Help Desk

‘Level II Help Desk Analyst’ aka ‘Level II Professional Shit Molder’

Some people ask me, “Hey Ryan, what do you do at work exactly?”

Basically my job is to take computer related calls from hospital employees all across the country. I give my strongest effort to fix the problem over the phone. If I am successful I earn a Quick Close and feel gratification that I was able to fix this user’s problem over the phone. A smile grows on my face, I leap from my chair, then I click my heels together. I sort of become a hero, like Captain Quick Close!

On the other hand if I am not able to fix the problem over the phone, I have to open a ticket to one of the Tech’s located on site at the hospital. This makes me a sad panda and suicide is a possiblity. Reasons vary to exactly why I was not able to resolve the issue over the phone. This reasons might be one of the follow….

  • The user didn’t want to troubleshoot the issue over the phone.
  • The issue might be hardware related, or something that can’t possibly be fixed over the phone.
  • Hospitals won’t give us access to solve the problem, because they think we are too stupid.
  • The user blatantly lied to you on the phone for the purpose of getting a tech to physically come to your location.
  • User is of low intelligence, and is too stupid to troubleshoot any computer issues over the phone.
  • Some people are embarrassed to say “I don’t know” to one of your questions. So they will either guess at the answer, or lie about what error message they are getting, or what their problem is.

So those are the reasons why we have to open tickets. Most of the time problems tickets are caused from the top 3 scenarios. Either its something we cant fix, don’t have access to fix, or the user doesn’t want to work with us. But many times a day the user will flat out lie to us, and sometimes do it without even knowing it. Usually because they are either lazy or stupid. Now when the user decides to take the path of lies, the result usually ends up with myself getting in trouble. No matter what, its always my fault. I can document all the lies they said to me, but it wont matter because its still my fault. I should have asked different questions, or I should have predicted their lies and taken a different route of troubleshooting. Either way, its my fault.

So this got me thinking. Am I really a Help Desk Analyst? Or do I simply work for a Call Center? I do troubleshoot computers over the phone, this would make me think that I am a Help Desk Analyst; not just some schmuck who takes calls all day. But on the other hand, some people do Data Entry for a living and make more money than me. So we get paid like a Call Center. In addition to that, my company passes on many applicants because their technical abilities/salary were too high for this place. Not to mention that hospitals think that my coworkers and I are blithering morons who can’t be trusted with proper troubleshooting access.

Myself and My Coworkers The 2nd Level Technician

 

So after some consideration I believe we are somewhere in between. We get the pay and employees of a call center, but we are allowed to troubleshoot issues over the phone. So I would like to call us Level III Professional Shit Molder’s. You are probably saying, “how did you come up with this title?” Well let me explain….

At my job we deal with shit all day long. We get call after call of angry people that expect us to magically solve their issues with no help or information from them. These people spew nothing but shit. Pure Raw Liquidy Man Shit. And our job is too take this shit and mold it into a nice piece of art(problem ticket) to send it to the 2nd level on site tech’s. The 2nd level tech’s expect us to take all their shit(lies and poor information) and translate it into factual information so they can do their jobs easier.

The Art of Shit Molding

Here are some good examples of really bad shit that we need to mold

Tech: What version of Windows are you running?
User: Windows 97 (Good example of someone refusing to say “I don’t know)
Tech: I see…

User: I cannot log on to the system
Tech:Which system?
User: I don’t know
Tech:Well what’s the error message you are getting?
User: I don’t get one (User is lying)
Tech: I see….

Tech: Have you tried rebooting? User: Yes I have Tech: Would you mind rebooting again? User: I don't know how to reboot Tech: I see... 

Same thing applies with information they do know, but they don’t have the mental capacity to listen to your question and give you the proper answer. An example would be like this…

Tech: May I have your last name? User: Wallace Tech: First name? User: Janice Tech: I see that you are located at Unit 1 on the 2nd floor, and you extension is 5700? User: Sure.... (User has a broken Printer, and I send the ticket to the on site tech's)

Later that day I get a complaint from the tech that the user is actually located at Unit 12 on the 4th floor, and her extension is 4300. I have no way of proving that the user lied to me, so I didn’t mold the shit properly.

The best shit molders are the people that are able to trick the user’s into giving us actual useful information. This takes years of experience, and a little bit of trickery to get the desired results. I am going to take an example from above and show the proper way to mold the user’s shit into a beautiful vase!

User: I cannot log on to the system
Tech:Which system?
User: I don’t know
Tech:Well what’s the error message you are getting?
User: I don’t get one (User is lying)
Tech: Ok, I reset your password, try to log in now(In fact, you never reset it at all, it was a trick!)
User: It now says, “The system could not log you on. Make sure your User name and domain are correct, then type your password again”
Tech: You fool! I tricked you into giving me the error message, I now know that you are trying to log on the network, and I am going to reset your password! Huzzah!
User: Curses! My evil plans have been spoiled!

