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From Where I Sit: Users

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From Where I Sit: Users
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DepricatedZeroChat ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 1333Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 11:43 amLocation: Cincinnati, OH Gender: Pinecone

Post From Where I Sit: Users

I've been working Tech Support for the past 5 years, and helping my friends and family with their computers for far longer. In my time I've come to realize that there are four types of base users in the world.

Now before I get in to them, lets analyze my process first. Some of my earliest customer service training came from YUM! Brands and their Customer Mania 'philosophy.' Honestly, it's pretty sensible and I apply the concept and intent of CHAMPS to my work, even if it isn't cooking. That said, I'm an awesome tech and I even have a few raving fan customers. But what do I do that's so awesome?

A lot of things. Maybe another time I'll post how I address customers. One goal I make of every call is to educate each user so that they don't just make the same mistake again. This alone is wildly different than some of my coworkers - many of whom don't even verify that the customer they were just talking to was able to log in with the password they reset.

Which brings me to the topic at hand. The types of users I run in to, are distinct in how they learn.

Type 1) The Tech Savvy
These users know what they're doing. Really. I mean that. This would be a call from a net admin or another support agent. Occasionally you get users who aren't involved in the network hierarchy who really do know what they're doing, too. There's not too much to say about these guys. If the error is on their end, they'll typically ask what they had done wrong - or reason it out - long before you get around to teaching them to avoid the mistake.

Type 2) The Technojoy Club
For this I've tapped Eddie Izzard. These are the users who think they know what they're doing, and are invariably the most dangerous. They've thrown away the manual, gotten into the BIOS, and now want you to show them how to load World of Warcraft. They've gone through and 'straightened up' the registry. They buy Norton products and then get angry at the network team when they contract a virus from superhotandvirusinfectedgirlwarez.com (disclaimer: I have not verified that that site does not exist, it was made up, I recommend not testing if you're on a windows or mac computer). Typically, these users feel like the problem wasn't on their end, you fucked it up. Occasionally you'll run into the Technojoy User who is more than happy to learn how to do things right - these are fast on their way to becoming Tech Savvy.

Type 3) The User
When the insult is thrown "Geez man, you're such a User" this is what we're referring to. Whether they realize it or not, these people have very little to no understanding of computers. The majority of tech support jokes comes from these users. These are perhaps the easiest to work with: they listen to what you say and respond accordingly. Sometimes their responses can be frustrating, such as writing the word "click" on top of their desk when you tell them "right click on the desktop," but for the most part they do as you ask and the job gets done well. If you explain a single sequence to them, and sometimes it helps to show, they'll grasp it and understand how to do that properly - as long as it's not too convoluted.

Type 4) The Luddite
These are the "is there a 5 year old around?" users. Sometimes they know they don't care, sometimes they don't. In the case that they don't, you're in for a long call. They'll ignore half of what you say, and misinterpret the other half. Sometimes I think they do it maliciously. They don't respond to anything you say, and if you're lucky you can squeeze half of the information you need out of them. It truly boggles the mind. If they do know they don't care, you luck out - they'll either demand an on-site tech to handle their password reset or demand you remote in and fix the computer. Educating the Luddite is a fool's errand.
Why does my life have to be so small
And death is forever
And does forever have a life to call its own?
Don't give me an answer cause you only know
As much as I know
Unless you've been there once
And I hardly think so

Green Day - One of My Lies
Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:07 am
hackenslashLime TordUser avatarPosts: 2439Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:43 pm Gender: Cake

Post Re: From Where I Sit: Users

You're missing one, and one that I think constitutes the largest group:

The Clicker: This is the user that, while you are talking to them, is clicking away, only half listening, and then telliung you that what you're telling them isn't working. You can tell them easily. You tell them to click one thing and you hear three or four clicks over the phone, because they're either being impatient and clicking multiple times, or they're actually clicking on lots of things and not taking in what you're saying. They always complain about how slow computers are, because they can't stop fucking clicking!
Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:00 am
ProlescumWebhamsterUser avatarPosts: 5009Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:41 pmLocation: Peptone-upon-Sores

Post Re: From Where I Sit: Users

hackenslash wrote:You're missing one, and one that I think constitutes the largest group:

The Clicker: This is the user that, while you are talking to them, is clicking away, only half listening, and then telliung you that what you're telling them isn't working. You can tell them easily. You tell them to click one thing and you hear three or four clicks over the phone, because they're either being impatient and clicking multiple times, or they're actually clicking on lots of things and not taking in what you're saying. They always complain about how slow computers are, because they can't stop fucking clicking!


