Networking

The top 10 peeves of a support tech

IT pro Becky Roberts discovered that in the support field, certain workplace aggravations seem to persist regardless of the industry or environment. See if your annoyances match hers.

IT pro Becky Roberts discovered that in the support field, certain workplace aggravations seem to persist regardless of the industry or environment. See if your biggest annoyances match hers.


We all work in different environments, in different industries, with different departmental structures, different installed bases, and different users. But as support techs, we share the common goal of helping people and computers live in harmony. Over the years, I've worked in a variety of industries, from commercial aircraft manufacturing to management consulting, from a chemical plant to a ceramics factory. And although the hardware, software, and people have changed, the irritants have had an alarming tendency to remain the same. So here, in no particular order, are my top 10 persistent peeves.

Note: This article originally published in 2005. It's also available as a PDF download.

1: Users who insist on giving you their diagnosis of a problem rather than a neutral description of the symptoms

A classic example of this is the VP who constantly tells me that the T1 is down whenever he can't browse the Web or log into SAP. Instead of describing the symptoms, the VP tells me, "The T1 is down; fix it." This type of behavior is doubly annoying. Not only does it complicate the troubleshooting process, but it is also often difficult to disabuse the user of his misconception, leaving him, in this instance, with a false impression of an unreliable T1.

2: Users who hover around asking questions while you're troubleshooting -- and worse, making suggestions

As much as I like to share my knowledge and educate users, I don't want to do so while I'm struggling to figure out exactly why Ethel can't print. This is particularly irritating when dealing with an apparently insoluble problem, as the user's probing questions, which I can't answer, are a reminder of my incompetence.

3: Users who deny having done anything that may have caused the problem

This is the "What? World of Warcraft is installed on my computer? I have absolutely no idea how that could've happened" phenomenon. In one instance, a summer intern from the local university MBA program called the help desk to complain that he couldn't access the network. A quick survey of his computer revealed that it no longer contained any files beginning with the letter n. The intern vehemently denied having deleted any files whatsoever but eventually confessed that he didn't have anything to do so he thought he'd delete all the files he didn't recognize. Why he started with the letter n remains a mystery.

4: Being treated like a user by tech support from another company

I dread problems that result in a call to the manufacturer's tech support department. I will experiment, read manuals, Google the error message, and sacrifice chickens on the keyboard before I will call a tech support number for a problem I can't resolve. My pride simply can't handle answering the most basic questions: Have you checked that the printer is in fact plugged in and turned on? ARRRGGGH. Get me out of here. Please, please, please, put me straight through to your highest support level because I can guarantee that I have tried everything you are going to suggest at least three times. Oh wait, never mind, the power strip was turned off....

5: Purchasing departments that change purchase requests

I understand and appreciate that part of the role of the purchasing department is to find the best possible price, but I do not appreciate it when they substitute what they consider to be an equivalent item because it is cheaper. One particularly irritating instance of this was an order I submitted for Kingston RAM for a Lexmark printer. When the RAM arrived, I failed to notice that it was Golden RAM instead of Kingston. It simply didn't work. A quick check of the Lexmark documentation confirmed that Golden RAM was not acceptable, but as the RAM was now "used" it could not be returned. The purchasing clerk had made the substitution on the advice of our VAR, as there was a special on the Golden RAM that made it a third of the cost of the Kingston RAM. This proved to be a very expensive attempt at cost savings.

6: Internal junk mail

We go to great lengths to minimize the junk mail being sent into the organization, but there seems to be little we can do to eliminate the jokes, photos, and movies being shared internally. Policies preventing or in some way restricting personal mail are of limited use unless mail is manually screened or spot checks are made. Merely using the corporate e-mail system for sending the occasional personal message is not a big deal, but when people start liberally using "Everyone" or create folders for "Recipes," "Baseball," and "Boy Scouts," I tend to get a little annoyed.

