Tuesday, April 9, 2013

H is for Help Desks: and why they aren't really much help...

April A-Z Topic:  Helpdesks

The other day I tried to find out about a problem entry on my telephone bill. I know, it was a mad, impetuous thing to do. I really don't know what came over me. 

Well, silly or not, I called the telephone company. I wasn't quite sure whether my query came under the heading of accounts, services or administration, so I decided to wait and talk to an operator. My first mistake.

I got a lovely guy who had no idea what I was talking about, only had a basic grasp on the English language, and I think may not have even realised he was working for a telephone company. But his lack of knowledge was more than made up for by his cheerfulness. He kindly put me through to someone else.

The next person wasn't anywhere near as chipper. I told him my problem, and was immediately growled at because he wasn't "in charge of that sort of thing". Rather than offer to put me through to someone else, he decided it'd be more beneficial to both of us if he sat there and grumbled for ten minutes. Finally I convinced him to pass me on to someone else.

The next one was, I can say in complete honesty, the most stupid woman alive. I told her my problem, she made a lot of umming and ahhing noises that seemed reassuring at the time, but which I worked out within ten minutes were in fact her trying to figure out how to turn on the computer.

Finally she told me the computer system was not available and I'd have to call back later. As I hung up the phone and sobbed into my hands.

I swear I'm this close to going Amish.  They don't use telephones, right?

65 comments:

  1. ...with the added bonus that you might one day get to star in a Weird Al video (if he ever makes a sequel to Amish Paradise). Sounds like standard help desk rubbish. Poor you.

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    1. Ooh, being in a Weird Al video would be fun, but still not worth it for putting up with the helpdesk people.

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  2. My favorite part is, after all that they ask if there's anything else they can help you with.

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    1. Haha! So true!

      Fun post. ☺

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    2. Yep. When they do that I kind of want to say "If this experience is anything to go by, no you can't".

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    3. Not forgetting their request to stay on the line a mine longer and complete their customer satisfaction survey.....after I have already been talking to every Tom, Dick ad Harry for an hour already! I don't think so!

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  3. Whenever something goes wrong with my computer at work, rather than call the IT dept conveniently located in another country, I just ignore the problem until it goes away... Or restart my computer... Neither of these a rurally work, but I'd rather partake in that waste of time than calling for help.

    Hugs!

    Valerie Nunez and the Flying Platypi

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    1. I'm a big believer in ignoring problems until they go away, or the ostrich method as I like to call it.

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    2. I'm a huge fan of the Ostrich Method! I have a technical How To page (very old, very popular) called, Have a Cup of Tea. It's from the same institute of technology as the Ostrich Method.

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    3. Our IT dept are the ones who suggest we turn everything off for a few minutes before logging in and trying again!

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  4. I recently heard that if you demand to speak to someone in the US, they are required to transfer you!! I don't know if they have that in Australia, though.

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  5. Ha-Ha. I used to work for the phone company (in U.S). When a customer called for help in town, they got someone in town. Now you get...who knows?...when someone answers. Everyone is cutting back and trying to save money it seems.

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    1. Yeah, I can understand why companies do it, it's just much cheaper to have help desks in other countries. But it's still incredibly frustrating.

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  6. Calling a help desk is like inserting a coat hanger up into my nose, jiggling it around until I've given myself a full lobotomy. Not particularly pleasant.

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    1. Actually, that is an incredibly accurate comparison.

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  7. I work in IT, and sadly the first front in Help desks are some poor souls that get paid peanuts and have a script they have to rattle down. But after that it should have gotten better, I love calling help desks cos I am one of them - I am down with their lingo.

    "I want to talk to your coach or team leader now!" - that's it...done.

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  8. I was surprised to find out that the Amish do use telephones, they just don't have one in their home. In order to maintain their businesses, they keep a phone off-site somewhere, and periodically check the messages, or have someone check them. Having managed a call center for a bank for all of a month, I can understand your frustration. It was frustrating being a manager and trying to convince entry-level, non-skilled workers to give a crap about any of the callers. It sucks on both ends, I'm afraid to say.

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    1. The Amish have telephone? Well, that's just cheating!

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  9. Customer service of all kinds is very exhausting. The hardest for me is when they answer with an accent. I have such a hard time understanding accents of any kind no matter what country they are from. I always feel badly when I have to ask them to repeat themselves over and over because I cannot comprehend what they are talking about.

    Came by from Tales of the Reborn Crafter
    http://talesofthereborncrafter.blogspot.com/

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    1. It is hard, because you get frustrated, and you can hear them get frustrated, and then you have all the guilt because you've made them feel bad about their accent. Damn conscience!

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  10. I'm totally gobsmacked that you actually got through to talk to someone! I'm completely jealous! :)

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    1. LOL! Sometimes I think I'd prefer a machine to a person.

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  11. I tried once to order cheques by phone from my bank. I think I had the same people on the line as you!

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    1. LOL! They're definitely the two worst places for that sort of thing, banks and telephone companies.

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  12. Whenever I do get good customer service, I fall all over myself being grateful because I'm so surprised. Isn't that sad? That "bad" service tends to be the norm and "good" service takes us unaware?

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    1. I must admit, when I get good service I feel like I should compliment them to their manager or something. Kudos, just for actually doing their job.

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  13. Problem number one is that most of them do not speak English as their first language, problem number two is lack of training and problem three is that they just don't give a shit.

