Symptom #7 – Leaning Unnecessarily on Tech Support

I want everyone to take a deep breath and repeat after me, “Tech support is a shit job. Tech support employees are not experts in their field, and are rarely if ever pleased by dealing with my problems.”

Tech support is usually an entry-level position for people who would prefer to work in a cubicle with air conditioning to the alternative retail or food service environments. It’s not a very big secret that the actual “support” received has nothing to do with the inherent knowledge of the receiving technician, but in fact has everything to do with a very simple procedure, often scripted on their computer screen. Tech support is almost universally handled through third-party companies who have no direct affiliation with the product in question.

What does this mean to you?

Well, it means that if you put too much credence in their skills, or put too much weight on their responsibility in the company they represent. It turns out that if a Hewlett Packard PC doesn’t work seamlessly, that the world isn’t going to end for the person on the other end of the telephone. They are not your monkeys. Their goal is to proceed through a script without deviation, to do so quickly, to possibly up sell you to another product, and then to read the resolution that also graces their screen.

Let me tell you about another industry secret: Tech support supervisors often have no more authority than the standard employees. They also are often belligerent jerks, and are notorious for turning off the recording on the phone. This means that your yelling at them, and their yelling back at you accomplishes exactly nothing.

What specifically do these dipshits do to tech support? They’ll berate them. They’ll make unrealistic demands. My favorite is, “I’m not paying for this until you fix it.” To which the support person says, “I don’t have any authority to remove the bill. It’ll just go to collections. I’ll help you the best I can.” And is replied with, “I don’t care, I’m still not paying it.”

Another classic case is the threat.  Often, this threat is trans-pacific, as a great deal of tech support is conducted in Asia.  A dipshit will scream profanities and death threats over the phone, all over what is probably his misuse of basic software applications.

How to handle such Dipshits? Well, this is a twofold problem. Either you’re dealing with them as tech support, or not. If you aren’t tech support, you should be able to walk away. Often, belligerent dipshits take pride in yelling at tech support. You’re not going to change their minds. If you can, I applaud you, but it’s probably not worth your time. If you are tech support, it’s a little harder. Your job is more important than a dipshit, under any circumstance. Your best bet is to just pull the receiver away from your ear and let them yell. Then at a convenient time when they take a breath, just hang up. If you’re not recorded, you’re even better off. Just explain to them what they are. If they’re dumb enough to give you an email address, write it down and when you get home, toss them this URL. They need to know.

Here’s another idea: If you’re not recorded, pass off the phone to yourself, and slightly change tone and inflection.  Pretend to be a supervisor.  That way, when you inform said dipshit of their status as such, you can back it up “with authority.”

Next: The Dipshit Guide to Tech Support

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