Even though I have left the day-to-day challenges of tech support, I still have to face tech support for my own needs. This week, I had 2 back-to-back issues that were a bit frustrating, if not terribly troublesome. What was more annoying was how I was treated during these exchanges. As someone who has sat on both sides of the tech support desk, I think I understand a bit about the challenges faced there. That said, I also recognize some of the pitfalls that all tech support folks can fall into.
I was experiencing some very odd troubles with my web host. While the site was up and running, my own, personal, home IP address was being locked out of the site for 60 mins about every hour. I would be working along and “Bam” no connection. It wasn’t just web access either. I couldn’t get in via ftp and it was the same for every computer on my network. After a little research, I had a pretty good idea of what was happening and sent in a trouble ticket. It all seemed to hinge on some security updates that had installed on April 1, when I first started having issues.
When I submit a trouble ticket for anything, I am always careful to provide as much detail as I can and also a detailed list of my own troubleshooting. This was no exception. My goal is to make it as easy as possible for not only myself, but also the person handling the ticket. Of course, after doing all this — and waiting almost 3 days for a response — the reply I received had nothing to do with the problem I had reported. The tech support had locked at the site, saw a common problem with all shared servers, reported that to me and closed the ticket. The problem being, of course, that they had ignored EVERYTHING I had placed in the ticket to show that this was not a typical problem, but something fairly esoteric and, I thought, specific to changes that had been made recently.
I replied to tech support again, with further explanation, and awaited a reply. While I was waiting, I researched my issue in Twitter and found others who were experiencing issues with their web hosting at the same company. While my problem was indeed different, the conversation I had on Twitter caught the eye on my web hosting company’sTwitter support group. This, not reporting the issue through the “proper” channels resolved my issues rather quickly, considering I had been suffering with them for almost 4 days.
I don’t feel I should have had to complain on Twitter to get my problem solved, nor should the original tech support person glossed over my initial report. Sure, I understand, you want to close tickets as quickly as possible, but telling a client that the problem is their fault, when it clearly is not, is sure to generate frustration and even anger. Despite all the advancements of the Internet and other technology, our tech support systems are still mired in aged systems and attitudes. While I understand that many of the people who contact tech support are beginners, to assume that everyone you talk with is an idiot by default seems counterproductive at best and outright rude at the worst. Let people show their ignorance– or their knowledge — on an individual basis and take each interaction as a new, unknown, possibility. I think everyone will be happier.