Wednesday, April 09, 2008

More rants fror the life of a DSL tech support rep.

I just signed in the other day to my part time tech job and looked at the recent observations. The main company where we work tend to monitor our calls quite often, which is a tad bit overkill. I have gotten anywhere from perfect calls at 100% to "Needs Improvement". There is one woman who I swear is on the war path with me. On one of her comments she says, "Borderline sarcastic with customer". I was "borderline sarcastic with the customer because the clueless guy was like, "Oh? You want me to look for my start button?" He apparently thought I could magically get into his computer, fix his problem and get off. We do use a tool called Log Me In Rescue that allows us to sign in people's computers and fix things. I have used this tool a few times. The last time I tried to use it, the user was not smart enough to run the little applet that allows me access and it was taking over 10 minutes just to get to that point. I admit was borderline sarcastic with the customer, telling the guy, "Sir, you have to look for the start button on your screen."

I also get points counted off for not using the customer's name and not validating the customer's information. How ironic is that? I normally get that right when the customer gives me their billing telephone number. I am not sure if these folks who are monitoring our calls actually listen to the whole call or do they just deduct the points they think they need to and call it a day? I have told my Team Lead and I ready to come up during the day to have a little meeting with these monitoring folks to find out what their problem is. Of course, I am liable to tell them off and end up getting fired from the part time job. My Team Lead has re-monitored a few of the reps calls and they have been way off in terms of counting points off. When he finds things like this, he sends them over to the Admins so they can have the Admins contact the company who we are taking calls from. I am also amazed that I get counted off for my "tone". Excuse me, I put on the fake "Radio DJ" voice when I take calls. My father who used to work as a Journalist in the Army for over 20 years calls it the "Peter Puker" voice. I am not sure how an upbeat voice would get points off for "tone"? Maybe I should answer my calls in an Indian accent, "Thank you for calling...this is Sandeep, How can I help you with phenomenal service?"

This company sends out surveys in which customers can send those back into the company to show how good or bad a rep does. Usually, these are sent to the main account and users never check them. Every once in awhile, I will go into one of those surveys for the customer and give myself all high scores and in the comment section, fill in how polite and courteous I was. I try not to do too many of these for fear they might catch on. Besides, a little pat on the back never hurt dealing with clueless people.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Trying to join the gym here at work.

I decided since I do not have time to go hit my local Gold's Gym during lunch, I would join the gym at work so I can at least start doing more cardio. We had a Healthy Heart screening and everything was fine other than my Cholesterol level. I fill out the papers and roll into our Fitness center office which is run by this bubbly trainer who looks like she lives in the gym. She checks my blood pressure and everything is fine there. She asks about my Cholesterol and I tell her thats they reason why I want to start working out at work since I need to work out more as well as change up my diet more. I am already scheduled for a onsite physical with a doctor who is coming to my work 2 weeks later. She then proceeds to tell me that she wants me to get the doctor first before they allow me to work out at their facility.

First of all, we have a gym at work and they push the whole, "Let's be healthy" here at work. It is part of the work/life balance. If you have healthy employees, they are sick less and are more productive. She basically wanted me to jump through hoops so I can torture myself by going to the gym. I find it ironic that it is easiest not to bother with the doctor's approval and no goto the gym. I already have a gym membership. I do not need to pay for a 2nd gym membership. Secondly, we have major health problems with people being overweight in this world, as well as heart disease. There is a huge increase in the costs of health care. I know that if I do not do something about my Cholesterol levels, I am headed for the same health problems my father has. The good thing is that I do have health insurance and can afford to go see a doctor about my health. What about the folks who can not afford it? I understand that my work gym is only trying cover themselves from liabilities if something happens if I have a heart attack in the gym. My Glucose is good, my Blood Pressure is good. If the only thing that is causing me grief is my Cholesterol, why not give me the green light to work out? I am headed to a physical next week anyway. It is kinda a Catch 22. I am damned if I try to work out because I need a doctor to give me doctor's approval to work out at the work gym. I am also damned if I not do anything and then eventually start having health problems because I did not do anything.

I ended up trashing the paperwork the lady at the work gym gave me. I have a gym. I just need to make time to go, even if it cuts into my schedule. My small group at church did the Biggest Loser and I lost like 35 pounds just watching my diet and running 3 times a week. I will start running again and pull out my mountain bike. The pool in my neighborhood just opened too. I will start bringing my boys to the pool to get in a pool workout. I am just totally amazed that with all the medical problems in the world and you get a chance to do something better in your life, you basically have to go above and beyond to prove you have the ability to make those better changes.

My middle brother needs to get a clue.

