Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Life, as we know it, stops when the email servers go down

All Hell breaks loose when the email servers go down. It is like Armageddon. People stop thinking and just call the help desk.

Typically this is how it goes.

First call:

Me: “Thank you for calling computer support how may I help you.”

Customer: “My email isn’t working.”

We go through various troubleshooting steps and during this time I hear similar calls being received by co-workers. Now we know there is a company-wide problem and we contact the email team. This information is relayed to the customer.

Customer: “Is there an estimated time of completion for this?”

Me: “They just found out about it and probably do not know what the problem is yet.”

Customer: “So no?”

Me: “No.”

Customer: “Will you send me an email when this is fixed?”

Me: “I would be happy to.”

The customer hangs up before realizing that he just asked me to contact him via the same system that is broken. They make me laugh. I have the phone number and will call him back when it is fixed.

The next 5 to 10 customers goes something like this.

Me: “Thank you for calling computer support how may I help you?”

Customer: “I’m trying to log into my email and it is not letting me.”

Me: “Yeah we are having a problem with the system right now and the email team is working on the problem.”

Usually the will say ok and hang up or ask if there is an estimated time of completion. My sense of humor starts to kick in after the 10th caller or so.

Me: “Thank you for calling computer support how may I help you?”

Customer: “I’m trying to log into email.”

Me: “Yeah. That probably isn’t working for you.” or “How’s that going for you?”

I normally use this as a way of lightening an ugly situation. People are never happy when email goes down.

Customer: “How am I supposed to contact my publisher if email is down?”

Me: “Does your publisher have a phone number?”

Saying things like that will often get you accused of being a smart ass. You must be very careful to keep the tone of your voice neutral. It is also important to keep a hand close to your headset microphone. Laughing co-workers are a dead give-away.

Understand that we, as a help desk, are not unsympathetic to the customers. We honestly want to help them fix their problems. Our reasons range from honestly wanting to help the person to helping them so I do not have to talk to that stupid asshole anymore. It is in our best interest to resolve problems quickly.

That being said, I like it when people do not call me. It means everything is working or our phone system has broken and we haven’t noticed yet. Either way I get paid the same amount of money.

Oh, and by the way, we do not change your passwords just so you have to call us for help. I get paid whether I speak to you or not. My goal is to never talk to you and I sure as hell would not do something, on purpose, to make you call me.

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