I'm running a bit late getting these blogs posted today since my DSL service was on the fritz last night. I bring this up in this context for a couple of reasons. First, I need a good rant since this was probably the worst tech support experiences of my life.
Second, it serves as a couple of important reminders for those of us who provide tech support. Many of our users don't have a clue. We, unlike the massively unhelpful folks who had the misfortune of being on duty last night, have the opportunity to educate our users so that we can, at least, give them reasonable instructions and expect reasonable responses to our troubleshooting questions.
A significant chunk of our users, on the other hand, are fairly savvy. These users should be treated as such and should be partners in keeping their systems running smoothly. I make this point because, even though I made it very clear to my little helper at Verizon that I understood enough about computers to move directly from basic troubleshooting to advanced network diagnostics on their end, I still got a standard script.
"Have you rebooted your computer?" Uh, yeah. Every time he wanted me to try a command on the command line, he referred to it as the "black box." "Can you type P-I-N-G 192.168.1.1?" "Yes, my internal networking is fine; there is no DNS resolution or external access." "Did you spell P-I-N-G correctly?" Uh, yeah. "Can you type P-I-N-G www.yahoo.com?" "Yes, still nothing." "Can you tell me what it says?" "IT SAYS NOTHING BECAUSE IT CAN'T RESOLVE THE FREAKING DOMAIN NAME AND I HAVE NO ACCESS TO THE INTERNET!!!" "Did you spell Y-A-H-O-" "YESISPELLEDFREAKINGYAHOOCORRECTLY!!!!"
Suffice to say it was a long conversation. When he asked me to start fiddling with my settings in Internet Explorer, I knew it was all over and I asked to have the call elevated to a senior tech support staff member. Apparently they were all in a meeting. "Please let me try one more time." Are you kidding me? It's midnight and you want to try one more time with a different manually-entered DNS server? And another reboot? I don't think so. Need a good laugh? His last line after I extracted the name of his supervisor from him was "Is there anything else I can help you with tonight?" Well, you could have told me why I don't have Internet access, but other than that, I'm all set.
This particular experience also made me appreciate our ISP a bit more. Our connectivity has improved, as has our speed, although I don't think we're quite at that 99.9% uptime goal. However, I've often thought of them as merely OK. Guess what? Since I can email an engineer directly who has a clue and can fix my problem (or at least tell me that the problem is on my end and I need to fix it myself), they're more than OK. To quote Tony the Tiger, they're GRRRREAT!
So now I still have no Internet service at home and all I have is the name of a supervisor who just might be able to help me out tomorrow. I'm not holding my breath. I am going to me one heck of a tech support guy to my users today, though.