7: Users who think part of my job is to spend my lunch break telling them how to fix their home computers

During one particular job interview, my prospective new boss announced that he would hire only people who "eat, breath, sleep, and think computers 24/7." I stood up, shook his hand, and told him I was wasting his time and wished him luck. Not that there's anything wrong with being computer-obsessed; it just so happens that I'm not. If I were, I would probably welcome having my peanut butter sandwich interrupted by, "Uh, every time I try to access the Internet, this message pops up and then the mouse freezes. What's the deal?" I'm more than happy to help people out. I just resent being asked at work where I'm a captive audience.

8: Users who complain about not being able to use a new application, when they "didn't have time" to attend training or read the documentation you painstakingly prepared

I find this situation especially irritating because in most cases, the user really didn't have time to attend training or read the documentation -- so it wouldn't be fair of me to vent my frustration on the user. This is a symptom of the far bigger problem of expecting too much of too few employees. Instead of being irritated at these people, I find that they have my deepest sympathy, as they are usually the most overworked and pressured people in the organization.

9: Being summoned to a user's office to resolve an urgent computer problem, only to be kept waiting

This is extra annoying when the person in question is on a personal phone call with her husband to discuss plans for the weekend. I never know how long to wait. Leaving instantly would seem churlish, but once I have waited beyond a certain length of time, leaving and having to return a few minutes later simply increases the total time wasted. Fortunately, in all but the most intractable cases, treating the user as a used car salesperson by starting to walk away usually elicits a cooperative response.

10: The positioning of the IT department in the organization

During the course of my career, I have reported to an office manager who reported to a regional office VP; to an IT manager who reported to the CFO; to an IT manager who reported to another IT manager who reported to the CFO; to an IT manager who reported to a committee; and to a department head who wasn't sure who he reported to. Whereas most departments know where they are positioned within a company, no one seems to quite know what to do with IT. All too often, the IT department is made into a subdivision of some other department, which then has unfair control over the IT resources. In other instances, each department or division has its own IT function, which may or may not have a well-defined relationship with corporate IT.


Peeve-a-thon!

Okay, you know what bugs Becky -- now it's your turn. Do you face similar aggravations -- or are you plagued by other issues? Feel free to jump in with your opinions and your own pet peeves.

68 comments
bobball1
bobball1

Every social function we had (and our firm had a lot, it was nice) people would come over and sit down next to me and start in on their technical question. I didn't mind it that much if the function was at work but once it started happening at the Christmas party I started looking for a new job.

Steve Pitcher
Steve Pitcher

I don't like it when people use the word robust to describe everything and anything. I now challenge for a definition and explanation about the robustness of whatever is being talked about. :)

DWPNS
DWPNS

Most annoying to me: A central, mission-critical CMS system gets flaky and it's all hands on deck in the I.T. Department. Everyone is working quickly and feverishly to get the system back up ASAP midst the phone calls of, "When's it gonna be back up?". This is normal but the maddening call is the one from the "Insert customer-facing" Director with, "Do you know the CMS is down?" Me: "Yes sir. We're experiencing a problem and working at getting it back up as quickly as possible. It's our only priority right now." Director: "Oh. Well, we're flyin' blind up here. Everything is down and we've got "insert exorbitant number" of customers just starin' at us so we've gotta have this up ASAP." Really? I want to say, "Oh, well.. that changes everything, Sir. Allow me to ask the department to put down their coffee, take their feet off the desk and talk politely to this System and explain your situation so it gets back up quicker than "as fast as possible", because we were just lookin' at it wondering if we should fix it or not but THANK GOD you called." Another favorite: user: My computer is not working. Of course this is almost never the case so I can't help but to indulge in, "Okay. I'm sorry for your inconvenience. Let's make sure we've got power. Can you tell me if the lights on the PC Tower are green or none at all?" User: Oh, no, it's on. It's just my email. It won't open up." Oh-yoy. I can have fun at this for hours. Great article.

