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  1. Senior Member wweboy's Avatar
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    #1

    Default How do you deal with bad support?

    So this morning I got a user who said his laptop doesn't power on. He is located way up north from where I am. So I call Lenovo and I admit I was kind of a bad mood to start out with but I get some guy named "Tony" who asks for my 4 digit machine type.

    I didn't have it I gave him my serial and he said do you have the laptop in front of me I said no he then said "We don't operate that way" I said don't get mouthy and explained that I'm working on a computer across the country. He then quickly switched me to his super.

    The Supervisor again asks me for the digits I explain I don't have them and then starts talking down to me like a I'm an idiot and don't know what he wants. I lost it and started yelling and cussing saying stuff like "i'm not a ******* moron I know what you want" amoung other things and then he said "Bye your having a bad day"

    Now I rarely lose it with customer support I mean they do what they have to do but it was they needed that 4 digit machine type and that I didn't have the laptop in front of me that it was just too much for them.

    How do you deal with bad tech support I know yelling and cussing at them wasn't the best thing to do and I feel silly as I had a few other co-workers hear me but when you get bad support what do you do and do I have any recourse? I mean we spend a lot of money with IBM all our servers and majority of desktop and laptops are IBM / Lenovo.

    We are slowly switching over to Dell but in this economy that is happening at a snails pace and have to make do with what we have.

    Thanks.
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    #2
    Well in this case from what you're describing they may have been a bit condescending to you. But on the other hand, anytime I have to deal with any notebook or any other product I typically have the model number and serial number available. Having experience with Lenovo it's common practice to need both the machine type/model number and serial number. Would it have been so difficult to contact the user and have them read it off?
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  4. Senior Member exampasser's Avatar
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    #3
    Quote Originally Posted by wweboy View Post
    So this morning I got a user who said his laptop doesn't power on. He is located way up north from where I am. So I call Lenovo and I admit I was kind of a bad mood to start out with but I get some guy named "Tony" who asks for my 4 digit machine type.

    I didn't have it I gave him my serial and he said do you have the laptop in front of me I said no he then said "We don't operate that way" I said don't get mouthy and explained that I'm working on a computer across the country. He then quickly switched me to his super.

    The Supervisor again asks me for the digits I explain I don't have them and then starts talking down to me like a I'm an idiot and don't know what he wants. I lost it and started yelling and cussing saying stuff like "i'm not a ******* moron I know what you want" amoung other things and then he said "Bye your having a bad day"

    Now I rarely lose it with customer support I mean they do what they have to do but it was they needed that 4 digit machine type and that I didn't have the laptop in front of me that it was just too much for them.

    How do you deal with bad tech support I know yelling and cussing at them wasn't the best thing to do and I feel silly as I had a few other co-workers hear me but when you get bad support what do you do and do I have any recourse? I mean we spend a lot of money with IBM all our servers and majority of desktop and laptops are IBM / Lenovo.

    We are slowly switching over to Dell but in this economy that is happening at a snails pace and have to make do with what we have.

    Thanks.
    Dell is not much better. I can't tell you how many times the hard drive on a Dell server has failed on me. If you have the time custom builds are the way to go for desktops/servers. This might not be feasible if you have a lot of computers.
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  5. Senior Member
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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by exampasser View Post
    Dell is not much better. I can't tell you how many times the hard drive on a Dell server has failed on me. If you have the time custom builds are the way to go for desktops/servers. This might not be feasible if you have a lot of computers.
    I disagree on custom builds. Coming from a background of a PC store manager where I handled all of my own RMA direct back to the manufacturer. It is leaps and bounds easier to purchase through somebody such as Lenovo, HP, Dell, etc and have a single point of contact for RMA's. Not to mention in this case it was a notebook which really limits your ability to build your own.

    Custom builds IMO really don't have any place in the enterprise environment unless you enjoy making things difficult for yourself
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  6. Senior Member wweboy's Avatar
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    #5
    msteinhilber,

    I did have the serial just not the 4 digit machine thing they wanted. After the call I did call the user and specifically ask for the 4 digit number.

    What pisses me off is their attitude about the entire situation I said I had the serail number was there anyway to look up the info they needed and it was as if I was asking way to much from them.