Totally. My best mate Mr Malaprop is one. Extremely frustrating. Fortunately, there's VNC.
if constructive debate is allowed to progress, better ideas will ultimately supplant worse ideas.

Comment is free, but facts are sacred
Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:27 am
Master_Ghost_KnightContributorUser avatarPosts: 2749Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 11:57 pmLocation: Netherlands Gender: Male

Post Re: From Where I Sit: Users

I am an amature, but from time to time I get called to fix someones computer. The guys that do know their stuff don't contact me, they fix it themselves. The guys that don't know tomuch about computers generaly think that you have performed some hardcore hack when you pop up the bios system to specify the booting order (so you can use the instalation cd), they rely believe that you are a computer genius and tend to willing want to pay more then what the service may cost and buy you a beer aftewards. Or either I only get nice people or people to desperate. There are some situation where the problem is between the chair and the keyboard and those are particularly dificult situations to explain that there is absoluty nothing wrong with their computers.
"I have an irrefutable argument for the existence of...." NO, STOP! You are already wrong!
Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:03 pm
ImprobableJoeUser avatarPosts: 6195Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 3:24 pm

Post Re: From Where I Sit: Users

My parents don't know how to use a computer, but they decided to buy one so that they could webcam with my brother's kid, and "do that email thing". Previous to this, they thought that the monitor was "the computer" and the tower was just a huge CD player. :facepalm:

Somehow, every few weeks my dad completely fucks up the computer and calls me, and expects me to troubleshoot it from 500 miles away over the phone. Good times.
Come visit my blog! There will be punch and pie!
Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:54 pm
wolfrayetUser avatarPosts: 118Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2010 11:12 am Gender: Male

Post Re: From Where I Sit: Users

DepricatedZero wrote:
Type 1) The Tech Savvy
These users know what they're doing. Really. I mean that. This would be a call from a net admin or another support agent. Occasionally you get users who aren't involved in the network hierarchy who really do know what they're doing, too. There's not too much to say about these guys. If the error is on their end, they'll typically ask what they had done wrong - or reason it out - long before you get around to teaching them to avoid the mistake.

Type 2) The Technojoy Club
For this I've tapped Eddie Izzard. These are the users who think they know what they're doing, and are invariably the most dangerous. They've thrown away the manual, gotten into the BIOS, and now want you to show them how to load World of Warcraft. They've gone through and 'straightened up' the registry. They buy Norton products and then get angry at the network team when they contract a virus from superhotandvirusinfectedgirlwarez.com (disclaimer: I have not verified that that site does not exist, it was made up, I recommend not testing if you're on a windows or mac computer). Typically, these users feel like the problem wasn't on their end, you fucked it up. Occasionally you'll run into the Technojoy User who is more than happy to learn how to do things right - these are fast on their way to becoming Tech Savvy.

Type 3) The User
When the insult is thrown "Geez man, you're such a User" this is what we're referring to. Whether they realize it or not, these people have very little to no understanding of computers. The majority of tech support jokes comes from these users. These are perhaps the easiest to work with: they listen to what you say and respond accordingly. Sometimes their responses can be frustrating, such as writing the word "click" on top of their desk when you tell them "right click on the desktop," but for the most part they do as you ask and the job gets done well. If you explain a single sequence to them, and sometimes it helps to show, they'll grasp it and understand how to do that properly - as long as it's not too convoluted.

Type 4) The Luddite
These are the "is there a 5 year old around?" users. Sometimes they know they don't care, sometimes they don't. In the case that they don't, you're in for a long call. They'll ignore half of what you say, and misinterpret the other half. Sometimes I think they do it maliciously. They don't respond to anything you say, and if you're lucky you can squeeze half of the information you need out of them. It truly boggles the mind. If they do know they don't care, you luck out - they'll either demand an on-site tech to handle their password reset or demand you remote in and fix the computer. Educating the Luddite is a fool's errand.


Very funny, I can relate to this so much - Don't you just hate it when you have to deal with a really difficult software problem & you think the user on the other end is a little PC savvy - you then ask "ok goto Start/Programs".........then you get a long silence & you just know your flucked for the next 2 hours.
Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:25 pm
FaithlessThinkerUser avatarPosts: 618Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:41 am Gender: Cake

Post Re: From Where I Sit: Users

Sometimes I refer to the Start Menu button as the "Start Orb" (thanks to Windows Vista), and the other person goes "What orb?!"