dhamilt01
dhamilt01

"Ya can't fix stupid!" Can you imagine the result if airline pilots learned to fly their aircraft the same way PC users have had to learn PCs ... on their own time and expense! All company employees who are required to use a PC as one of the tools of their job must be qualified to take training that is as in-depth and extensive as airline pilots take before they ever touch a company PC. A PC is NOT a childs toy to be played with. If ya don't know what yar doin' and why ... DON'T TOUCH THE DAMN THING!

pworlton
pworlton

I have a user who complains daily that her scanner isn't working like it is supposed to. The user in the next cube has the same scanner and I have switched theirs several times, but that user NEVER complains. I have a bottle of alcohol to clean rollers, and the complainer borrows it daily to clean her rollers. Bottom line: every time something doesn't work like she expects it to she is at my desk asking for help, regardless of whether something is actually broken.

matt.eberhardt
matt.eberhardt

10 is the best of all of them IT doesn't fit into the traditional business structure so managers are confused where to put it...so it gets stuck with sales, or purchasing or production and gets ingored in the grander scheme of running the business. IT is what facilitiates most business processes these days. Where I work, someone doesn't have a PC, multimedia HW, 1GB net bwdth, etc - they can't get anything done.

dmz17
dmz17

Whose bible has only two lines: 1. try rebooting 2. we'll put a new image on your machine

gjetson
gjetson

4: Being treated like a user by tech support from another company. I solve this problem by Lying. Me: Your software isn't working Tech: Restart the computer Me: Okay give me a second I read my emails or browse the internet. Me: Okay I rebooted.

techrepublic
techrepublic

my favourite is the helpdesk tech that takes a call and rather than try any sort of troubleshooting - simply comes over and asks me about it - 3 times so far today, from 2 different people - is it any wonder i'm grumpy?

Derek Schauland
Derek Schauland

I will agree that calling support at another organization only to answer questions as though you have no idea how to operate a PC is quite obnoxious. I wonder if this is done to prolong the call or add calls and raise the billable time spent. Cut to the chase already... help fix the issue I am calling about, do not ask if I have rebooted. If its a client machine, I have, if a server, I will as soon as everyone goes home.

KSoniat
KSoniat

My mangers boss used to burst into the department declaring we were in a state of "disaster" frequently. He'd rant and rave and leave to bother someone else. One upgrade ("disaster") he got into my face and asked when a very minor bug would be fixed. I told him point blank that as soon as I wasn't talking to him I'd be fixing the problem. It literally took less than 5 minutes (just a recompile). I had already worked with him for over three years and knew he was all bluster.

Cathe
Cathe

My pet peeve is a CEO's with buzz word fever. You know the type: the one who wants to implement new corporate IT policy based on what she overheard at the local bar.

MyopicOne
MyopicOne

My favorite was the user who needed more disk space and poked around Windows\System32, finally deciding she didn't really need kernel32.dll and several other rather important dlls. And wondered why her machine crashed and wouldn't restart. And then, being abolutely sure of her technical prowess, did the same thing to somebody else's computer. This during a week when over half the department was scattered around the country rolling out new sales force laptops.

sidekick
sidekick

If only I could replace the receptionist with a spam filter. If the word computer or engineer (no, sorry, this is the IT department, we don't hire mechanical engineers) or phone or anything that runs on electricity is mentioned, it gets put through to Mr. IT. While most of my vendors are pretty good, checking in once in a while to see if I need anything (and reminding me they exist), I was just interrupted (during lunch) by this one really annoying vendor. <RANT>He quoted me a renewal on something the company originally bought from him before I started, and calls everyday about it. And he has had to requote it twice now because he keeps screwing it up. Oh, and while he had me on the phone, he just had to tell me about a special on HP computers they were having (I started tuning him out when he said HP), and suggested I could get one for home when I told him we weren't looking to replace any systems right now. Oh, and this was for preferred customers. I haven't ordered anything from him in the year I have been here. Preferred my butt. We're all preferred. What does he think, I'm an idiot.</RANT> So, can anyone recommend an anti-spam program that runs on a receptionist-based OS?

