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  • #2261893

    10+ things support techs say (and what they really mean)


    by jodygilbert ·

    After you take a look at this download, please post your feedback or share a few choice phrases/meanings you’ve run into in your own organization.

    –The TechRepublic Content Team

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    • #2530024


      by tburns ·

      In reply to 10+ things support techs say (and what they really mean)

      THis is so true. I especially like the one about reinstalling software.

      • #2541248


        by pascal_bellerose ·

        In reply to WOW

        Do the words “customer service” means anything to these guys?

        I’m working in a customer support department, and those are especially the kind of things we try to avoid each day.

        I never say reinstall the software because we are an AS/400 shop. This means, we don’t reinstall software, we solve the problem.

        If I have no idea how to solve the problem(normally it’s because I don’t have time to find the solution myself), I tell the customer “I don’t have a clue but I’ll ask a developper to help me understand this, so the next time I’ll know what to do.”

        If no one in-house has a clue, then fire the whole department, they don’t deserve a job in customer service!

        “I apologize unreservedly for my mistake.” This ain’t braking a law of customer service and helpdesk IS customer service.

        Give your customer respect and he won’t be giving you bullshit the next he talks to you. And probably he won’t call you back because you actually solved his problem.

        In conclusion, this kind of document should be marked in red “Things that should not be in customer service”. I could barely read all the lines. If this is a joke, it should have been written “JOKE” all over. Because for me customer service is not a subject to joke about.

        • #2541226

          Sense of humour failure

          by blackburne99 ·

          In reply to Yikes!

          Well I thought it was very funny, because though we all know we shouldn’t be like that, it hid a germ of truth. Surely we can laugh at ourselves?
          I have a contribution:
          We say “Now click once with the left-hand mouse button”
          We mean “Do you know your left from your right?”
          We say “Can you read the error message to me?”
          We mean “Can you read?”

        • #2541956

          Reinstalling software

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to Yikes!

          In the desktop support world, sometimes it’s faster to reinstall the software than to troubleshoot it, especially proprietary software that you can’t fix. It’s usually the user’s decision, but I recommend it if I estimate troubleshooting will take at least twice as long as reinstalling.

          “Do you want to know why it broke, or do you want to get back to work?”

        • #2522593

          There is the browser based version of this too..

          by daveo2000 ·

          In reply to Reinstalling software

          “Oh. The web page isn’t working? Please delete all of your cookies, purge the browser cache and reboot your machine, please. Then try it again and tell me if it works.”

          I have heard variations on this waaaaaay too often!

          Sure, it may fix the issue [i]right now[/i] but it doesn’t fix the problem.

        • #2621328


          by Anonymous ·

          In reply to Reinstalling software

          Help me to reinstall the software, I want to get back to work. I don’t want to know why it broke or if it was my incompetence that broke it.

          I will call you in the morning to repeat this process.

        • #2541879

          Sorry Yikes! your one of the good guys BUT

          by keniston ·

          In reply to Yikes!

          Yikes, I wish was was using an AS 400 but for the last 20 years it has been DOS then Windows and now Vista.
          The real work is bait and switch. The saleman assures you full support on hardware and any software you buy from them. But the tech at customer service says, we are only here to help you set up your system and be sure you know how to use your restore CD.
          I started to realize the system was mostly smoke and mirrors when I could find technical information on a companies web site that their customer service people could not tell me.
          The answer to almost all my questions to three different (major) vendors of hardware over the last 20 years has been, “do you know how to use your Restore CD?”
          Anything past the most basic question even about hardware they manufactured, is beyond 9 out of ten. The Hardware manufacturer says it is software and the software tech assures me it is hardware.
          My favorite is how often the company tech recommends my calling Microsoft. As if it did not cost a pot of gold for every single minute. And they don’t always have the answer even at their prices.
          Personally, I don’t blame the techs, they didn’t write the marketing materials and many of them lack trainging outside the company.
          Yikes! I say bravo to you and your fellows for being gold in a bag of so much lead. Please feel proud and not bad for being what you say you are, when so many others are content to fake it.
          And thank you also goes to those few techs that I have met over the years who were knowledgeable, dedicated, stuborn and stuck with the thread and offered constructive answers.

