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Dealing With Support

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There are days when I’d rather deal with a million awkward clients, than have to send yet another e-mail to a support team. Argh!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m often quick to jump on others for getting nasty with support because I’ve been there… sat on the other end of the telephone line or e-mail inbox, with not a clue how to help the person in need of assistance because of their inability to correctly describe the problem or tell me how they reached the scenario they’re at. However, there are times when I think — and of course I’m always right ;) — that there are ways and methods of dealing with things.

It took me almost an hour today to get the information I needed from the support department of a host we (work) use, simply because they could not stop being defensive over their service. The ridiculous thing was that I had clearly stated that I was not necessarily annoyed at the downtime because sometimes shit happens and there’s nothing you can do except fix it and move on, but that was not an acceptable answer for me to give to my superiors.

By the time we finally reached the point where I had the information that I needed to pass on to the relevant people, I was being lectured by said same support for wasting time they could have used to deal with other customers and issues. I am aware I am an awkward bugger, and one hell of a client to deal with when I want something doing… but had they not dicked around for that length of time trying to justify crap that I wasn’t particularly interested in, I would have not had to “waste their time”.

I’m not naming names here because generally the service from this company is good. There is rarely downtime and support is fast, often putting up with my inane questions and badgering. Compared to a lot of hosts out there, they’re pretty “hot” when it comes to their hosting. However, sometimes I think they need to bear in mind the phrase “the customer is always right” and just get the bloody hell on with it.

Jem Turner jem@jemjabella.co.uk +44(0)7521056376

16 comments so far

  1. Aaron said:

    I always make my parents call the support line when it’s needed. I can do it myself and I usually am the one who has all of the information but I can’t stand being on the phone with someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about. It’s the worst with our ISP. Sometimes they’re really helpful and know exactly what to do. Whenever I call them, though, I always get the idiot who doesn’t understand what I mean when I say our modem is broken or something.

  2. Jem said:

    @Aaron: unfortunately, I think phone support is not always ideal. It’s not generally because the person on the other end of the phone is an idiot (although there are exceptions), it’s that there are a million and one possibilities for something being broken and without being there and seeing for yourself, you cannot always diagnose the problem. It’s much like when people e-mail me and say something like “my css navigation isn’t working, the third link is sticking out too much” – that means bugger all to me. I have to SEE the problem in front of me, and see the code that is causing it. Of course, like I said, there are always exceptions and sometimes useless support (because it’s a crappy-paid, thankless job) but I think in the case of my post it wasn’t that they didn’t know what they were doing, they were simply being far too stubborn to give me the answers I was looking for.

  3. Jordan said:

    I know exactly how you feel about support in regards to understanding the other side of it and trying to be civil, but lately one of the hosts I am with right now for a side project, have been lacking. I’m already waiting on a response about my server’s node configurations causing it to constantly go into black (high resource usage, when clearly none of the sites are spiking it) and it’s been about 15hours since the guy said: “I will ask an admin to check the privvmpages alerts and see what can be done.” He must have to walk pretty far to ask this admin! I’m usually descriptive to the point where I know support is annoyed with me and try to turn things around. I’ve had them forward my ticket to sales once when I told them to restore a control panel backup I had under a home directory. Psh! As if! I wasn’t asking them to restore a backup from their drives; I even said that the tar.gz file could be found under the ‘home’ and that since I had no root access, they had to restore the cpmove file… grrrrrowl!

  4. Angela said:

    I really like how they blamed you for wasting their time when they were the ones wasting time by badgering you about things you didn’t complain about. Thats cute. I’m sure you pointed that out to them when they started that line of crap right? :P

  5. Vera said:

    Oh I’m so scared of having to do support for anyone. Which reminds me, I can’t believe I sort of offered to fix someone’s ImageReady image maps (and I don’t even know how to code image maps – declared war on them). As for what they told you : gah! I hate those people. My mom had a similar problem with a painter that was working on the flat we inherited from my grandma. She went to see what the guy did, and the guy started talking and would never shut up – making mom waste time, especially since she couldn’t even get a word in. And then he tells her “I’m sorry madam I really must get back to work, you made me waste a lot of time”. Cheek or what?!

  6. Bubs said:

    Actually, KNOCK ON WOOD, I’ve never had a problem with any support teams I’ve contacted. Believe it or not. I feel for you, though.