Jude1708
Jude1708

I work in a small organisation without a canteen or staff room. My desk isn't in a cubicle, or behind a wall so it's obvious at lunch time if I'm eating my lunch. Yet users still think it is perfectly acceptable to bring their problems (work or home IT issues!) to my desk and interrupt even when I'm trying to eat hot food, not just a sandwich that could be put to one side. What's worse, is when a polite "I'll come and see you after I have finished eating" doesn't work and the user still insists on "just telling you this, please don't stop eating"....

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

Training the outsourced replacement for you. I have a few friends at different firms that are now in the position to train the outsourced staff that will be replacing them by the end of the year. Fun times for sure!! :_|

CavalierX
CavalierX

Best service call I ever recieved, back in the days when I worked a helpdesk, was from a user whose monitor was dead. "I think I know the problem," she said, "the light bulb behind the screen is out." She was deadly serious. Clamping down on the laughter, I entered "The user feels 'the light bulb behind the screen' is out" into the ticket and sent it to Hardware. Next morning, I found on my desk a white Christmas light bulb bearing a Sharpie-drawn GE logo. It was my favorite desk decoration for years.

smudge
smudge

So true.....I'm off to get a job trucking. I've had enough. Remember, "No plan survives contact with the enemy". And you don't need me to tell you who the enemy is!

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I can't tell you how many times I've had to fight my way past Level 1 to get to somebody able (or allowed) to function without a script. In some cases, I'm the on-site warranty tech and Level 1 is [u]still[/u] required to run the checklist before they can pass me to Level 2. WTF? What moron set THAT up? [b]Inaccurate, outdated, or poorly written technical data.[/b] There's nothing worse than going to the docs for a piece of equipment only to find that the model you are working on is five years newer than the docs you were given and the only thing that's the same is the model number on the case and the location of the power button. Unless it's the server recovery documentation that includes a screen shot for every step, even "Click OK." You don't even let junior techs in the server room; why did you write the recovery docs for HR? [b]Provisioning.[/b] Last year you spent days on the phone and exchanged dozens of emails with me so we could determine the minimum parts load for my territory. Then you not only didn't fill that load, you won't even replenish what I use, so I have fewer parts now than I did then! Part of my performance evaluation is based on my parts management...how can I manage what I don't have? I love my work. The job, I'm not so sure about...

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

something to cause the problem. In a round about way. I have two clients who refuse to follow instructions. I regularly get called to clean up machines that wouldn't need cleaning up if they had. I've dropped one of those clients. The second may get dropped soon. Pretty damn tired of it. Money's only worth so much...

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

poor documentation -- and this does not only refer to technical items. If I gotta sort through for 2 hours to figure out the process for something that should take minutes, I get PO'd Interruptions -- this is especially true if I am working deeply on something, and being interrupted for something non-urgent. Especially if I tell someone that I am too busy for a non-emergency, and they insist to continue. Also, interrupting an interruption -- WTF people, if I am already helping someone, dont interrupt when we are conversing, to ask something. Hall Stops -- If I am walking (especially if carrying something) down the hall, I hate being stopped every 2-3 rows with someone wanting help 'now'. Call it in, send an email, or IM me.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

Some companies provide training, other rely on the office worker in the cubicle beside the new person. Sadly, much of this is promoted by the "it just works" marketing pumped out of the various software vendors. Average users are brainwashed into expecting the computer to work like a toaster without considering that the computer has 100 more buttons than the a toaster which may have 4 if it's fancy. Pilots must pay there own way through school then build up the hours to qualify for each professional level of work towards airline flights. At least they get support from the airline after that point. IT is expected to continually learn, but after hours at one's own expense. User's expect the computer to read there mind without having to do any learning at all even when provided by the company. It's also hard to explain that it's not a child's toy when supporting an office of XP workstations with that bloody Crayola theme and resources wasted on the theme service.