You see folks, its just that simple! But as you can see, there are varying types of shit that you will get during the day. At times you will get people with above average IQ’s that are willing to troubleshoot the issue. These people are offering you a nice little turd that probably needs a little buffing. On the other hand you might get a person that can only offer you streaming diarrhea and that’s all you have to work with. You are forced into tricking them into giving you useful information(starch) so you can apply it to the shit, then rid some of its liquid form. Tech’s hate it when you offer them nothing but a bowl of liquid shit. They want some form. A little starch will really help out. Sadly there are days that we are very understaffed. The result is that we get hit with so much shit(calls) that we can’t properly troubleshoot, and need to speed up the process so we can be available for another call. Here is a picture of what it looks like when we are getting hammered with calls.

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Different Types of Callers

On the Help Desk we have all different types of people that call in looking for help. Here is a list of common callers, and some tips to help you identify them.

Blatant Liars

Its not rare to get a call from a user that is a Blatant Liar. They will flat out lie to you right on the phone. They will tell you lies about troubleshooting they have done, or valuable information that would help you in resolving their problem. The will lie about rebooting their computers, error messages that they received, whether or not they logged on the network, or their exact location or phone number

Fear of “I don’t Know”

People that fear the words, “I don’t know,” are commonly mistaken for Blatant Liars. A Blatant Liar will lie to you, when knowing the correct answer. “I don’t know” group is a little different. They will lie to you because they don’t know the correct answer. Maybe its because they feel stupid, or embarrassed; but if the are not able to answer your question, they will make something up instead. And when you catch them in their lie, they will defend it like their life depended on it. This group of callers is usually the types that get you in the most trouble when working on the help desk. They are very common, and its hard to prove that they are lying when you aren’t physically there. When a 2nd level tech arrives to their location and sees that what you put in the ticket was incorrect, its somehow your fault. Here is an example call…

User: “I cannot log in”
Tech: “What are you trying to log into?”
User: “The computer system”
Tech: “Are you trying to log on the Network? Or Invision?”
User: “Invision” aka (I don’t know)
Tech: Ok, I reset your invision password. Try logging in again.
 
User: It says, “The system could not log you on. Make sure you Username and domain are correct, then type your password again.”

Tech: Umm, you are trying to log on the network.

Life Story

Some people that need something minor done, such as a password reset. Would love to give you their life story before giving you an ounce of information that might solve their problem. Like they will call in and tell you that they need their password reset, but wont tell you the system it needs to be reset for, or their user ID. They would rather tell you their life story first. Here is an example call.

User: “I am unable to log in Passport, it says invalid password. I went on vacation last week to Jamaica with my kids. It was first vacation in two years. Now when I went on vacation 2 years ago I was able to get back in afterwards without any problems. I had trouble signing in Novell but was able to remember my password. At first I thought it was whiskers, after my cat. But then I remembered my password was actually my dog Cassidy. I gave Cassidy her name because the dog we got before that was named Butch, and thought it would be cute to name our next one Cassidy because….
Tech: “SHUT UP! JUST GIVE ME THE GOD DAMN USER ID SO I CAN RESET YOUR PASSWORD!!!!!!”

Story Repeater

The Story Repeater is sort of like the Life Story type. This is the person that gives you the 5 min explanation of their problem. Then when you ask them a simple question, they repeat their 5 minute story of exactly what happened rather than answer your question. These calls can easily go over 30 minutes because you have to listen to the same story over and over again since they refuse to answer your question. What also makes this frustrating is that these people love to hear themselves talk so much, its nearly impossible to interrupt them and actually accomplish some troubleshooting. Here is an example call…

User: I am having problems with my printer, so far I have done….. (5 minute story)
Tech: OK, have you checked the cables?
User: Well I have…. (Repeats 5 minute story)
Tech: OK, but have you checked the cables?
User: Well I have…. (Repeats 5 minute story)
Tech: Did you check the cables to make sure they weren’t loose?
User: Well I have…. (Repeats 5 minute story)

The Troubleshooter

The troubleshooter is also like the Life Story and Repeater guy. The troubleshooter loves to hear himself talk. The only thing he love’s better is to force other people to hear him talk. He can be one of the most frustrating callers. Basically what the troubleshooter does is call you on the phone, and then does HIS troubleshooting while ignoring all your instructions. You could be 100% sure how to fix his problem, but he just makes you sit on the phone as he stumbles around trying to fix the problem himself. There are also different types of Troubleshooters. Some will actually follow a couple steps of your instructions, then when he thinks you got him a step closer to the resolution, he stops following your instructions and goes back to doing his own thing.

