People Who Call Tech Support

If you work in a call center, you have talked to these people a thousand times. If you have called tech support, you are likely one of these people. If you are neither, then you either have your own IT department or you live underneath a rock.

She doesn't understand why she has a computer. She has only ever used the computer for email, pictures, and playing solitaire.

Its all a plot by the man... man....

Back in my day, we had basic and punch cards... but you wouldn't know anything about that...would you whippersnapper?

Just The Facts

  1. "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it." Kay
  2. 80 to 80 percent of people that call tech support are perfectly wonderful people. That makes them forgettable.
  3. No one has ever taken a call about their cup holder breaking. Stop repeating the story.

The Elderly

The Elderly are actually some of the world's most famous tech support callers. They were fairly well assured that everything 'new fangled' in the world would be introduced by the end of the 1960s. The Elderly are also ardently charmingly befuddled in an attempt to frustrate the Call Center Rep until they actually get some one to their house to help them compose and send an email. The Elderly will be the first to defend their behavior on a computer until that behavior has to be explained in any way.

"All I ever do on the computer is write and send email. Oh, every now and then I will play a bit of solitaire... but that all I really do. Then, I pushed a few buttons and now this screen pops up that says Stop Ox...something or other... I'm sure I'm just missing a simple fix."

Many of the Elderly people that you will talk to in a call center environment will quickly give you the impression that they have no other human contact at all. They will be the first to tell you about some brilliant family member who has already diagnosed the problem at some time in the past. Their answer must be correct because they are just a 'wiz' at this stuff. The Elderly will drop a subliminal message into every other sentence. That subliminal message is "I'm never going to get or understand this. Why don't you just send some one out that I can quiz on my email while sitting at my completely working computer?" When you point out that techs are never sent out to solve working computers, the entire tone becomes "You scary horrible person. Why would you pull a gun on an old person like that?"

The Elderly will tell you about three things on calls. They will mention their age. They will mention their relatives. They will mention 'computer illiteracy' as if they had an official diagnosis in this disease from a doctor. "I'm sorry. I am only able to operate a computer on a Windows XP level. Dr. Kaufman prescribed hours of tech support and herbal rasberry tea." All in all, the elderly are the least likely to call in on an issue actually needing a truck to be rolled with a technician. They will conversely be the most likely to win the argument and receive one from the pure frustration of the tech support representative.

English As Second Language

Some where, out in the ether of call center / customer interaction, a native of the country of India living in the United States has called a call center representative in India. The nirvana of peace, joy and understanding was rapturous and there is a probably a Bollywood movie and sountrach being made of the event right now. Over 90 percent of the time though, this is not the case. Either the least tolerant American of 'forners' will call and get the karmic delight of a call center in Asia or someone that barely speaks sentences in English will call into a call center. Either way, what bliss!

Sometimes, there are options. Some companies contract out other companies to provide an interpreter to call in order to facilitate the interaction. Call Center Reps are literally afraid to even give this option for several reason. First of all, the length of the call will astronomically increase by this action. Second, everyone knows that the way to understand each other better is to simply SCREAM LOUDER. Third, unless the person who has English As A Second Language is determined to troubleshoot the issue in order to get (the computer back running, back online, networked together with Linux and their own weird operating system hybrid, whatever) , they will have an agent on the phone willing to send a tech out as soon as the major bucket of their prob;em is understood.

However, in the rare case that everyone is fine with spending a few hours hashing out cultural differences and working on a call together, bringing an interpreter on the line can actually complicate matters. In order to do this, you have to get the interpreter online. This requires opening a second line. The next step is to get the exact dialect and language that is native to the caller. The translator line then calls someone capable of speaking the language and brings them online. If you make it to this point and your customer is still on hold? This generally means that their PhD depends on the issue being resolved today. You don't even want to know what this does to your day. Each line of conversation beomes four spoken lines and two translated into "whatever."

