IT Policies

10 most dangerous species of help desk analyst (slideshow)

10. Auxilium scriptomania: "Know-nothing" help desk analyst

This is a particularly dangerous Help Desker, and one I had the misfortune to encounter only this week. This one will stick to the script no matter how irrelevant and or unhelpful. As an example I will give a brief reconut of the call I had:

?Tech- “Hi my name is xxx how may I help you today?”
?Me-”Good Morning, this is Jeff, one of the field techs, can you please reset the download flag for unit number xxxxxxx.”
?Tech-”Sure, first I will need some details from you--your name and company name, your email address…”?Me-”No, I’m one of your guys, I just need the download flag reset.”
?Tech-”Sure, can you remove the mains cord for me and wait one full minute then restart the machine.”
?Me-”No, there is no problem with the machine, I just need the download reset”.
?Tech-”Please hold one moment”
?20 minutes of Mantovani ----
?Tech-”Thank you for holding, is there anything else I can help you with today?”
?Me- “Grrrrrrrr!”

?This call usually takes about 8 seconds, but Auxilium Scriptomania can make it last forever.

Caption by: Jeff Dray

Photo credit: ©iStockphoto.com/SchulteProductions

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

40 comments
Uncle Stoat
Uncle Stoat

Is that 90% of callers are asking where the Any key is, or have broken their coffee cup holder. There's a necessary evil in having scriptomania types, but they should have strict instructions to kick it upstream when needed instead of "don't deviate from the script" I've learned a few hindi phrases referring to someone's ancestry or lack of parental iodine which seem to do the trick most of the time. The other way is simply to ask for someone who can understand english.

Regulus
Regulus

Unfortunate choice of format. I would have liked to read the article - but not in this manner.

delphi9_1971
delphi9_1971

Auxilium Potest non Intellectus: The tech with such a think local accent, usually Indian in nature, that is so thick that neither the user nor the tech can understand one another. Usually employeed by help desks servicing consumers or Cisco.

Computer Dave
Computer Dave

That person is often no where near the site of the issue and has no real need to be helpful beyond what is written in front of them. When I worked for a certain red-colored database company, all internal support was first routed to India, where the Scriptomaniacs' primary response was "Update your anti-virus and run a scan". When that didn't work, the call came to my team, in the US, where the problem was solved.

steve
steve

So the one who actually knows nothing is portrayed as the only women in th ebunch or did I miss something. this field is made up of all sorts, but that is quite sexist.

Dr_Zinj
Dr_Zinj

The person is the nicest person on the planet. Knows all, sees all, does everything. Superfast, able to leap desks in a single bound (but doesn't.) Always has the correct diagnosis first, the right tools in her bag, and the right parts and right software at hand. Makes fixes that don't need repeat visits before the end-of-life cycle is reached. Sets customers immediately at ease. Listens attentively to their description of the problem. Shows empathy with them over the distruption it causes and apologizes for having to take up their valuable time. Makes them feel actively involved in correcting the problem, and happy about it. Takes full responsibility for the fixes. Leaves the customer feeling confident that their problems are over. And obviously is from an other planet.

Sowmya500
Sowmya500

Why does this illuminating slide show have so many misprints? Good Article.

reisen55
reisen55

Enough said about that particular help desk hell.

msjenq
msjenq

Unfortunately I worked with her, too. But she keeps her job by sucking up to management and sleeping with coworkers so they will give her positive peer reviews, though it is a commonly held belief by most of the department that she is a sub-standard tech. I get a lot of complaints about her from users. Sad and frustrating.

LittlrocKr
LittlrocKr

Auxilium Malignis - Help Desk evildoer. I reported a problem, and to punish me, the jerk locked out my login account. Auxilium Transferre Culpam - Help Desk blame shifter. I reported a problem with a system and the tech secretly fixes the problem saying, it works just fine, the problem must be you.

