The Usual Tech Ramblings

Minimum Requirements for Technical Support positions

I had a rant about this before, I’m trying to recover the DB and put it on here so it’s more complete, and not so empty, but here we go again.

I have to deal with software that I know nothing about, and have little use for. Our DB Admin uses it, and I occasionally peek at it, watching just enough to get me information I need to problem solve if DB issues occur. Unfortunately the latest version appears to have a bug in it. When attempting to install an agent on Microsoft SQL Server 2000, it has a minimum requirements of SQL 2000 SP3. That’s all well and good, and I can live with minimum requirements, nearly everything has them. However, when you are running two SQL servers, one with SP3, and one with SP4 and they both return the error message “Your version of SQL server is outdated”, you tend to scratch your head a bit.

So I resigned to the fact I’d probably need to call technical support. For a change, I was plesently surprised at the methodology they have picked for their support center. I believe all centers should take a good look at this methodology. Basically you call in and describe your issue, the person you speak to is slightly technical (ie, enough to be dangerous), he then gets callback information from you, and then goes on his merry way on sorting out a callback. The ticket gets assigned to a technician, the technician then calls you back. This is great because it means you don’t have to sit and listen to crappy jingles all day while waiting on hold for several hours.

Now back on track, now that I have given the company some good praise. I think the minimum requirements for supporting an application, hardware, service, or anything, should be the following…

Technical knowledge about what you are supporting. This is actually obvious, you should expect the people to know more about the product they are supporting than the people that are calling. While in general I can expect some long time users to know more than the help desk, for 90% of all callers, the HelpDesk should know more.

Courteous. Okay, another given obvious. I shouldn’t expect to be treated like I’m a 10 year old girl with no technical knowledge at all. While I do accept the fact that they will probably get calls from people with little technical knowledge, when I start exhibiting abilities to use a computer, and have more than a general understanding of computers, I expect the level of support to be altered to reflect such.

The most important one, that I cannot seem to stress at all… Understandability. I must be able to understand the person I am talking to. I cannot begin to explain how difficult it is to talk to a person where English is actually their 5th or 6th language after their native languages. It might be all well and good that Outsourcing technical support issues overseas is helping overall profit, but when I phone to get support on a product, and I cannot understand a single word the person has said, I’m not likely to go back for products, or support in the future.

There… ranted… I feel better now. At least this call wasn’t too bad, better than calling Compaq/HP anyway.