My middle brother goes over with my parents to my youngest brother's house to deliver his birthday present. My brother had his kids in tow as he was going with my parents to some Catholic school job fair. He is still trying to get a teaching job even though he has yet to pass his certification test. He has been told by schools that he needs that first before they will even consider him; but, he has not passed the test as of yet.

As soon as my middle brother walks in my younger brother's house, he immediately turns on the HDTV and fires up the XBOX 360. He then allows his son to play, Saints Row which is a "M" for Mature game. My youngest brother sits there in disbelief that our brother would even allow his son to play a game as violent as that. It makes me wonder just what kind of common sense he has allowing this. His wife was at work; but, she has been over to my youngest brother's house as well and allows their son to play violent games like that. When I ask my middle brother about it, he laughs and tells me, "He likes playing games like that."

My brother needs to get a clue and start allowing his son to play more age appropriate video games and not "M" for mature ones.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Shopping to trip to Big Lots.

I took a trip up to Big Lots because I needed some "canned" air to clean out a keyboard for work and the Walmart was too far for me to drive to. I ran into Big Lots closet to my work where I normally buy snacks, batteries, cleaner, etc. There is one lady who is working on the first register that doubles as the returns desk. She tells one lady that got in her line that she was doing returns only, which was a total lie. She immediately called up one of the other ladies to come open her register. She then proceeds to give her grief because she was not making announcements over the intercom. I had to laugh to myself because I used to work for HEB and Albertsons and they wanted us to do announcements at least twice an hour. I had jokingly said to the checker about her announcements, "Like you do not have enough hours in the day to include announcements." She laughed and rang me up. The lady being rung up at the first register with her Married with Children Marcy D'arcy hairstyle decides she is going to walk out with her bags in hand. Instead of pushing the cart to the front to move it out of the way, she squeezes by it to walk out. In doing so, she blocks the exit for the rest of the customers. I grab the basket and push it to the front.

I am amazed at how some people do not think about others while shopping. Life is entirely too short for us to be rude and inconsiderate. Why try to rush out of the store, only to block other customers who are also trying to get out of the store by leaving your basket?

Rants of a DSL technical support rep.

Confessions of a DSL technical support rep

It has been 3 months since I started this part time tech support job. My team lead finally got me bumped up to Level 1 tech because I had more technical experience than most of the team on the night shift combined, not to mention i have a Masters degree in Computer Science and looking at Ph D. programs. I have yet to see a raise yet because I have to give it about 2 weeks for it all to catch up. I figure I will start blogging about this part time job on a regular basis. This will be my "confessions of a tech support rep" to give folks an inside look at what exactly we have to put up with on a daily basis. I am not going to mention any company names. What I can say is I work for a company that services quite a few DSL service providers who also provided dial up service.

1. First of all, do not tell me you are not very computer literate. I really do not care. My only concern is if you can follow directions or not. If you keep repeating the fact you are not very computer literate to make up for the fact that you can not follow instructions to save your life, only makes the call that much more lengthy.

2. We have call times we have to follow. I do not have all day long to work on your technical issue. I have to have you on and off the phone in less than 12 minutes. The good thing is that one call might roll on for almost an hour but the next call will come in and I am on and off the call in less than 2 minutes. That helps my call average.

3. If I put you on hold to "check on a few things", I am usually going to the bathroom or complaining to my co-worker about how clueless you really are. This place frowns on us using DND (Do Not Distrub). We have to have a DND of less than 10%. DND is used for breaks, lunches and bathroom breaks. In order to get under the 10%, I use the hold button because I am not here long enough in an evening to take a break or a lunch.

4. Please do not call me because your Microsoft Office does not work and you happen to know that I am available. If you whine because the previous tech helped you, I will probably tell you it is out of my scope of support and ask if there is anything else I can help you with.

5. If you still have dial up and are paying for you, you need to look into getting DSL. If you have the lowest DSL package it is like $15 a month. Dial up customers whine and cry because their connection is slow or when their friend send them a large file that they can not download because their connection times out. These folks usually call up and have to have us delete the large file so they can get the rest of their mail.

6. If you have email problems and I have to sign into your email, you need to make sure there is not anything in your inbox that you do not want me to read. I will probably laugh at you and blog about it later, especially if you have emails from multiple dating sites.

7. When you call in, please be sure you are ready to answer the questions I ask you. If I ask you for your billing telephone number, please provide it. Do not tell me, "It is DSL.", or start to go off on your issue. If you do this, it only makes the call longer.