Ghetto Fabulous / Redneck Callers

These are people that believe that until it hits the pawn shop, it is 'your equipment' provided by 'you people.' Everything is 'your responsibility' and pressing a button on the keyboard is 'your job.' Ghetto Fabulous / Redneck Callers always have WAY too much going on in the background. There is always at least one screaming baby. The children that are old enough to talk are either crying in the corner or have no idea what a shower is. Fourteen times during the course of the call, someone is going to beep on the phone or pick up the phone interrupting the conversation you are not having. As much as the tech support person might know that the issue would be solved easily by going to the administrator command prompt and typing "netsh int ip reset" followed by "netsh winsock reset' and rebooting the computer. You might as well be telling these people to find Gort and give him the command "Klaatu Barada Nikto."

These calls will be interupted by football updates, Judge Judy, and frequently NASCAR. You will be greeted as a Call Center Representative with such serene logic as "It worked yesterday" and "Obviously, it is your fault." There is an interesting rationale as to how Ghetto Fabulous / Redneck Callers arrive at the idea of whose fault an issue that can involve more than one provider or more than one piece of equiptment. The most out of warranty most expensive call to make was the company that produced the most flawless piece of equipment. To question a piece of equipment of program that might lead to a charge for the tech support call (no matter how conclusively you prove it on the phone) is the same as driving to their house and slapping their dear Nana in front of them.

The Know-It-Alls

Call Center Representatives understand that there are people out there with advanced degrees in engineering. There are people out there with advanced degrees in computer engineering. There are people out there that were progamming basic for government computer systems when the call center agent was sucking on their wawa and watching Battle of the Planets. Congratulations, you probably know a thousand percent more than the person you have CALLED and ASKED for help from. There is officially at this point no need to do several things. There is no need to actually list your resume during the course of the call. You are still actually asking a question. There is no need to question every single step that the tech support person is going through on the phone. Even if you know they are going through a work flow, then let them go through the workflow quickly and easily to get everyone to their desired goal. The representative on the other end of the line may only know that an ip address needs to be reset. They may not even have a really clear idea what an ip address is. This does not really matter. Their ability to give a dissertation on the difference between static and dynamic ip is immaterial. There is not even a really good reason for them to know the evolution from IPv4 to IPv6. The Know-It-All has clearly over thought most problems. This is the reason why the call. Like it or not, they have hit a brick wall in their own troubleshooting and need help. They can take apart a nuclear plant but can not get a grasp as to why they need to put the same password in their email address online as they do into Windows Mail. Attempting to impress is an impediment and not even a neccesarily impressive one. Know-It-Alls mave have worked in a field for decades, but call center representatives have worked on the exact problem the know-it-alls ask about at least twenty times every day with that exact equiptment. Do anything that many times consistently and you might want to take someone's word for it.

Drug Addicts

In the realm of tech support, Drug Addicts are like a wonderful commercial break from a "very Special program." Drug addicts are surprisingly easy and willing to do what you say over the phone. Anything you say over the phone. You get someone the right level of high over the phone and you can melt down their motherboard to slag and they will not care. By way of personaly experience, I once had a caller shoot up morphine while I was talking to him. That man could not have cared less whether his DVR ever paused live television again. Drugs addicts are giving almost as much to giggle fits as they are to sitting in the corner screaming about 'Charley.' Drug Addicts are also the easiest people in the world to schedule a tech call with. They are rarely employed, so a day tech call is usually not a problem. They are generally in some sort of educational setting (so someone will always be in their house.) Sometimes, you will be luck enough to actually talk to one who is under house arrest for drug use. This means that they are actually legally required to answer the phone when anyone calls. They have to talk to bill collectors, police, probation officers, and techs on their. Oh, Hosanna! Your average drug addict is the lesser of so many evils.

Victims Of Dementia

Victims of Dementia are the saddest tech support calls... that you will repeat as a tech support call story a hundred times a day. Fortunately, most victims of dementia will have either their nurse or a family member calling for them. In this case, you can generally only hear them in the background. Every now and again though, someone will call tech support claiming that the red light on their cable box (which is supposed to mean messages) is actually a Dr. Evil Quotes "laser" shooting their kneecaps and causing their toenails to bleed. Keeping the television on three to watch cable is a particular challenge. There are times when you will actually encounter an unbelievable screaming fit over the phone. Also, there will be that one special caller you will always hold dear in your who told you that they fought in World War 2 proudly on the side of the National Socialists and have strapped a dog collar to their wrist until they get some service for their computer. The fact that he started singing a 1940's German national anthem every time the computer rebooted was especially heart warming. Victims of Dementia are rare for tech support calls but completely unforgettable.

