add here to the discussion, just wanted to share how much I loved this one!
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby omnichad » Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:47 pm UTC

I had another DSL troubleshooting situation where I actually had a spare DSL modem configured for the service. So every time their crappy modem would fail, I'd plug in mine. When I call and said it works with another modem, they simply said it wasn't possible!!! I explained that I use voice over IP and that's how I'm talking to them. I still had to pretend I was rebooting my computer with the other modem plugged in to get a replacement modem!
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby phillipsjk » Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:49 pm UTC

last time I called my ISP, the conversation went kind of like this:

Me: Which ports do your block?
Tech: We don't block any ports.
Me: You used to... That is why I am using 2222 for SSH. (Note: ISP reseller got bought by another since then.)
... (forget exact troubleshooting steps suggested, but I had already determined the port was being blocked using online port scanners)...
Me: Do you block the Bittorrent protocol?
Tech: Nope.
Me: (Thinking: he has no reason to lie; better go over my router settings again). Thank-you, bye.


It turns out I had the syntax for port-forwarding on my router slightly wrong: I was forwarding (port A) to (port A+1) through some feature I never use.

Lessons to take away:
  • To bypass the script, do all the troubleshooting you can, then ask a specific technical question. In the comic example it would be something like: "Have there been any reports of outages in my area?"
  • If the tech says something that contradicts what you think you know, double-check your work. For example, you can do this by confirming the information the script is asking for when asked; be specific: "My IP is currently set to 0.0.0.0". If your are asked to check the Caps-lock, do so. Being asked to restart instead of renewing a DHCP lease is a grey area.
Last edited by phillipsjk on Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:51 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby SirMustapha » Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:50 pm UTC

This comic reminds me of why I'd never want to work with tech support: computer illiteracy is completely understandable, as we all have been illiterate in our lives at some point; but there's nothing worse than dealing with smug assholes who think they can do no wrong, and who now may be thinking it'll be EXTREMELY HILARIOUS to yell "Shibboleet" on the phone to "piss off" tech support workers (even though they're probably nice people and therefore don't read xkcd).

TECH SUPPORT: Have you checked the power cord to see if it's connected?
USER: Look, I use LINUX in my computer, and Linux is AWESOME, and you're obviously dumb if you don't know it. If my monitor is not turned on, the problem is obviously in your end.
TECH SUPPORT: But have you checked the power cord, at least?
USER: Of course I haven't! Linux is AWESOME and it does that for me! The problem is obviously with the monitor.
TECH SUPPORT: Um, can you try plugging in the power cord?
USER: Didn't you hear? I USE LINUX.
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Re: 0806: Tech Support

Postby Karilyn » Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:54 pm UTC

Yeah. If you aren't annoying and rude, you can usually get to an actual engineer in less than 5 minutes. It's annoying, but oh well.

You know, I always see people bitch about tech support, but seriously. If you're an engineer, you don't want to get bothered with every trivial problem people have, and dear god an overwhelming number of issues are trivial. Hell, recently, I had a person who called tech support because she couldn't find her application because she had minimized it and couldn't find it. Waste of time.

You think Randal would be aware of the fact that the monkeys are put in-beween the users and the engineers so you can have 70 idiots handling the idiot calls and only 5 or so engineers handling actual problems, instead of having to waste dozens of engineers time and test their patience helping people find their Any Key.

That being said, it's times like this that make me glad I'm inhouse tech support. Remote Desktop is the most beautiful thing ever invented, especially considering the client we use doesn't even require the user to give me anything other than their login name.
Gelsamel wrote:If you punch him in the face repeatedly then it's science.
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