    Either way in the end I spoke to someone else and got the issue taken care of but their attitude of treat the customer like an idiot just doesn't sit with me.
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by wweboy View Post
    I did have the serial just not the 4 digit machine thing they wanted. After the call I did call the user and specifically ask for the 4 digit number.

    What pisses me off is their attitude about the entire situation I said I had the serail number was there anyway to look up the info they needed and it was as if I was asking way to much from them.

    Either way in the end I spoke to someone else and got the issue taken care of but their attitude of treat the customer like an idiot just doesn't sit with me.
    Perhaps they do not have a method in place to lookup a product strictly by serial number, I don't recall ever being able to just give out a serial number and say "it's a notebook" and get where I needed to go with any support request. It's common practice for manufacturers to ask for both the product number and serial number. Perhaps the first person you spoke to was not intending to be rude, what he said "we don't operate that way" isn't in itself rude - it could be said in a rude tone, but it's possible since you admit to being upset already when you called that you may have wrongly interpreted the comment as rude.
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  8. Audentis Fortuna Iuvat veritas_libertas's Avatar
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by wweboy View Post
    So this morning I got a user who said his laptop doesn't power on. He is located way up north from where I am. So I call Lenovo and I admit I was kind of a bad mood to start out with but I get some guy named "Tony" who asks for my 4 digit machine type.

    I didn't have it I gave him my serial and he said do you have the laptop in front of me I said no he then said "We don't operate that way" I said don't get mouthy and explained that I'm working on a computer across the country. He then quickly switched me to his super.

    The Supervisor again asks me for the digits I explain I don't have them and then starts talking down to me like a I'm an idiot and don't know what he wants. I lost it and started yelling and cussing saying stuff like "i'm not a ******* moron I know what you want" amoung other things and then he said "Bye your having a bad day"

    Now I rarely lose it with customer support I mean they do what they have to do but it was they needed that 4 digit machine type and that I didn't have the laptop in front of me that it was just too much for them.

    How do you deal with bad tech support I know yelling and cussing at them wasn't the best thing to do and I feel silly as I had a few other co-workers hear me but when you get bad support what do you do and do I have any recourse? I mean we spend a lot of money with IBM all our servers and majority of desktop and laptops are IBM / Lenovo.

    We are slowly switching over to Dell but in this economy that is happening at a snails pace and have to make do with what we have.

    Thanks.
    Lenovo is absolutely near to evil. I deal with them constantly have at last been able to train them to quit constantly asking me useless questions. One thing I haven't achieved though, is being treated like a paying customer. We have a huge contract with them, and for that I would at least expect to be treated nicely.

    There favorite thing to do is question me have you done this, have you done that. They have replacing anything that you do have on warranty.
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    #8
    If you are dealing with Lenovo you can use their web-based system:

    https://www-930.ibm.com/support/esc/signin.jsp

    Anytime I have already diagnosed the problem and fill in the steps or symptoms leading to that diagnosis and submit a request to ESC+ I typically have a replacement part on it's way the same or next day. In cases where you are not certain of the problem they will either dispatch a tech or arrange for a box to be sent overnight to ship the product back to them (depending on the product and if your warranty terms are onsite or depot).

    As far as them questioning you have you done this or done that, I can't really blame them. It's a part of their troubleshooting process they go through despite how intelligent you at the other end of the phone may be - they are not aware of your own abilities and probably often times run into people who "know what they are talking about" that really don't. I guess I can't comment much on how nice they are towards their customers though since I rarely work with them on the phone at all.

    Get setup with a login to ESC+ and use that for requests, I much prefer using web based systems with vendors I work with. The only time I typically call in is in cases where I need an instant response such as with a server failure.
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  10. Baroo? skrpune's Avatar
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by msteinhilber View Post
    But on the other hand, anytime I have to deal with any notebook or any other product I typically have the model number and serial number available. Having experience with Lenovo it's common practice to need both the machine type/model number and serial number. Would it have been so difficult to contact the user and have them read it off?
    agreed. We have Lenovo's where I work, and without the four digit type, they can't look up the unit in their system. A quick call to the customer to snag the info off the tag on the bottom of the laptop would have quickly and peacefully remedied the situation.