Doctor’s and Resident’s

There are all different types of Help Desks in the world, but the Help Desk that I work with is for Hospitals. Sadly this results in the Help Desk having to take calls from the biggest dicks on earth. So if you ever wondered why a Doctor or Resident is incredibly rude when they call in, well that’s very easy to explain. We are like lower life forms to them. They think of themselves as Gods. Think of a deadbeat dad, a murderer, and a racist combined all into one. Doctor’s think of us like that. There is only one thing in this world that pisses off a doctor more then anything! A doctor HATES it when you fix their computer problem. To have a bumbling peon like us fix their problem when they couldn’t do it can be very insulting to them. They are liable to go postal!

Old Women

Oh god help me! You might as well slam your head against the wall for a couple hours and hope that you might knock yourself unconscious because you might just put a bullet in your head if you talk to one of these gems too long. Many nurses are old women. And old women and computers just don’t mix. I will give you an example of a 100% true call that I took. It took 15 minutes to get an old lady to reboot her PC.

User: When I move my mouse it makes a clicking noise, and I have an error on my screen.
Tech: That’s OK, your PC locked up, you just need to reboot. Press and hold the power button on your PC for a couple seconds till it turns off, give it another 15 or so seconds, then turn it on.
(10 Seconds go by)
User: It’s doing the same thing
Tech: I think you turned off your monitor, press the power button on the computer
(10 Seconds go by)
User: It’s doing the same thing
Tech: Are you pressing the button on the screen?
User: Yes
Tech: Press the button on the computer, the box
(10 Seconds go by)
User: It’s doing the same thing
(This goes on for another 10 minutes or so)
Tech: OK, please stop pressing the button on the screen. I need you to press the power button on the rectangular box on the floor.
(10 Seconds go by)
User: It’s doing the same thing
Tech: OK, I want you to unplug everything from the power supply, and plug it back in.
(30 Seconds go by)
User: It’s doing the same thing
Tech: Can you put someone else on the phone?
User: OK
Tech: Can you reboot the PC please?
New User: Sure
(1 minute goes by)
New User: Its working fine now.

Complete Moron

Complete morons can be frustrating, but these are the calls that you get to share with your co-workers afterwards for some good laughs. Now let me first say that there is a difference between morons and people that are computer illiterate. Just because you aren’t good with computers, doesn’t mean that you are a moron. Its people that can’t follow directions is what makes them a moron. I am going to give you an example call that’s 100% true.

User: I cannot log on
Tech: What is the error message?
User: It says my account is locked out
Tech: OK, you are going to have to wait 30 minutes until your account unlocks
User: How do I do that?
Tech: …do what? Wait?
User: Yes
Tech: I don’t know how to answer that question.
(I put the user on hold)
Tech: Hey everyone, you know that saying that there are no stupid questions? I proved it wrong.

Captain Vague

 

Captain Vague is also a common caller. He likes to call the help desk and give you absolutely no useful information. The call usually starts off with you and him playing 20 questions just to find out what the initial problem is. A typical call goes something like this.

User: My computer is not working
Tech: What’s wrong with it?
User: Its just not working
(20 questions begin)
Tech: Does it turn on?
User: Yes
Tech: Does the mouse work?
User: Yes
Tech: Does the keyboard work?
User: Yes
Tech: Does the monitor turn on?
User: Yes
Tech: Did your printer stop working?
User: No
(User doesn’t want to play anymore.)
User: I need my password reset
Tech: See, that wasn’t so hard!

Golf Ball Mouth

There really isn’t anything special with these people, and you will recognize them right away because you won’t be able to understand a god damn thing they are saying. It sounds like they stuffed 5 golf balls in their mouth and decided to call the help desk.

The Mexican

Since our economy is doing so great, and we have so many available jobs out there, hospitals love to drive down to the Texas border in a large van. They wait till night time and start collecting all the illegal immigrants hopping the fence, and then make them registered nurses. These calls are really fun to get because you have no clue what they are saying because they barely speak English. And the best part is that you hear an American in the background barking orders to the Mexican on what to tell me, instead of actually getting on the phone themselves.

The Chinese

These calls can be exactly like the Mexican calls because you have no clue what they are saying. But what makes these calls even more special is that you spend the first 20 minutes of the call trying to get the correct spelling on their names. Horyishomaka Nagaminosurki
I am sure that on occasion that you will receive calls from really hairy people. Its hard to really tell if someone is hairy over the phone because you cannot visually see them, but I am sure that we get calls from them.

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