    You should have just called me. LOL

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    1. I have to assume that it's the training their given that's faulty. I've dealt with help desks before from overseas where the people were great and totally solved my problem. I guess if you're not willing to pump the money into the training, you're going to get crappy service out of your employees.

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  14. Hi Kellie .. sadly I agree, and English often isn't their first language, and they don't want to learn, so they can help themselves to help us .. and so it goes on - if I can work a round I do ... or just simply not worry about the problem ...

    Talking to people who can't help us - does no-one any good - least of all me!!

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. I have to assume the training they're given is bad, either that or they're poorly managed.

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  15. Oddly enough in my country (South Africa) I have found help desks amazingly good. Although there is an awfully long wait. Some of them though, do give one to the option to request a call back if the queue is long. A direct contrast to supermarket cashiers who on the whole look zonked out most of the time. Still, I suppose it is a soul-destroying job passing endless groceries over the scanner.

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    1. Whenever I see one of those zombified cashiers I always take it as a challenge to see if I can get them to smile. I just can't help myself :D

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  16. Oh yes! One of my big annoyances. Customer service has become customer taunting and sometimes torture. And when you're in need of service your hands are tied. At least when it's a telemarketing call from some outsourcing boiler room I can tease the caller.

    Lee
    A Faraway View
    An A to Z Co-host blog

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    1. I think it's worst with huge companies because they have so many customers and one lone person isn't really that important to them.

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  17. Don't you know by now Kellie, that help desks (ha!) is run by an army of minions, who serve only the dark Lord. Their mission is to destroy souls and it looks like that particular one succeeded. :)

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  18. I once spent 4 hours on the phone with my cell phone carrier's customer service. I wept too. Maddening!

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    1. The thing I find really cheeky is when their help desk number is actually a pay number!

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  19. this is one of those "hits so close to home i can't even write a nice comment because I'm mad FOR you" sort of posts.

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    1. LOL! I was pretty savage at first, but now I'm over it. Although I did end up dropping the issue because it was just too much trouble to keep questioning, so maybe they won after all.

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  20. Oh my word! There are few things that get me as riled as calling a help desk. >_<

    Best of luck to you.

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    1. They are incredibly frustrating, although it still doesn't beat the internet provider who actually told me to turn my modem upside down when it wouldn't work. Even worse, I was so desperate that I actually did it.

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  21. This is the bain of my existance as of late. I finally have both my phone and Internet working simultaneously, after spending untold hours with the no-help-at-all desks. I have figured out with my carrier that it is better to press a button even if it is the wrong button. They don't like you hanging out for a person to talk to.

    Let me know when you decide to go Amish. I will share a farmhouse with you.

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    1. LOL! Maybe we should make it a no technology commune instead? I always wanted my own cult, this could work perfectly.

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  22. Gah! I hate calling the phone company for anything. It's almost impossible...as you've pointed out so well. Going Amish...while I have had the thought occur to me a time or two, I would miss hot running water way too much. :)

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    1. True, and I don't think I'd be able to survive without internet so maybe it isn't the best option.

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  23. I always think the customer service places where I cannot get to talk to a human are the worst...until I reach a human!

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    1. It's always the way, you want a person on the phone right up until you get one and realise they're worse than the recorded messages.

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  24. Help desks by phone????? They should change their name from HELP lines/desks. 'Generally' speaking they're a joke Bwahahahahaha.
    You've inspired me to do a blog-post about an on-line experience I had recently - it's a ripper! Almost unbelievable actually......

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  25. Our IT department had a policy that you had to email the help desk so that they could log any help requests. Not easy when you need help because your email isn't working. ;-)

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  26. It would depend on which group you belonged to. Some use phones, some have them inside the house- others outside on a pole... Like every other group out there, you have those who follow strict rules and others who let a lot of things slide. I don't blame you though- It does sound like a simpler way of life at times.

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    1. I forgot to mention I was talking about the Amish or Mennonites. Similar groups but also different.

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    2. Well, that's just deceptive in my opinion! They're supposed to be technology free!

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  27. Ahh Kellie .. the follie of your attempt to get service (shakes head)

    I hear you about being Amish (that's a fine barn) - I say this all the time - and I OWN a IT company. Says a lot ;-)

    As my other half always says - these little frustrations are great blog fodder.

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    1. LOL! I'll have to learn how to raise a barn I suppose .. or maybe how to sew a quilt. Barn raising is done by the menfolk, I believe.

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  28. I love how the phone company has you on hold for an hour because their lines are always "unexpectedly" overwhelmed...it seems so ironic.

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  29. It's not just on the phone. I did an online chat with Amazon, because there was a problem with an instant video I had purchased. Even though I couldn't hear his accent, I absolutely knew that guy was not a native English speaker. He, also, had no clue what he was doing. It was super, duper helpful, and not frustrating at all. Sigh. And really? I just wanted to watch my movie!

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  30. Perhaps we would turn it into a drinking game....matching bad phone stories....Telstra and I have a special relationship.

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  31. I thank God I've never had problems that bad, although there was the time lack of communication between me and three different people led me to calling my local radio station's talk back line!

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  32. It's a little rude, but sometimes when I get someone who just has no clue whatsoever, I finish the call and then I call back again and hope for better luck (because it's all about luck, isn't it?).

    You can also ask to speak to a supervisor. At least then you might get someone who realizes they work for the phone company and that you have a phone-related question.

    Bradley Charbonneau's Pass the Sour Cream A-Z Challenge.

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