Owen Glendower
Owen Glendower

...one of these "kiss of death" people, aka "Midas touch in reverse." A few years ago, my wife worked in an office which prepared payrolls for several of their accounting clients. Continuous-form payroll checks were produced on a dot-matrix printer. One lady, perhaps feeling that she had to be doing something to justify her existence while the checks were being printed, would fiddle unnecessarily with the output from the printer, and of course somehow manage to get everything printing one line off. Interesting thing is, she would do this in the presence of another person and then say, "Well, I certainly didn't do anything!"

unhappyuser
unhappyuser

Almost half of all problems are solved with a reboot. It's a Microsoft feature! EMD

Wcoyote1
Wcoyote1

Is when after you've literally gone back to the basics of some application (uninstalling, cleaning, deleting, and reinstalling), all according to the company's installation procedure. Only to have somebody tell you that you must have changed a configuration setting during the installation. I've actually referenced their manual number, page and paragraph, step-by-step over the phone while looking at configuration settings.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

this is done for accuracy. Many people call and say "I am a tech", who didnt troubleshot properly. This sends tickets to second or higher tier support staff, only to find out it could have been solved at the first level. Since they cannot verify ones competence, or that they arent having an 'off' day, they start from the start to reduce sending to higher levels of support for 1st level fixes

cupcake
cupcake

I am amazed that you have such contempt for someone to treat you exactly like you treat the people you are supporting! Yes, there are people who don't have a clue, but believe or not, there are some who do. Maybe you should stop and think how inappropriate you act the next time someone calls in with an issue and describes an issue that they've seen multiple times and not just assume that they are are idiots.

unhappyuser
unhappyuser

I don't give them a chance to ask questions. I dump a ton of information on them and overwhelm them (e.g. I've rebooted, reseated cables and memory, tested the power supply outputs, etc.). 75% of the time they send me up the line to someone that actually knows something. EMD

jruby
jruby

I worked for a company that functioned on the buzzword of the month. We found out that the best way to deal with the situation was to enthusiastically say "Great idea! We'll get right on it after we finish implementing the [buzzword from a year ago]". Fortunately, these people had short attention spans and we could usually wait a couple of weeks for them to forget the conversation. Sometimes patience and endurance are the best tools... Jim /* If you think the problem is bad now, wait until I fix it! */

jerry~Beans
jerry~Beans

seriously, there is a college (a fairly good one) just down the street from us. get someone to pass the word that you want someone who was too bored to graduate. they usually only last for about a year, but the extra stuff they do, almost in spite of themselves, makes up for the time spent orienting them to our business (putting them through a 'training program' just screens out the best ones, but everyone needs to know where the coffeemaker is!)

rhodamyster
rhodamyster

Exactly. Users who deny or don't tell the whole truth. They need had holding with everything they do. I have dropped customers like that. I had one lady 30 miles away. I'd go to her home for hours to train her. When I would return home she was calling before I got in the door. Didn't grasp anything I had just taught her. I FIRED her as a customer after putting up with chaos for 2 years. She paid me well, but my sanity & time was far more important.

jemorris
jemorris

When I had my own consulting business I had a few of those that found me from the last reseller I had worked for went out of business. I would politely put them off by telling them it would be 2 to 3 weeks before I could get to them by citing how many big "high-priority" projects I was cureently working on. One insisted on my help so I increased my fees to them by 25%, they were also notoriously slow at paying. Had one large client at the aforementioned reseller that had a sales manager that was really bad about causing his own problems. He once tried to blame me for infecting his computer with a virus. I was able to prove that he installed the virus himself with some pirated software one of his guys brought back from Russia. This guy was a real work of art...

rlubke
rlubke

Being the last one called after every man and dog has been through a machine "Trying" to fix the problem just to find out they were unable. "Did anybody notice that the router had red lights on it?? "

cbprather
cbprather

www.netcordia.com This tool can be a huge help!

SmilingSheep
SmilingSheep

is always my favorite. My printer's been acting funny for the past three weeks, but I didn't put in a request for service. I'll just wait until you're walking past my cube to/from someone else who did submit a request.

armandoc
armandoc

I think MS should add as the first page on their manuals: "before attempting anything else, reboot" -- I reboot, then I troubleshoot

richy.mitchell
richy.mitchell

Yes, at my office they call me 'Richy Reboot' and are still amazed that a reboot usually fixes their problem.