  7. Rachel said:

    Sorry about your troubles, Jem…that’s ridiculous. :( I think the worst I’ve ever had with support is waiting two weeks for a reply…

  8. Rhys said:

    I used to work in a call centre, and we were voted the best call centre in the UK. Probably because we actually went for months of TRAINING, as opposed to reading from a script. I think there’s something in the air about call centres, one of my other blogs made their feelings known too http://tinyurl.com/3aaq9a

  9. Brenda said:

    So far, most of the hosting companies I’ve hosted with have terrible support. I don’t know whether it is just me being picky, or is it really a problem with the host. :( Apparently, my current host accused me of expecting too much recently.

  10. Kelly said:

    The worst support I’ve ever dealt with was AOL (when we had them as our ISP around three years ago). All I wanted was a password reset! The guy on the other end of the line had no clue.. He was trying to tell me the “fixes” for broadband, when we only had dial-up. He kept saying “It says on the screen that you’re a broadband user, Ms. Cotterall.” and I kept replying with “I’m a dial-up user, I can assure you, and my name isn’t Ms. Cotterall.” Poor guy. After the name mix up, it took another three hours just to get my bloody password reset. I have to admit, most support I have dealt with are actually quite competant (*knocks on wood*).

  11. Kimmie said:

    Whenever I call support, I’m just like, “Hello? You’re Barbara? That’s nice. Barbara, I need to talk to your boss’s boss. That’s right. I’m just going to skip a lot of wasting your time, your boss’s time, and go straight to the head man. Thank you.”

  12. Mallory said:

    I have to do support for my grandfather when he needs it. Spent 3 hours on a phone trying to set up his internet, finding that they changed something without telling him. Oh, and this one guy I had from HP was pretty bad. Needed to replace my new-just out of the box-laptop and he completely messed up the work order. But both those things got fixed. It’s pretty much a mixed bag with support. Some people are good, others suck or the whole company could be down the toilet.

  13. Stephanie said:

    I’ve never actually been on the side receiving support, so I can only imagine that’s like. This post somewhat reminds me of your t-shirt that says “User Error”.

  14. Kachii said:

    I’ve been an IT helpdesk support technician before and I’ve dealt with awkward clients. One client of mine claimed their PC crashed every time they opened an email. I spent approximately five hours sending and opening emails with various different attachments, etc. in every possible scenario trying to make it crash and it just wouldn’t crash and the client refused to tell me any more information and refused to pay until I’d fixed this non-problem. But I can also be the moaning client when a support team can’t fix the problem or tell me why such and such a thing happened. As far as I’m concerned I’m always right and when someone decides to tell me otherwise I get angry :P but I don’t usually get rude support. Just support that like to repeatedly give me the same answers when I know that’s definitely not the problem, or tell me that it’s something to do with my PC and not their service when I know that’s not true. BT came round here once to check the phoneline for noise etc. when my connection kept dropping/losing sync. The technician guy asked me if any errors came up on the computer when the internet disconnected and I’m like, “no! why would it?!” and he’s like, “can I see?” and I’m like, “no! I’m an IT tech! I know more about computers than you, it’s NOT my PC, you can go back to fixing the PHONELINE!”

  15. Melissa said:

    Wow, how lame. :( Some people just don’t get it. Reminds me sorta of what a friend and I are dealing with her website now. I helped her with her site last year when I was still hosted by my old hosting company and we naturally just bought hosting and her domain name through them. Since then, the company has gone extremely downhill and I’ve switched. But she stayed because she’s not that web-savvy and was fine with what she had. But she’s been trying to add on a new domain to her site for the past week and a half and the lame ass support messed up the order and then hasn’t even sent her the registration information yet after several days. Seriously, how long does it take to register a domain name! ARG! GoDaddy for the win. I will never register my domain with my hosting company ever. /rant off … Hehe, sorry for rambling! XD

  16. Chans said:

    I always try to be nice when talking to support as I usually am aware that here they generally use students that want to make some extra money. I don’t think I’m an easy client, I generally have an idea what I’m talking about and what I already tried to get the problem fixed. That seems to throw the support service off and they just recommend to reinstall my windows.. You would think they would appreciate a client that knows what the hell their talking about and can actually do some more things than a computer-illiterate

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