    You can also look up the system yourself on the Lenovo site - there's a warranty lookup site where you or the user you're supporting can enter the laptop info and find out if they're still under warranty.

    By the way, I've got a potential fix for you - I've done this already twice this week and countless times in the past, and it fixed the issue. Have the user pull out the battery & plug in the AC adapter & try to start up the laptop. 9 times out of 10, it works. (The other 1/10 time it's a bad/failed component or bad AC adapter.) There seems to be some sort of weird "battery memory" (I know there's no such thing, but go with me here) - when the battery gets fully drained, the system somehow remembers that it's dead and won't start up again afterwards until the battery is removed. I don't know why, I don't know how...I just know it works and has saved many a customer I've dealt with tons of cash in shipping their laptops to us for diagnostics or getting them repaired at IT shops.

    On the topic of bad customer support, I hate to say it, but I think it was more of a "bad customer" support issue than a bad support issue. No offense, but if you're telling folks to not get mouthy with you and go off on then, I'm not surprised they weren't all that sweet back at ya. How would you feel if you were on the opposite end of that conversation?

    There's a way to go about dealing with tech support when you're a techy, and it takes some finesse. No one likes to be told "I know what I'm doing more than you, and you have to help me dammit." My method: start off by saying you're a technician that's been tasked with helping a customer with so-and-so problem, and do a quick rundown of what you've already gone through. Then appeal to the tech to see if they can help you out or escalate you to the next tier of support. If they balk or if they say that they don't work in such and such way, then appeal to them again - acknowledge that you realize this is not the norm, but you would be most appreciative of their help...and that you realize there are certain things they are and are not allowed to do, and again ask if you can perhaps speak with a supervisor or second tier support who might be able to authorize some non-standard stuff. I've had great success by following these steps, with more than one company (Lenovo, Dell, Asus, Western Digital, Seagate...). If you treat them like intelligent human beings who are somewhat limited by what they are allowed to do, rather than stupid people who just don't want to help you, it's amazing what you can accomplish.
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  11. Audentis Fortuna Iuvat veritas_libertas's Avatar
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by msteinhilber View Post
    If you are dealing with Lenovo you can use their web-based system:

    https://www-930.ibm.com/support/esc/signin.jsp

    Anytime I have already diagnosed the problem and fill in the steps or symptoms leading to that diagnosis and submit a request to ESC+ I typically have a replacement part on it's way the same or next day. In cases where you are not certain of the problem they will either dispatch a tech or arrange for a box to be sent overnight to ship the product back to them (depending on the product and if your warranty terms are onsite or depot).

    As far as them questioning you have you done this or done that, I can't really blame them. It's a part of their troubleshooting process they go through despite how intelligent you at the other end of the phone may be - they are not aware of your own abilities and probably often times run into people who "know what they are talking about" that really don't. I guess I can't comment much on how nice they are towards their customers though since I rarely work with them on the phone at all.

    Get setup with a login to ESC+ and use that for requests, I much prefer using web based systems with vendors I work with. The only time I typically call in is in cases where I need an instant response such as with a server failure.

    I use the web-based method whenever possible, and it usually works very well.

    I agree, one should never talk down to anyone, and yes I think the OP was very out of line (no offense meant.) I am a very patient person, and even when treated rudely I rarely strike back. That being said, Lenovo tech support can be very aggravating, and many times just down right rude.
    Last edited by veritas_libertas; 01-06-2010 at 08:11 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skrpune View Post
    On the topic of bad customer support, I hate to say it, but I think it was more of a "bad customer" support issue than a bad support issue. No offense, but if you're telling folks to not get mouthy with you and go off on then, I'm not surprised they weren't all that sweet back at ya. How would you feel if you were on the opposite end of that conversation?

    There's a way to go about dealing with tech support when you're a techy, and it takes some finesse. No one likes to be told "I know what I'm doing more than you, and you have to help me dammit." My method: start off by saying you're a technician that's been tasked with helping a customer with so-and-so problem, and do a quick rundown of what you've already gone through. Then appeal to the tech to see if they can help you out or escalate you to the next tier of support. If they balk or if they say that they don't work in such and such way, then appeal to them again - acknowledge that you realize this is not the norm, but you would be most appreciative of their help...and that you realize there are certain things they are and are not allowed to do, and again ask if you can perhaps speak with a supervisor or second tier support who might be able to authorize some non-standard stuff. I've had great success by following these steps, with more than one company (Lenovo, Dell, Asus, Western Digital, Seagate...). If you treat them like intelligent human beings who are somewhat limited by what they are allowed to do, rather than stupid people who just don't want to help you, it's amazing what you can accomplish.
    Absolutely agree.