8. When I am asking you questions and I realize that you are not sure what to answer, I am usually going to ask you a YES or NO questions. The answer will either be YES or NO. If you sit there and wonder to answer, the call is going to be that much longer and frustrating. Please do not be clueless if you do not know how to answer a YES or NO question. You have a 50% chance of getting it right.

9. Do not call up with a bad attitude. I understand things are frustrating. I understand it does not work. When you call up in a bad mood, the call is going to take that much longer. You need to be happy you are talking to someone from the US and not someone in India if you called Dell tech support.

10. If you are running a Windows machine with Windows 98, you need to realize that Windows 98 is barely supported. Do not get upset if I tell you that you might want to upgrade your system. You are behind in the times. I realize that "if is not broke do not fix it". You would not still be driving a big car from the 70s, especially with gas prices as high as they are.

11. If you call me at night to compare that you DSL is slow at night, you need to GET A LIFE. Turn off the computer and take a walk, read a book, watch a movie. Life does not revolve around your porn addiction or your online poker habit.

12. If your account is suspended, it can take 24 to 48 hours to get your account back active. At night, we are technical support. Do not call up crying that your phone works but your DSL does not because you are too lazy to pay your bill.

13. We are contractors of this DSL provider. In fact, the company I work for has multiple DSL providers they do support for. The main company whose building we are housed in has their reps monitor our calls. I swear they monitor our calls at least every 2 days. The 3 people that do the monitoring are just as clueless as our DSL customer. I will get perfect calls on like 5 calls in a row from one person monitoring and they will give me a "needs improvement" because of something silly like I did not use the customer's name or offer the phone number of a manufacturer that I refer a customer to. These folks should be happy we take calls from their customers. Some of these folks should not own computers. It takes every ounce of patience for me not to reach through the phone and choke these customers. When I worked tech support before, we maybe got monitored once a month at the most. I am seriously tempted to come up to this office and have a few choice words with these folks that monitor. My team lead goes back and re-monitors some of the calls they give "needs improvement". He always finds that the calls were incorrectly monitored.

14. The average age of the folks working here is about 20. They hire college students primarily. My team lead is only 28. It is amazing at all the drama that goes on at this place. One of the Level 2 techs that I made friends with bragged to me that he went up to the 3rd floor women's bathroom and had sex with her while he was on lunch. I am amazed because there are cameras all over this place. The 2nd and 3rd floors are the offices by the DSL service provided we are contractors of. This place is one big soap opera. The Level 2 that I made friends with starts pointing out all the women he has had sex with. The girl he had sex with on the 3rd floor apparently gave him oral sex in the parking lot when the parking lot lights were out. I can only laugh at the drama that goes on around here, especially since the Level 2 tech that was bragging has a kid and lived with the family of his baby's mother and got kicked out of his house.

15. I am amazed at what they start folks out here. It is a wonder that they keep anyone for a extended period of time. I only agreed to it because they told me I could work from home once they got their new phone systems and they were flexible with my hours. The starting pay here is $8 and hour. If you work nights, you get a $1 shift diff. I have never made $9 an hour since the early 90s. The starting pay for tech support reps in Austin is anywhere from $12 to $15 an hour. They can get away with paying so low here because they hire college kids to work here. I could make more money else where, but where else can I get paid to sit on my butt?

16. The turn over rate is way high here. I was told by the team lead that one month they hired 150 people and fired 150 people. I think the big thing is the "point" system. People tend to get fired for having too many points.

17. "Points" are really stupid at this place. If you come into work late, you get points. If you are a no call no show, you get points. You can work off your points by working at least 20 hours on weekends. The points need to be done away with. I think Team Leads should be given the power to put people on probation for being late and calling in. If you call in sick, you have to roll in with a doctor's note. The college kids that work here many times do not even have medical insurance. What makes you think they are going be able to roll into the doctor and get a note?

18. The Network Admin that works here has the web filter set too high. You can use "quota" time to browse on your own time. I realize there are certain sites they do not want you to be browsing while at work. They block message boards, Food, certain tech websites, Entertainment, etc. I can understand they are worried about bandwidth but this guy does not have to be so anal about the Web Filter. He has a network sniffer on at all times. He can see what people are doing. I did find two ways around his Web Filter. He did get smart and block the one way. I have not tried the second after he sent a nastygram to my boss about my web usage. If my boss gets another email from him, I might have to pay him a visit to find out what his problem is.

This place is just a job and is not my real job. I can kick back and not take it too seriously because if I ever get too upset, I know I can walk out here without looking back knowing that I do not really need this job. It is a nice thing to have, especially since I have to put my oldest son in summer camp. (Plus that new Fender Lonestar guitar that I want with a Line 6 Pod XT.) We see how long I last at this place.