JCitizen
JCitizen

sounds like at least 1/3 of the posters at ZDNet! ]:)

ChipMicro
ChipMicro

Administratium executivus - this is an honorary member of the Helpdesk because underfunding/undertraining and/or outsourcing was their bright idea to maximize efficiencies and provide a positively-directed cost trend, or however they whizzed it through committee. They sometimes spend their performance bonus from those savings on new sportscars to improve the image of the company via the parking lot, but generally they bring nothing into the company except downstream user dissatisfaction, which the users in turn use for sarcastic articles and comments to said articles.

SKFee
SKFee

I can see a bit of me in most of these. Maybe by identifying it to my self I can avoid evolving to these extremes. This is indeed lighthearted but gets the worthwhile thumbs up. Every vet tech should see this and think about how others perceive us. Thanks

jeff
jeff

2 Auxilium reinitium A slight variation on the 'When in doubt, reboot the PC' analyst. I once worked for an insurance company who has a large field based workforce, who were supplied with home broadband and a manually configured router. Someone at the helpdesk (based in India!!) had issued instructions to the analysts that if they had a caller who could not connect to their broadband, the FIRST thing they should do is stick the point of a pen in the 'reset' hole. Of course, this put the router back to factory setting meaning they would never get connected. Cue the steady stream of field workers arriving at out office to get their routers reconfigured...

edjcox
edjcox

My primary encounters deal with either Pakistani or Indian techs who are so super polite that they cannot understand what you are trying to tell them...

JCitizen
JCitizen

but the pic reminded me of so many I've met. The outsourced males can be the worst.

spdragoo
spdragoo

That's not "from another planet", that's "Ends up fired after 2 months because they're 'not meeting their call metrics'".

santeewelding
santeewelding

Shocked, I tell you, to hear tell of this sort going on. You have recorded audio and video, personal participation as well, I take it, before I take you for flucking real? Otherwise (either way) -- guess what I take you for.

JCitizen
JCitizen

coitus maximus of the canis-femina phylum? Just a little latin twist here! ]:) Or just good 'ol Greek - kariola v/

NickNielsen
NickNielsen moderator

I would have though at least half! :D

NickNielsen
NickNielsen moderator

Procurator Buzzwordium or Procurator Teflonius

unixwolf.edu
unixwolf.edu

I couldn't agree more, I have found a bit of myself in each and every one of these characters from the beginning of my support career. While I believe I have matured I can not help but think this is almost an evolutionary chart, not in order, of how some techs progress before people are asking for them by name. Still, a very funny exaggerated view and something to help prevent one from falling backwards, lol.

spdragoo
spdragoo

Although usually because, when I worked in a call center, we had that as part of the script (i.e. first power-cycle the "BHR", then factory reset it with the "pen in the hole" method if the first trick didn't work). Of course, our "script" usually included other things, such as: -- verifying it was a fault of the router/servers, as opposed to the device. Too many times, customers would call saying "My Internet is down", when they [b]really[/b] meant, "My wireless laptop won't connect to the Internet, but I never bothered to check my hardwired desktop and/or my other wireless devices before calling to make sure it was a problem with the Internet service instead of just my laptop." -- Before any troubleshooting, we'd ask about the lights on the router... & ask in such a way that we could confirm they were using the ISP-provided router. If they were using a router we didn't provide, we told them to either reconnect our router, or contact the manufacturer of the other router, because we didn't support it. Granted, this didn't happen too often, as the company-provided router was usually MoCA-enabled (i.e. the Internet/WAN connection was via coaxial cable, not CAT5/6 Ethernet), since they usually provided bundled Internet/Cable TV service to the customers. But there were the odd handful of customers with Ethernet WAN connections (usually at the customer request)... & a lot of them had their "preferred" routers. -- Before troubleshooting the router, we required that customers first hardwire the device (or any other device) to see if it was just a wireless/device issue, or if the Internet was truly down. If the other device worked, or their laptop worked when hardwired, we didn't touch the router settings. -- Also, before factory reseting the router, we'd walk them through logging into the router from the PC. If the PC could see the router, then (usually) it wasn't a router issue -- might still be at their house (i.e. bad cabling) or on our network (issues in the local PON or other "last mile" issues, area server outage, etc.), but again wouldn't need to mess with the BHR. Working with a "script" can get the job done... as long as you realize it's more of a flowchart than a true script -- or better yet, like those old "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, where you made a choice at the bottom of page 5 and, depending on which decision you made you'd either keep going to page 6 or skip ahead to page 10; you can't just read it in sequential page order from cover to cover, you have to follow the logic flow through the book.

