Monday, May 01, 2006

Helper monkeys gone wrong

Regular readers will be aware of my increased frustration with uni students. Some of you would even be aware of my ongoing fantasy of punching the bastards in the face (repeatedly) when I cross their paths in public - Like on the public transport they infest with inane chatter & squealing. Or when they attempt to buy coffee at the same place I do and clog up the lines with their hapless stupidity, unable to make the simplest of decisions, like soy, or regular milk. Fucking cretins.

Anyhow - I think it's time we introduce the partial cause of my ongoing frustration with students (for new readers, I work at a university in a service capacity), because to be fair students pay us, and then be a pain in the arse. The group I'm about to introduce are actually paid to filter out the most pain-in-the-arseish elements of our job. They're meant to act as a barrier of sensibility between us, and them. They are meant to be the gatekeepers, if you will. But, in order to fulfil this role in its entirety, they are meant to be competent. And that's where the whole system crumbles. This group? The good ol' helpdesk.

I'm sure we all have our helpdesk horror stories - something breaks, and you end up with some fuckhead on the other end of the phone trying to tell you to check your powerpoints, even though you're actually calling about a software incompatibility. But I've been on both sides of this razor topped, 6-foot thick concrete wall of a fence, and I understand there are a lot of morons that helpdeskers have to deal with, so there's a great deal of dumbing down of information handed out to people in case they pick up the scissors and start running, so to speak. But in this age of IT-meets-customer-service, we're seeing a real, genuine stupidity in heldpesk roles. Hirers care only about the customers experience of friendliness over the phone, not the end result of the 'help' they recieve; so sunshine-and-fucking-lollipop personalities keep being hired into these roles, completely unable to dispense anything that resembles technical advice. What's worse, is that these people fail to understand that sometimes, 'customers' requesting advice actually do require a good kick to the head. Some people are just arseholes and will take helpdeskers for a very fucking long ride, and then get them into large and horrendous amounts of trouble, just for the pleasure of it. You can literally bend over backwards for these people, for something that's completely unreasonable, do them a massive favour and put yourself on the line in the process; but at the end of the day these pricks will still complain and try to get you fired. Why? Because they're bored, overpaid jerks who can't understand why someone employed in a service capacity should not wipe their arses for them. This is why you need to have a helpdesk staffed with people who actually know what they're talking about, and can see through the bullshit.

But no, that's not how it's done anymore, is it? Helpdesk at the uni's I've worked at have been reformed within an inch of their lives, and have virtually turned into a messaging service - calls come in via phone or email, and they distribute them to the most appropriate department. Sounds cool, right? Sounds like it'll work well, yeah? But what happens when you employ people with very lovely sounding voices and excellent manners and customer service, but with no fucking organisational skills? You fucking piss people like me off, and increase our workload 20-fold; that's what.

No really, i
t can't be that bad, can it?, You say.
Well, I assure you, it can.

No, you're just exaggerating
Nope, 'fraid not.
Yes you are.



Right. Now we've got rid of the timewasters, lets get into the gory details; to do our job properly at this end, we require three simple pieces of information - identification, details of the problem, and where the problem occurs. Doesn't sound hard, does it? But at least a third of our calls are missing at least one of these pieces of information. Sometimes, we actually get calls that don't have a single piece of any of that information there;

"Can you fix John's problem? Thanks"

And that's the extent of it. Ah, that John! Of course, why didn't I think of him earlier? It all makes sense now! All I have to do now is work out what his fucking problem is!

And yeah, a lot of this happens because the user doesn't send in all the info to begin with - but what the fuck is the point of sending it to us, just so we can't do anything with it?! We'll close off the call, the user will get all pissed, and then start bitching and moaning, and in some cases, crying, until we manage to sort what passes for information out of their babbled, inane, tear-slurred speech. Fucking idiots.

But this brings me back to my main point - we're not paid to deal with these arseholes! We're not paid to analyse their particular brand of insanity into a coherant request for a new password! The helpdesk is, which is why you couldn't pay me enough to work on a helpdesk ever again. It fucking sucks.

I think we should have a response button to incomplete calls - one that sets off an elaborate series of contraptions, but has the end result of either a staple-gun at point blank to a preferred area of the body, or maybe a boot up the arse, Warner Bros. style. Call it incentive, if you will.

I know there are good helpdeskers up there working under duress, and I feel sincrely sorry for them. I really do. But one false move, and BAM! staple to the hand, rantolotl style!

Coming to helpdesk near you! (minus the children)

P.S. For extended theory on Scones, check out rantinan's lj


Bozza said...

Ah reading over your last few posts in relation to the matters in question, makes me glad I'm not working at the uni you work in. Putting up with unrealisticly happy students and snobby academics must make you glad you'll potentially become a train driver in the next few months.

I'm looking forward to potentially becoming one aswell, mainly because I've nearly reached the point where I'm completely over studying (as in I'm over it not over-studying). The other reason is that I look forward to finally giving Coles the flick.

I have a question about these uni students annoying the shit out of everyone else around on public transport, do the ever go to such extremes as holding the doors open for their uni mates, if they do then just think, if you become a train driver you'll be able to publicly humiliate them via the train's PA system.

Bozza said...

One more thing I will just say. I realise that were I to become a TRAINee (pardon the pun). I wouldn't be able to give studying the flick in an instant, because I hear the manual trainee train drivers have to learn, well, is ultra thick. So it wouldn't be for another year and a bit after securing the position that I would finally be able to say goodbye to studying!

Kipper said...

There's nothing worse than ringing up to get tech support only to find that the person on the other end of the phone knows less than you about the technology.

It's like when you go to a shop to buy a piece of hardware and you say "no, as i said i don't want THAT graphics card because it's not DirectX 9 compatible" and they don't believe you, insist on checking on the internet and try to sell it to you anyway because they're a MAN and you're not so what the fuck would you know.

Long live the Square Scone: the Workers' Scone!

Elegant, simple, functional. No bourgeois fucking around with biscuit cutters.

the rantolotl said...

urgh, don't get me started on IT salespeople. This is why EBay was invented. It cuts out the uninformed arrogance.

And don't you start again with the square scone rubbish. Tell me, do the working class not own glassware? You fucking filthy patriarch! Let the workers decide! You will see!