        • #2522508

          Brings back memories

          by endoscopy ·

          In reply to Sorry Yikes! your one of the good guys BUT

          It’s hardware, no it’s software. I was involved with a weather system. The boxes bringing in the data were new, the software for them was new, the computer was new, OS was new, I/O interface was new. It started with one person coming in and fixing a problem then blaming something else. That went on for months and then the customer demanded everybody to show up at once.

          At that point everybody kept taking turns fixing a problem and pointing to somebody else’s problem. After a few weeks of everybody on site everything was fixed. Everybody had things to fix. This was the worst mess I have ever seen. Nothing worked correctly to start with since everything was SN 1. I was there supporting the engineers for the box and box interface.

          We normally joke about finger pointing but sometimes it is true. But what makes things funny is the underlying truth behind them.

        • #2522563


          by rpereira ·

          In reply to Yikes!

          I found this really funny, and something we deal with in a daily basis. Customer expect us to know everything about every piece of equipment has been made in China. Simply is not possible for a single department or company. Callers should land and find we are not here, no read in behalf of them, or to read again what’s in the service manual, abviously you work with AS400, you don’t have to deal with the people some of us have to.

          Anyways… Take care and have fun.

        • #2578328

          Where in Panama?

          by taboga ·

          In reply to Hmmm

          I lived there for 7 years (Paitilla) and hope to make it back one day.

          You’re right, the customer expects an IT guy to know everything about anything that is even remotely related to a computer system. And if you don’t have the answer within a minute or two, they assume: You don’t know your job!

          A doctor with years of education and decades of practice, is allowed to ask questions to try and figure out what your ailment might be. An IT guy however, is required to summon wizardry in an instant to tell a user why their computer suddenly shutdown by itself when they ask: “What causes that?”

        • #2522526

          Yikes, and away!

          by larry the security guy ·

          In reply to Yikes!

          “Do the words “customer service” means anything to these guys?”

          Yes, they do. The word “incompetence” also has meaning. While you are supporting systems that don’t get rebooted or software reinstalled to fix a problem, the general consumer help desk market is rife with those very solutions.

          My personal favorite is when I called Vonage about my telephone adapter not functioning correctly. The first words out of the technician’s mouth (and I say technician only because that’s the department to which the VRU lead me) were “Have you tried rebooting your computer?” I kid you not. So I asked him if I needed to turn on the computer first or could I reboot it while it was powered off. He said I’d have to turn it on, then reboot it.

          Now, I fully believe that this so-called technician meant well and did want to help me. By that measure alone, he was providing acceptable customer service. His courtesy and humility was a little over the top, though, and is due primarily to company policy (even the tech in New Jersey did it).

          But the fact remains that they were, for the most part, incompetent and unqualified for more than following a script – and unable to detect what parts didn’t apply – and absolutely did not meet the definition of technician.

          Granted, the humourous definitions don’t necessarily apply, but they are rather enjoyable stress relievers.

        • #2521457

          Customer Service Reps

          by jtakiwi ·

          In reply to Yikes, and away!

          We have a company in Alabama that provides outsourced customer service reps for Verizon, Dell, HP, etc… They make about $8 and hour. Maybe if they answered the phone like this: “Hi thank you for calling Verizon, my name is …. I make $8/hr. I will be virtually no help whatsoever, other than having you tell me information you already spent three minutes punching into your telephone (twice) to get to this point. i will be forwarding you on to someone else. You will then repeat everything you just told me to the preson who eventually tries to solve your problem. Have a nice day!”

      • #2541984


        by anthony waters ·

        In reply to WOW

        Even though there is one dissenting comment, I think this was a very humorous article. I think that everyone that has ever worked on a help desk or a call center or even used a phone is guilty of the mute button comment.

        I would like to add a alternative meaning to the mute button statemet. Instead of pressing the mute button becasue I can’t stop laughing, I would press the mute button so that you can’t hear the series of bad words that I am about to use.

        Also, here is a new one. Whenever we say, “Please hold for a moment while I look up an answer your problem.” It really means, “I really have to go to the restroom”.

    • #2542090

      It is funny – but it is also fairly true.

      by labrat636 ·

      In reply to 10+ things support techs say (and what they really mean)

      I’ll add another one:
      What we say:
      “I understand.”
      What we mean:
      “I understand that you should pack the product back up in the box and return it, because you are obviously too stupid to use it.”