I go like, "Dude, get updated!" in my mind but contend with saying "I mean the Start menu button.. you know the round thing with Windows logo at the left end of the taskbar..."

I don't believe computers can be taught any more than TV's and washing machines can be. If you can't get your student to pass Lesson 1 with a decent level of understanding, it's written in stone that he'll always be a computer noob. Knowing computers is a talent, not a skill. (Thankfully I'm blessed with this talent.)
It was my honest attempt to find a more pure form of God that made me realise that there was none.”
— Master_Ghost_Knight
Previously known as anon1986sing. You can call me FT. :)
Wed Aug 18, 2010 7:06 pm
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hackenslashLime TordUser avatarPosts: 2439Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:43 pm Gender: Cake

Post Re: From Where I Sit: Users

Speaking as somebody who has taught music and music technology, along with general computer skills, I have to disagree with that. As with anything in education, the key is generating points of reference, which have to be tailored for the student in question. Tryng the same approach with all will get varying results, but varying approach will give consistent results. Computers aren't difficult, after all.
Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:24 pm
DepricatedZeroChat ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 1333Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 11:43 amLocation: Cincinnati, OH Gender: Pinecone

Post Re: From Where I Sit: Users

Ya the clicker is such a good example. I think they'd fall between Users and Luddites.
Why does my life have to be so small
And death is forever
And does forever have a life to call its own?
Don't give me an answer cause you only know
As much as I know
Unless you've been there once
And I hardly think so

Green Day - One of My Lies
Thu Aug 19, 2010 5:09 am
FaithlessThinkerUser avatarPosts: 618Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:41 am Gender: Cake

Post Re: From Where I Sit: Users

I don't disagree with you. Computers aren't difficult. But because computers are so versatile, I just feel you can't become a master simply by developing computer skills. Somehow no matter how skilled you become in using computers (or a specialized field in computers, such as a specific software), if you lack the talent, you lack the ability to become a master (aka Tech Savvy). And sadly there's nothing you can do about it.*

Anecdote: I'm in the process of obtaining a degree in Computer Science. More than three quarters of my classmates hardly know anything about computers beyond their curriculum (as in, they don't have the talent to work things out by themselves and have to be taught.) Nevertheless, all of them are fairly skilled in what is covered in the curriculum.

* I'm thinking this might change in the future as new generations become more tech savvy than the previous. I guess evolution needs a little bit more time to catch up with technology.

DepricatedZero wrote:Ya the clicker is such a good example. I think they'd fall between Users and Luddites.
Type 3.5) The Clicker
It was my honest attempt to find a more pure form of God that made me realise that there was none.”
— Master_Ghost_Knight
Previously known as anon1986sing. You can call me FT. :)
Thu Aug 19, 2010 5:28 am
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Jotto999User avatarPosts: 572Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 11:18 amLocation: Ontario, Canada Gender: Male

Post Re: From Where I Sit: Users

My dad will try to do something, have a minor snag come up but not know how to fix it, and then try to just continue without knowing about the snag. He'll sit there getting super frustrated and the next time I talk to him about his computer he rants about how "the stupid thing just won't do what I want it to", and mention fantasizing about using a sledgehammer.

I'd call someone like that the "self-destructor" or something like that, because instead of getting someone to help them they will just sit there and keep trying. Even if it's futile and they really do need help with it, but they insist on sitting there getting extremely frustrated.
With poor mental and physical health, happiness is like smoke that you reach for with bare hands. With great health, happiness is just pouring into your lap all the time.
Thu Aug 19, 2010 5:48 am
DepricatedZeroChat ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 1333Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 11:43 amLocation: Cincinnati, OH Gender: Pinecone

Post Re: From Where I Sit: Users

That reminds me of this

Why does my life have to be so small
And death is forever
And does forever have a life to call its own?
Don't give me an answer cause you only know
As much as I know
Unless you've been there once
And I hardly think so

Green Day - One of My Lies
Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:53 am
ProlescumWebhamsterUser avatarPosts: 5009Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 8:41 pmLocation: Peptone-upon-Sores

Post Re: From Where I Sit: Users

if constructive debate is allowed to progress, better ideas will ultimately supplant worse ideas.