    I would have hung up on you too but probably not as professionally as the supervisor did. Hats off to him. You were well out of order!

    We all work in this industry at various levels of competancy and work preassures but not one of us is so brilliant or so vital that it gives us the right to unload on someone just doing their job within the constraints they have to work within. If any one of us is having a bad day, that's our problem and to unload on someone else, deserving or not, is completely uncalled for and highly unprofessional regardless of how much of a professional you think you are.

    A great many of those that work on these service desk aren't paid a lot, regardless of their abilities or potential but it suits them at the time. They still try to do the best they can within the confines of the job they are in. You'll be amazed how regimented they are forced to be.

    In this particular case, I would bet that without those details, they couldn't initiate an incident record which they require to keep track of SLAs which is how that department justifies it's existance. You don't give a jot for their problems but just start gobbing off at them like they are some annoying bugs in your way.... When put on to the supervisor, you obviously feel superior to them as well and start unloading on them tool ... Who the hell are you ?

    [ see... not nice being talked down to is it ! ... and I'm being polite! ]

    Edit: Last paragraph was for effect only. Wasn't really ranting. Just been given a lot of NY left over alcohol and tonight, life is good

    Professionally, I would suggest you get back in contact with them and appologise. A good bit of advice for the future. When dealing with someone else in life, take the time to understand their problems and they will generally bend over backwards to help you out. Learn this trick and you'll be amazed at how easy dealing with others can get.
    Last edited by Kaminsky; 01-05-2010 at 09:32 PM.
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  13. Senior Member Turgon's Avatar
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    #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaminsky View Post
    Absolutely agree.

    I would have hung up on you too but probably not as professionally as the supervisor did. Hats off to him. You were well out of order!

    We all work in this industry at various levels of competancy and work preassures but not one of us is so brilliant or so vital that it gives us the right to unload on someone just doing their job within the constraints they have to work within. If any one of us is having a bad day, that's our problem and to unload on someone else, deserving or not, is completely uncalled for and highly unprofessional regardless of how much of a professional you think you are.

    A great many of those that work on these service desk aren't paid a lot, regardless of their abilities or potential but it suits them at the time. They still try to do the best they can within the confines of the job they are in. You'll be amazed how regimented they are forced to be.

    In this particular case, I would bet that without those details, they couldn't initiate an incident record which they require to keep track of SLAs which is how that department justifies it's existance. You don't give a jot for their problems but just start gobbing off at them like they are some annoying bugs in your way.... When put on to the supervisor, you obviously feel superior to them as well and start unloading on them tool ... Who the hell are you ?

    [ see... not nice being talked down to is it ! ... and I'm being polite! ]

    Professionally, I would suggest you get back in contact with them and appologise. A good bit of advice for the future. When dealing with someone else in life, take the time to understand their problems and they will generally bend over backwards to help you out. Learn this trick and you'll be amazed at how easy dealing with others can get.
    To be fair..

    This is the thin edge of the wedge really. When you need support, you need support, but the way things have gone it's all system and process these days which is very frustrating for the person who has to make the call. For all those having to make these calls always remember..it matters to you on a local level, that guy needs this fixed and is pressurizing you, but to the poor sap on the end of the line they have process to follow and calls to close and on time. These guys are monitored in terms of efficiency.
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  14. Senior Member wweboy's Avatar
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    #13
    I hear you all and 99% I don't get mad at the guy on the phone. I guess I can't justify "Going off" on the guy but believe me I didn't feel suprior or have a raging hard on because I was talking with a supervisor.

    The guy transfers me with out getting a single lick of info from me. I never asked to be transferred. My problem was I didn't have that 4 digit code and I asked what else can I give you so you can look this up and he then asked if I had the laptop in front of me and I said no and he said "We don't operate that way here"

    Now maybe that isn't offensive or being rude but to me it is I work help desk you have to be able to bend a little a simple "We must have that 4 digit code" would of been nice. I gave him my serial # and said its a T61 laptop.