The Four Year Olds

These are not actual four year olds that learned to use the phone. However, The Elderly will often employ a child (who they believe is smarter) to take over a tech support call because learning something about tech support may actually be toxic. No, the four year old is the screaming maniac / psycho hose beast who have called x number of times and just want to talk to your supervisor now. Something has gone wrong. Their wawa is broke and they want it replaced or fixed right now. Now, forget for a moment that a supervisor in a call center is almost never employed because of their superior ability to fix technical problems. As a matter of fact, with the high speed of technology and wherever that supe got off the tech support train to rate call metrics, their knowledge amy well be years out of date. Further factor into all of this that in the day and age of instant messaging and email, the tech support representative can instantaneously relay all of your concerns to a supe who can start working on your issue without you screaming in their ear. No, Oprah said you gots to get that supervisor on the line, so you gots to get the supervisor on the line. A call center supervisor if of course the most connected powerful person in the company who can get anything they want done. In the four year old's mind, a call center supervisor is like those hackers in Live Free or Die Hard. A few clicks of the button and nothing is beyond anyone's reach. 95 percent of the time, all the call center supervisor will do is say "Hi! I'm a call center supervisor and I care. Wow, thats terrible. I am going to monitor this whole situation and put you back on the phone with the same person you were just talking to to get this resolved." Goo goo ga ga. ga ga goo goo. Good. Here's your babysitter back.

People Who Can't Admit They or Anyone Else In Their Household Loves Porn On A Celluar Level

Everyone's kid is a 'good kid.' I have often wondered why on Earth the best people in the world should be assumed to have a low sex drive. Teenagers with good grades are smart enough to figure out how to get their rocks off on the internet. They are also smart enough to by pass parental controls on a cable box to order porn. Unfortunately, they probably have never looked at the cable bill which tells you exactly how many colors you saw lesbians having sex and what ages last month. There was probably also no attention paid to the price of the porn. We all know that downloading stuff from porn sites is about a virus ridden for a computer as sex with a prostitute is to cause viruses in humans. I guess that is not entirely triue. Sex with a prostitute may also give a virus to animals or plants as well. People love porn. People love to watch porn alone. They could be a 14 year old or a Methodist minister. People love them some porn. Porn messes things up. Now, it will never be the porn lover in the house hold making the tech support call. The tech support call is always made by the matron of the house who believed that sex was something only done for reproduction. As there are only three children in the household, everyone from the youngest to the dog is a suspect. The unmistakeable joy in taking the porn call is the information gathering stage. This is when you can read the list of porn movies viewed to shocked people. This is when you can ask them what they see on the screen. Call Center Representatives get answers lilke "Its horrible (Male Genitalia) and (Female Genitalia) everywhere!" This is also an ideal time to inquire whether any animals are involved or if anything looks outright illegal. Of course, porn is a two bladed sword. If there was not porn around, there would be no need at all for so much tech support. Thank you. Thank you, Porn!

Conspiracy Theorists

God bless the people who sit at their computers in tin foil hats watching their windows background of Ron Paul for taking the two and a half hours to read Every Word of their licensing agreemnent. They go on about how the graphical user interface is a tool in which Microsoft uses to better monitor their activities. They will swear up and down that they hade this idea long before the Matrix. The all digital migration in television? This is simply another plot by the man to spy on them. These are the same people who stand in line for four hours to buy the latest IPad and then conversely will tell you about every evil technological plot done by every new piece of technology. They still have problems with anything past Windows 3.1 and the term 'cookies.' The great thing about Conspiracy Theorists (other than that they really believe a Digital Transport Adapter carries a webcam) is that every new fact simply re-enforces their predetermined opinion. It takes precisely half a second for a conspiracy theorist to read an article and process how this is the latest assault on their online privacy and information. Of course, downloading videos and music is fine. After all, a person has to live? don't they. Conspiracy theorists will see the pixelization in Fox News as a sattelite honing in on them. They will spend a computer reboot telling you that the 9/11 'planes' were merely holograms used to distract from people inside the tower planting explosions. Conspiracy Theorists at least break up the monotony of eight hour shifts letting you know that we have been visited by Alpha Centauri and that is what made Google an evil company.