Comment is free, but facts are sacred
Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:39 am
DepricatedZeroChat ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 1333Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 11:43 amLocation: Cincinnati, OH Gender: Pinecone

Post Re: From Where I Sit: Users

aaaaaaaaaand
Why does my life have to be so small
And death is forever
And does forever have a life to call its own?
Don't give me an answer cause you only know
As much as I know
Unless you've been there once
And I hardly think so

Green Day - One of My Lies
Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:36 am
nevpaynePosts: 45Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:07 pmLocation: SW England UK Gender: Tree

Post Re: From Where I Sit: Users

10 years in the business here too.

"Most" of the people I deal with are skilled to the day-to-day office process and only slip up when it's something new and different (the new Office 2007/2010 layout being a perfect example).

The people where failure arises more than most are the field-reps we employ. A couple of them are very IT-savvy, the remainder shouldn't be allowed near computers. My company made the mistake of taking on 2 of these a few years back which triggered a heavy IT requirement to go into every job-spec since. Still doesn't stop from bullsh'ing they way through interviews :x

The phone calls I really wish I could get less of are the simple ones, the "Can't find X, how do I do Y, Z isn't loading" calibre of calls. PCs aren't invinsible like some people seem to think. A simple restart, or a Google to your solution would save me a year of my life. ;)
Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:45 am
DepricatedZeroChat ModeratorUser avatarPosts: 1333Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 11:43 amLocation: Cincinnati, OH Gender: Pinecone

Post Re: From Where I Sit: Users

Some of my gems:

My supervisor at my first tech support job called me to her desk. She was trying to get website to load but couldn't figure out why it wouldn't She needed to get to it so she could email the PMO. I get to her desk and the website she's trying to go to is, and I swear I'm not making this up: PMO-West@xxxx.com

This is the help desk supervisor.

I work third shift. Recently, we've been undergoing a process to train all agents on all the accounts supported by the company. The third shift supervisor was also trained to take calls on my primary account, so that he could handle overflow on it if a call came in while I was on a call for another account. The result? If 3 calls come in at the same time for the account, which is semi-regular, I have the FNG at my desk asking me how to fix an admittedly complex problem, and the supervisor IMing me asking me how to empty the deleted items folder in Outlook, AND I'm trying to field a call at the same time. The FNG is better now, he knows what he's doing. The supervisor still hasn't a clue though. We've decided that his MCSE stands for "Must Call Someone Else."
Why does my life have to be so small
And death is forever
And does forever have a life to call its own?
Don't give me an answer cause you only know
As much as I know
Unless you've been there once
And I hardly think so

Green Day - One of My Lies
Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:22 pm
borrofburiModeratorPosts: 3527Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 5:27 pm Gender: Male

Post Re: From Where I Sit: Users

anon1986sing wrote:Sometimes I refer to the Start Menu button as the "Start Orb" (thanks to Windows Vista), and the other person goes "What orb?!"

I go like, "Dude, get updated!" in my mind but contend with saying "I mean the Start menu button.. you know the round thing with Windows logo at the left end of the taskbar..."

I don't believe computers can be taught any more than TV's and washing machines can be. If you can't get your student to pass Lesson 1 with a decent level of understanding, it's written in stone that he'll always be a computer noob. Knowing computers is a talent, not a skill. (Thankfully I'm blessed with this talent.)

There is some evidence to suggest you're not wrong: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2006/0 ... goats.html


Similarly: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2007/0 ... ogram.html
Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:59 pm
FaithlessThinkerUser avatarPosts: 618Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 10:41 am Gender: Cake

Post Re: From Where I Sit: Users

borrofburi wrote:There is some evidence to suggest you're not wrong: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2006/0 ... goats.html

Similarly: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2007/0 ... ogram.html

Great find! I enjoyed reading them :D
It was my honest attempt to find a more pure form of God that made me realise that there was none.”
— Master_Ghost_Knight
Previously known as anon1986sing. You can call me FT. :)
Tue Aug 24, 2010 4:45 am
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TheFlyingBastardUser avatarPosts: 787Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 3:17 am Gender: Male

Post Re: From Where I Sit: Users

Not a technical story, but still about the stupidity of users.

i worked at an ISP helldesk on the administrative department. Sometimes people would want to cancel their account because of some tech issues, and I was the first line of defense to these people.

One of them called to cancel their internet service 2 weeks into their 1 year contract. When I asked why, he told me he had no demarc and thus could not use it. So I checked the status of the signal, and sure enough, we were delivering to his house. This meant that he DID have a demarc.
Confronted with this, he said: "Yes, I know, it IS there, but it's behind a wall."
- "A wall?"
"Yes. We've just built that wall so now we can't use the demarc."

Then he got upset at me for not canceling his contract without costs.

:facepalm:
Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:34 am
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