joseph_mcmanus
joseph_mcmanus

I don't think they CAN use it, it's most probably Copyrighted and if they did use it they would probably have to pay through the nose.

JCitizen
JCitizen

All good comments! I do sometimes wonder if some of these types can be seen posting here too! Especially Auxilium complicatus: an especially obnoxious specie!! :^0

Mr. G. Anson
Mr. G. Anson

Would really go a long way. Most of these articles have so many spelling and grammar mistakes it makes them nearly impossible to read. The comments are also horrendous when it comes to spelling and grammar. Maybe you all should go back to school and give us a break!

SKFee
SKFee

As a consultant I try to get the client before they make a major purchase. If phone support is important to them I include "evaluate the phone support" in my "Making an educated purchase" tutorial. I ask the client to call the number for support and check out things like hold times, courtesy and ability to communicate. My KY English(yes thats an oxymoron) makes it hard enough when I get a yank on the phone much less someone who's first language is not English. Part my fault I try to clean up my southern accent but it is indeed frustrating, and worse, counter productive to speak to someone using a flowchart that cant understand me.In this economy it is getting harder and harder to find vendors who do not outsource the help desk out of the country. I hope to be proactive and respond by supporting companies that stay stateside.

Jeff Dray
Jeff Dray

This ubiquitous species, known scientifically as Auxilium Orientalis, can be one of the worst, as you say, they are completely polite and respectful but are entirely fluent in a type of English that no-one else uses. They also provide support for 20 other organisations, from blue ray players to life assurance companies

egmccann
egmccann

Don't remind me. Had to deal with their opposite working in a call center some time ago. Great metrics, made all their (10 minute) calls, etc. And I seemed to get all their *followups,* where I got to explain (a) the last tech just formatted the drive and set everything back to factory config, (b) they just lost all their holiday pictures and other documents in said format, and (c) all they needed to do was replace the batteries their teenager put in the speakers (or some other simple fix.)

NickNielsen
NickNielsen moderator

50 bucks. 100 if he's slow. ;)

user support
user support

I can see myself and my co-workers in all of these phases. Is there anyway that Jeff could integrate the other slide shows about helpdesk customers and managers into one show as a here is the situation from the user, here is the reaction from the analyst and here is the reaction from the manager? All these phases and growing pains are from our interactions with the user and manager.

george-barna
george-barna

Excellent observation. It's a shame, that the people you aimed your comment at can't read either :-)

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

We want to be able to call tech support at 2:46 am on Christmas day and we get pissed off if we get a voicemail.

jeff
jeff

Scriptomania, Orientalis, much the same beast in my experience, just resides on a different continent (planet). I remember contacting my ISP once because I couldn't get connected to my broadband, I was getting a RAS code that is specific to a server fault (can't remember the number now). I'd come across that exact same RAS code at work that day, so I knew instantly what it was, I explained this to the 'tech' on the end of the line but his only response was "We try to remake connection". Yes, he wanted to recreate the connection icon on my PC to fix a fault on one of their servers!! After explaining the fault a couple more times, but getting nowhere, I decided to humour him. Being the good little tech that I am I was 2 steps ahead of him all the way, which confused him even more. When that new connection icon failed and got the same RAS code he finally decided to pass the issue to 2nd line... As you might have guessed, it was an Indian call centre.

JCitizen
JCitizen

Your's is a good example!