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high pressure support

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Well, that was the week that was – but a pretty good one as weeks go, since a) it was only 4 days for me, and b) I had a breakthrough against the logjam effect yesterday and actually caught up with my work, for the first time this year. This was partly due to the consideration of my colleagues, who gave me the space to get stuck in, and partly due to the (few) customers who actually came back to me with useful diagnostic results i.e. what I’ve been asking them to do for weeks.

I’m constantly tempted to lecture customers on what Support is: we help them solve their problems, but they still have to keep their end up. In a minority of cases we can spot a product fault, see it for ourselves, and deal with it; in most cases, it’s something that they have done or are doing, and it’s a bitch of a job finding out what it is, far less getting them to do something about it. Too many customers think they can call our phone lines, provide the little information they think we need, then sit back and wait for us to resolve it. Sorry, guys, it’s your problem unless you can prove otherwise – not that we can tell them that, of course.

I only did phone support for a year here at what is now HP, formerly Compaq, but I had never expected to do any. I thought I’d be doing something more like what I’m doing now. I thought phone support was a low grade position; it is, in a way, but that doesn’t tell you much about the people who do it. I was promoted out of phone support to “Level 2” over two years ago, but I was quite lucky; many of my former colleagues are still there. I know about the stress they endure and the knowledge they’re expected to hold, so I won’t hear a word said against them.

I have the luxury of partially specializing, knowing a few fields in depth, relative to the Level 1 phone people. They are required to know a bit about everything, but some of them have knowledge going far deeper than expected, which helps a lot but for which they get no thanks. Some of them are well qualified to join me here, but the internal situation, especially the merger, closed off that avenue for a year, and it’s only now showing signs of opening up again.

No plans for the weekend – I might get round to watching the DVDs I bought last weekend in London, including Natural Born Killers and The Royal Tenenbaums. More Command & Conquer: Generals, of course. Where’s the Glee™? My hands need some right now, it keeps them supple.


Written by brian t

February 21, 2003 at 6:18 pm

Posted in life, work

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