    He just gave me to his supervisor who had an attitude with me and started talking in a very condescending voice.

    Again my attitude and aggression wasn't warranted and I take full blame I was a total jack ass. But I also feel there was a breakdown in communication.

    I could call back and apologize but why its a big call center asking for the person by name probably wouldn't get me very far. In the end I worked with someone else who was very nice and explained everything what he was doing and I got the 4 digit number from the user (Before calling back the second time) and got my laptop shipped to them (yay overnight) so the issue is resolved thus far.

    Either way I think this stuff is a 2 way street.
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  15. Senior Member Turgon's Avatar
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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by wweboy View Post
    I hear you all and 99% I don't get mad at the guy on the phone. I guess I can't justify "Going off" on the guy but believe me I didn't feel suprior or have a raging hard on because I was talking with a supervisor.

    The guy transfers me with out getting a single lick of info from me. I never asked to be transferred. My problem was I didn't have that 4 digit code and I asked what else can I give you so you can look this up and he then asked if I had the laptop in front of me and I said no and he said "We don't operate that way here"

    Now maybe that isn't offensive or being rude but to me it is I work help desk you have to be able to bend a little a simple "We must have that 4 digit code" would of been nice. I gave him my serial # and said its a T61 laptop.

    He just gave me to his supervisor who had an attitude with me and started talking in a very condescending voice.

    Again my attitude and aggression wasn't warranted and I take full blame I was a total jack ass. But I also feel there was a breakdown in communication.

    I could call back and apologize but why its a big call center asking for the person by name probably wouldn't get me very far. In the end I worked with someone else who was very nice and explained everything what he was doing and I got the 4 digit number from the user (Before calling back the second time) and got my laptop shipped to them (yay overnight) so the issue is resolved thus far.

    Either way I think this stuff is a 2 way street.
    I do appreciate your problem. Unfortunately, big company support is what it is. Just put it down to experience. Next time you will know what information you need to hand. It's understandable to rage against the machine but you have to find ways to work with it sometimes. The issue is local to you and it matters. To 'them' its just another call, and what matters there is getting through a lot of them efficiently. I know that's very different from the marketing fluff that tries to sell you a great personal service that is so much better than the competition, but lies and deceit go hand in glove with closing sales on business support contracts. On an individual case basis they can be good or bad experiences, but generally they are not too 'personal'. Just be ready with the information upfront next time! I used to keep a book with notes of all the sorts of stuff various vendors needed upfront to assist.

    Final tip. These places can be pressurised and files are kept on calls. Try and get some appreciation going for their part when you call. This can go a long way with operators and may stop you getting endlessly transferred or hanging on until you give up, and go away. Be patient on the phone.
    Last edited by Turgon; 01-06-2010 at 08:22 PM.
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  16. Audentis Fortuna Iuvat veritas_libertas's Avatar
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    #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Turgon View Post
    ...It's understandable to rage against the machine but you have to find ways to work with it sometimes.
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  17. Senior Member NetworkingStudent's Avatar
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    #16
    This sounds like A+ certification material to me, and also serves as a great example of how NOT to handle a service call. I believe that both parties are at fault in this situation. However, just because they treated you rudely, doesn’t give you the right to treat swear at them. Personally, I would have been able to express my dissatisfaction with their service department without swearing at them. I think the best way to handle this situation is to kill them with kindness, and keep calling back until you are able to reach someone that can help you with your situation. Turgon, brings up a good point that these calls are monitored, and that they could use this information against you as disciplinary action at your job or during a review.
    I think you should have handled the situation with some assertive behavior to create a win-win situation. Below I posted some tips for that.
    What is assertive behavior?