DWPNS
DWPNS

An experienced Tech can sniff out another one like a beagle on a rabbit. An experienced tech can ask the right questions or occasional drop "techno-speak" to see if said caller is full of BS or for real. Often when I'm forced to call tech support I begin with, "I know you have to ask all the basic questions but let me save you valuable time and validate my knowledge with...... and please, feel free to stop me if anything is incorrect." I feel it's a shortcoming on tech calling support that is unable to validate his knowledge as much as the support tech's shortcoming that is unable to recognize that he/she is too low on the support level to accommodate said caller.

cupcake
cupcake

I have encountered this issue many times. I don't do much tech sup any more but did it for some very large and recognizable companies in the past. What I have found that dismissing my user base as uninformed and that their observations are invalid to begin with, has caused some problems that could have been avoided. And it dawned on me that perhaps that is what many of the 3rd party companies do when the tech sup calls for support. Assumptions are a bad thing all the way around.

unhappyuser
unhappyuser

You completely misread the post. This was about calling tech support and being asked questions by an entry-level tech, whom refuses to send you to a higher level of tech support. Time is wasted answering questions for (potential) solutions that you've already tried or know will not solve your problem I have been doing helpdesk type support for over 20 years and am constantly complimented by staff for my patience, my support knowledge and for treating them with the utmost respect. I expect the same when calling tech support on the other end. I rarely get it from them. Perhaps you should re-read the original article and then my post to see your mistake. We all know what happens when we assume. EMD

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

[i]/* If you think the problem is bad now, wait until I fix it! */ [/i] It should be added to all politicians' business cards :)

rhodamyster
rhodamyster

The cons of being self-employed..... Fixed a pc.... The bill was 160.00 - when she picked it up she didn't have the money & paid me in jewelry. She made jewelry-not bad stuff, but if she paid attention she would have seen that I wasn't wearing any.

rhodamyster
rhodamyster

Go to someones home to look at their computer & they say; "While you are here, my mom dropped off here computer, can you fix this one too?"

rhodamyster
rhodamyster

Just because I repair computers, people think I know everything. There is no way we can know how to use every software program out the market. No way I know what their password is for ebay, yahoo, email etc.... I even received an email from my boss wondering when her home antivirus expires. I never installed it & don't even know what she uses at home. I am sick of people standing behind me telling me what to do when fixing their computers. I would like to have shirt made, on the back it would say; "If you know so much, why am I here?"

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

but the interruptions are worse. Like when at someones desk working on their system, and all of a sudden there is a line of people from the immediate area, asking question upon question upon question. "oh and on my home system...." or "Sorry, I dont want to bug you, but, my child......" Often I tell people "send me an email or I'll forget, I have a lot to do" never get an email, but 2 days later I am getting replies in email from a manager "Why havent you...."

Jimmy S
Jimmy S

We had an office about 120 miles away. We would schedule a day's work to make the travel worthwhile. When we got there the office manager would usually start with "I know why you are here, but first look at this" and then waste most of the day.

unhappyuser
unhappyuser

That's pretty much what I thought I was saying. I've been on both sides of TS, fortunately not a scipt monkey, but can't waste time dealing with first level support. There are two of us doing the work of three people. My way around it is to answer the "script" questions before the tech even gets to ask them. Everyone that I've ever dealt with immediately sees the issue needs to go to a higher level and forwards me on. Thanks again. EMD

