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Never dis the help desk

Right as I submitted my last entry I remembered what it was I was going to talk about. Okay, here goes.

As I've mentioned off and on, I (currently) work at a computer support help desk. The job pays the bills - that's it. There's nothing more positive I will say about it.

I am continually shocked by the complete lack of common sense when people call the help desk. You want an example? Well, here's a few.

1. Get to the point

If you're calling the help desk to get assistance, state what the problem is. Don't do this 4-mile-long introduction speech of how you got to the problem. About 99% of the time, the tech will know exactly what caused the problem in the first place if you just state what it is that doesn't work.

Don't start off your conversation with "Well, you see, I was writing this document and I went do put in a chart that I've always done before and for some reason the chart doesn't look the way it does, but that's not the problem (insert help desk tech gritting teeth here). When I went to print my document the text came out all weird looking, but then I realized I was using the wrong font.. how stupid is that? (tip: never ask the help desk if you're stupid) So anyway, I have this document and there are cross-out lines where I don't want them to be, what caused that?"

The above was a completely useless conversation. It should have been this:

"I'm in Word, and there are cross-out lines where I don't want them to be. How do I get rid of them?"

..and go from there.

2. Never assume

The help desk does not magically know what your problem is unless you say so.

Here's an example of a stupid call:

Dummy: "I can't print."

Tech: "From where?"

Dummy: "My computer."

Tech: "What application?"

Dummy: "Windows."

Tech: "What program in Windows are you using?"

Dummy: "Word."

Tech: "Is it a document, label or envelope?"

Dummy: "Envelope." (tip to other help desk tech's, always ask the document/label/envelope question)

Tech: "So Word isn't printing?"

Dummy: "No, the envelope got caught in the feeder."

So you see.. it wasn't even a problem with Word. It's a hardware problem with the printer itself, most likely because the dummy end user shoved an envelope in it the wrong way and broke it.

The proper common sense statement should have been:

Dummy: "I have an envelope stuck in the printer that I can't get out."


3. Never ask for the manager.

Contrary to popular belief, asking for the supervisor or manager will get you nowhere. Fast. You can do this all day if you want to, but in reality it will cause your issue/problem/whatever to get done slower because you're a whiner.

The best thing to do if you're ticked off at the help desk is to not ask for the manager. As a matter of fact you shouldn't speak to anyone at all at the desk. If you're in an office environment, speak to your manager and have them call. If you're a regular Joe/Jane consumer, write a letter to the company itself, not it's help desk. You will get way farther, because absolutely no one at the help desk gives a crap about you - no one. That's because help desk is a crappy job.

Okay, end rant here. 😉

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