    Assertive behavior is:
    * Standing up for one's rights no matter what the circumstance.
    * Correcting the situation when one's rights are being violated.
    * Seeking respect and understanding for one's feelings about a particular situation or circumstance.
    * Interacting in a mature manner with those found to be offensive, defensive, aggressive, hostile, blaming, attacking or otherwise unreceptive.
    * Direct, upfront--not defensive or manipulative--behavior. Those using assertive behavior confront problems, disagreement, or personal discomforts head-on, and their intent is unmistakable to others.
    * Verbal "I" statements, where individuals tell others how they feel about a situation, circumstance or the behavior of others.
    * Taking the risk of being misunderstood as being aggressive, abrasive or attacking.
    * Being able to protect one's rights while protecting and respecting the rights of others.
    * Risk-taking behavior that is not ruled by fear of rejection or disapproval, but is directed by the rational belief that "I deserve to stand up for my rights."
    * Rational thinking and the self-affirmation of personal worth, respect and rights.
    * A healthy style in which to conduct interpersonal relationships.
    * Finding a "win-win" solution in handling problems between two individuals.
    The "you win and I lose" solution is a passive solution where one individual gives up his rights to another. The "you lose and I win" solution is an aggressive solution where one individual ignores the rights of another in order to get his way. The "you lose and I lose" solution is a total passive solution where both individuals give up their rights. A healthy resolution is impossible. The "you win and I win" solution is an assertive solution where the rights of both parties are recognized, respected and utilized in reaching a healthy compromise.
    Improving Assertive Behavior | LIVESTRONG.COM
    When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened."

    --Alexander Graham Bell,
    American inventor
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    #17
    Just an FYI, a lot of companies that have call-center environments (be it sales, tech support, or whatever) train their employees to disconnect a call if the customer becomes verbally abusive.
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    #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Hyper-Me View Post
    Just an FYI, a lot of companies that have call-center environments (be it sales, tech support, or whatever) train their employees to disconnect a call if the customer becomes verbally abusive.
    And it's a good policy if the discussion is spiraling out of control IMO. When I worked retail there were just some customers that were so upset or stubborn that not even themselves could really pinpoint what precisely would make them satisfied. I've been called the most foul names and treated like absolute dirt over the phone, if conversations led to that they got a calm and collected "Sir, if you unable to carry on a civil conversation so that we can address the problem I will have no choice but to end this call". Often times they would call back several moments later and either apologize or at least just keep things civil. Fortunately most people only act in such ways over the telephone but I've had my share of people who get just as irate in face to face encounters one which included me calling the police to have the customer removed.

    Perhaps it's my the many years I spent in the retail field where I was at the receiving end of those sorts of calls. People who haven't experienced that end of it really don't fully understand what the people who take calls at places like Dell, Lenovo, etc really go through. It's a much different animal than a typical helpdesk - at least in many helpdesk scenarios your customers are also co-workers in a lot of cases with the exception of places like ISP's or other managed services providers. I'm at the point where I just go with the flow regardless of what they are asking of me. Just today I had to go through the elementary level questions with an HP tech for a failed server asking if I had tried an alternate power supply, memory, CPU, etc. It's part of the script the callers at the other end have to go through, and it's part of my job to get through it. I have to get the server fixed one way or another and it's certainly going to require HP sending out a new system board under warranty so I might as well just do what's needed and not let myself get upset over it.
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  20. Stayed at a Holiday Inn.. the_Grinch's Avatar
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    #19
    That's why I stick to web based support. 90% of the time I know the case of the issue and just need them to ship the part or come out and fix the thing. With the web based support I can do other things while I tell them I am doing what they asked. Case in point, I had a printer (I know nothing about them beyond assigning IP's etc) in a remote location that didn't work. I called the local tech (who repairs laserjets) and had him troubleshoot it. He told me what he did, what was wrong, and then I went online with support. I then repeated what he did (everything they asked he did) and after about 40 minutes they finally decided I could send it in to be fixed.

    I feel for you on the call as I would have lost my cool for sure. I always treat tech support with a lot of respect (seeing as we do the same thing), but if they dish it out I give it back. Dealing with out phone companies support can be a nightmare and one day I just about had it with the run around. Stay strong and now you know to get the 4 digit number (though it makes no sense how the serial isn't enough....).
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  21. Senior Member
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    #20
    Since working in IT, I have a LOT more patience communicating with technical support -- be it on the job or calling Time Warner to fix my cable signal. I sure as heck don't like getting yelled at by users, so whenever I have to deal with technical support, I try to give them break and be as courteous and efficient as possible.

    It's not easy, but try to follow the Golden Rule.
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