There are 5 people you meet on the way to solving your problem!

There are five people you meet on the way to tech support. I am borrowing the concept from the great movie (haunting movie in fact), there are five people you meet on the way to heaven. The reason, however, for the post is more the reality of tech support today.

1. Of the people is an automated voice system. Press 1 to go here, press 2 to go there, but no matter what you press you are not getting anywhere.

2. The next person on some lines is the router. First off here in lies the first rub. The router may not be a router. They may be the tech support person. So you have to find out, nicely if they are router or support. That means don’t blurt the whole problem out right away. It is a waste of time if they are a router pushing you to another person.

3. Next is tech support. But people this is tier 1. Or what some helpdesks call paper pushers. Their job is to get you off the phone quickly if they can.

4. So you move to tier 2, most likely they can solve your problem. They probably, however, won’t communicate with you directly rather you will talk to the level 1 person with long pauses, the pauses are the level 2 person answer the questions.

5. Finally, the last person you will talk to is the survey you get when it is all said and done. The survey is your way to commenting on the quality of the experience. Just not that most likely your survey is put into the data bin with all the other survey’s and is averaged out before a human sees it.

There are two more people you will meet on your way to tech support answers. The first thing to do is think about your problem and type it into a search window. Either Google or Bing will provide the steps you need to get past step 2 on this list. You want to get to someone as quickly as possible that can potentially answer your question. Don’t be rude, just be assertive.

With the rise of AI, I suspect the layers will be deeper. It isn’t by the way that companies are seeking to get out of technical support. Nor are they shunting humans to the dark recesses of ever-increasing artificial intelligence loops, rather it is a cost issue. We are consumers demand more and more cost reductions (we want everything cheaper). We aren’t willing to pay for the human and the cost of the human being, but we demand the service. That balancing act makes the reality of customer service that much harder.

Add to that the ever-increasing capabilities of the products shipped and you get the final reality. When things break, you can’t fix them. Well, some people can, but not all of us. I can fix most network issues I face at my house pretty quickly. Many hardware issues I can also tackle. But there are issues that I can’t and won’t even try. 3d printing and printer issues, nope not going to do anything other than reach out to tech support.

I spent two years on a helpdesk, first as the Macintosh specialist and then alter as the senior engineer on the helpdesk (on any given day I could end up with a Novell Call, a PC call, a fiery printer call or a U-Haul dealer from Florida trying to rent a trailer). I am not picking on helpdesks. That is an incredibly tough job. I am more pointing out the reality of the world we live in. We expect more and more from less and less cost. We are shocked by stories of horrible customer service. We are sadly also shocked by stories of great customer service. Personally, I am happy to spend a little more at a restaurant if the server does a good job. 20 to 25 % is the tip I leave for great service. 15% for ok service and 10% for average or worse. I have on occasion left 5%, but that has to be for horrible service.

The problem is for telephone service desks; they don’t get a tip. So the only way you can impact the quality is to follow some simple rules.

1. When you call be clear

2. Don’t yell at people answering your call they are trying to help you.

3. Have all the information at your fingertips.

Remember, some of the voices on the line are people. Because they are people they respond to the same things you do!


Former helpdesk professional…