      • #2541955


        by charliespencer ·

        In reply to It is funny – but it is also fairly true.

        “Wow, that is so cool!”


        “I’ve never seen a system do this before, and I’m gosh-darned if I know how to fix it, but it’s going to take me at least several hours and a twelve-pack of Mountain Dew.”

        • #2522598

          Thanks – I needed that!

          by alan.james ·

          In reply to Also,

          I want to thank each of you for your replies to this post. I just read through it all, and there were several “gut laughs” to be found – I have enjoyed the humor immensely! Of course we all strive for great service to our customers, but the very nature of customer service gives rise to all this humor surrounding the tension inherent with any form of technical communication. We’ve run across a couple of stress-relievers here where I work, and my favorite is the classic “We’re not satisfied ’til YOU’RE not satisfied!” And, when we say “let’s try doing it this way…” we actually mean “Why can’t you just be smart?” It’s all in good fun, and ‘below the surface’ – our customers get great service from professionals with a well-exercised sense of humor, that’s all…

        • #2522590

          “Fair Enough”

          by daveo2000 ·

          In reply to Also,

          Have you ever told somebody something and they say “Fair enough”? I finally found out what that usually means:

          “I understand the words you are saying, by themselves, individually. They way you have placed them together, in that particular order, puzzles me and causes me to question your assertion that you know what you are talking about. I, on the other hand, don’t have time to go into it.”

          Very good mileage for 2 simple words!

    • #2522477

      Fixed in next version

      by spiff van slick ·

      In reply to 10+ things support techs say (and what they really mean)

      When we say “Fixed in the next version”
      We mean “We don’t know what the problem could be but have spent too much time on this already, and maybe if we’re lucky the developers can figure this out in the 3 months before the next version is released”

    • #2579471

      Have you tried re-booting?

      by bubba734 ·

      In reply to 10+ things support techs say (and what they really mean)

      Have you tried re-booting translates as “I need a smoke!”

    • #2579436

      Do you have the latest Service Pack installed…?

      by taboga ·

      In reply to 10+ things support techs say (and what they really mean)

      1. When Tech Support asks if you have the latest Service Pack installed, it means:

      If the customer’s answer is yes, then the latest Service Pack is the cause of the problem and it is a “known issue”.

      If the customer’s answer is no – they don’t have the latest SP, then the latest SP needs to be applied to fix the problem.

      2. Ask the customer which model of computer they are using. Whichever model they are using is the one that there have been alot of problems with, with whatever particular problem they are having. Tech Support will invariably have a “trouble ticket” pending with the manufacturer. And will notify the customer as soon as a “fix” has been determined.

      3. When Tech Support asks for screenshots, log files, and tons of other system related information to be provided to them via email, it serves two purposes: (A) Maybe the customer will find that too time consuming and bothersome and won’t call back, or (B) If they do provide it, it’s good for several hours or days of stalling while they are supposedly trying to “duplicate” the issue.

    • #2578332

      sounds about right

      by ironspider ·

      In reply to 10+ things support techs say (and what they really mean)

      Hmmmm, sounds likes every IT help desk/customer service rep I know.

    • #2578269

      For those who remember, and those who need to know

      by old timer 8080 ·

      In reply to 10+ things support techs say (and what they really mean)

      There used to be a Trade Magazine called DATAMATION. There was someone named Simon Travaglia. He created the BOFH: The Bastard Operator From Hell.
      The BOFH became world famous:
      and not so famous:

      Bastard System Manager From Hell (BSMFH)

      This was the relief ALL Tech Support people had in those days…
      Datamation was THE magazine for System professionals in the early days. BYTE was THE magazines for PC users…

      The BFOH live on at the REGISTER…Biting the hand that feeds IT….

      This was Tech Support THEN. I think that the BOFH is still useful NOW..

      My favorite ticket explanation in the comments section:
      User has an ID10T problem….

    • #2578265

      Saying it in a way…

      by mylittlemansanidiot ·

      In reply to 10+ things support techs say (and what they really mean)

      ….your customer couldn’t possibly understand is just as funny. I was working in an eletronic retail and repair service, when I overheard 1 of the techs talking to a customer who’d brought in a PC, under warranty, we’d sold them. He proceeded to tell the unwary customer that the fault was an “external carbon based error”, which wasn’t covered by the warranty.

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