jemorris
jemorris

I see the point you are making but EMD wasn't talking generalities. The majority of us here are techies, have been for a long time. I think the gist of gripe here is how to get past first level tech support when dealing with companies that use script monkeys for first level support. I've known some of those people and heard some of the horror stories of how their companies operated and a lot of the customer's calls the've had to take. I feel for those folks, hate having to deal with 'em , but still feel for them. Some companies base the tech's pay by how many calls they can take and resolve without sending to a 2nd level tech, some companies even penalized the 1rst level tech for sending a call up the line, don't know of any that still do. I once sub-contracted repair for national equipment co., went to their training and couldn't get a direct number to an upper level support group until I pointed out to a regional manager that they paid me by the hour as part of the contract and the longer it took me to get past their script monkeys the more they were paying me. There was no shortage of work to be had at that time I often put in 12 hour days out in the field and had to deal with irate customers for delays in getting to their office. I've also had contemptuous first level techs that talked down to me - even though they were following their precious little flow chart of basic repair techniques as if I were too stupid to know where the power switch was... I would never do that to a customer/end user. I feel we're each blessed with different talents, so I'm technically inclined, I can't sing, I hate and not real good with accounting type work, I'm strong and somewhat muscular but am definately not athletic (got 2 left feet). I also beleive in the basic principle of Karma or "what goes around comes around!" Just get me past first level tech support! And quickly please!

cupcake
cupcake

I didn't misread the original post, although I may have not completely read your post. The point I was trying to make is that there are some users (your users) who may have a clue and may have tried some troubleshooting before calling you... and maybe listening to them will save you time too. The original article laments the whole "Users who insist on giving you their diagnosis of a problem rather than a neutral description of the symptoms". Perhaps this is how you appear to the 3rd party tech support when you call. How do they know you probably know more than the "entry-level tech"? Not everyone who calls know what "you've already tried or know will not solve your problem". They are treating you like *apparently* your users are being treated. And bear in mind, I don't know you, so I am talking generalities, and not specifically toward you EMD.

RipVan
RipVan

"If it ain't broke, fix it till it is..."

completelift
completelift

Bingo! That's what I did and they decided that if it wasn't free then they could live with their problems.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Less people let you into their houses that way. So most help calls stay on the phone, so easy.

jeremial-21966916363912016372987921703527
jeremial-21966916363912016372987921703527

I tried to do the same; charging 70/hr for home visits and 120/hr for businesses. Unfortunately, with a dirth of less than stellar businesses in my area, I still get more calls than I can handle. Not enough to retire from the 9-5 (of course) just enough to ensure I rarely have a free weekend.

aharper
aharper

...it resolved itself when I asked "Who gets the bill?"

rlubke
rlubke

I was in this situation and found that billing people from the time i put my jacket on till the time the problem was fixed made them think twice. At $100/hr for home service or $50/hr for shop service with minimum billing of an hour curtails the calls.

Slayer_
Slayer_

I started charging 60 bucks an hour to fix home computers. The requests quickly dried up

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

to NOT do home visits. I make it a bit more difficult for home computer support. First, I will instruct them on how to fix it themselves. If they cant, I tell them to take it to a shop. If they continue to want me to work on it, I tell them, only during my downtime, which may be a few weeks or more, and they bring the system to me. I have worked on a few, however, since I started doing this I have had much more 'free time' from after hours work. :D

rhodamyster
rhodamyster

I also would like a shirt to say.... "Marriage Counselor" with a red line through it. I get a lot of people that sit & talk about their personal problems - not just computers.

completelift
completelift

My new mantra: If you know so much, why am I here!!! Go rhodamyster!

rlubke
rlubke

I would like to have shirt made, on the back it would say; "If you know so much, why am I here?" I'd be up for a few golf shirts.. :)

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

yesterday I got a call from someone asking me if they had backup software installed on their computer. my response -- "how should I know, does any backup software run?"

jeremial-21966916363912016372987921703527
jeremial-21966916363912016372987921703527

I know right where you're coming from. I have only recently been able to convince my manager that - as every interruption removes me from servicing the employee I intended to assist - asking others to put in a helpdesk request or send me an email is not, in fact, poor customer service. We even went so far as posting an article on the local intranet with a Jerry MaGuire theme - "Help us, help you".

grrltechie
grrltechie

this! I want to get business cards printed up with the help desk email and number and just hand them to people when they do me this way. But I don't think my boss sees this as "friendly customer service". Whatever. If people respected me more (and especially my knowledge and skills) I'd be more likely to be friendlier.

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