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Username : Brian
User ID : 27
Membership level : Gold
Member since : 2012-03-10
Blog overview
Title: Brian's blog
Country: None
Category: Musings
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Review post - How may I help you?
How may I help you?
3043 days ago 0 comments Categories: Tags:

Of course this project has taken me into many areas where I have had no prior training or experience, and introduced me to any number of new experiences. One of these only became a factor in the last couple of months, once the traffic to the site began to pick up. I'm talking about "Support desk."


Naturally, I’ve read a lot of the anecdotes swirling around the Internet about Help desk experiences with, umm . . . interesting people. And, often, it does often seem that the more arrogant the message–  railing about the #@!! website–  the stupider the user’s mistake turns out to have been. But users’ complaints have also been an invaluable help to me in figuring out where the site is not as user friendly or effective as it could be, or sometimes, actually broken. They have resulted in quite a few programming changes already, and more planned.


And of course, there are the people who are not particularly tech savvy, and just need a little help in negotiating something that is unfamiliar to them. It is actually very rewarding to spend the disproportionate amount of time needed with these folks, help them over the rough spot, then send them on their way.


I'm not a highly patient person by nature-- something I have been striving to improve for much of my adult life. Working by e-mail gives me time to think a moment, gather my patience if needed, and respond kindly and helpfully. It actually makes me feel good, because I fail in the patience department so frequently in face-to-face interactions. So I take a sort of delight in being able to maintain a cheerful and positive attitude through a sometimes very extended interchange with someone over some problem that, perhaps, at the bottom may just be a matter of their not stopping to think a minute about what they are doing.


Only once have I responded to an impudent, abrasive message in kind. Just a few days ago someone sent this: "Really sucks when you take the time to fill out a form, then can't submit! Rip Off???" Nothing else, no introduction, no specifics about the type of problem he was encountering.


I pondered for a while before deciding how to respond. I have a standard reply designed to placate the irritable types, and elicit whatever information I need to troubleshoot the problem, but this just didn’t seem to be worth it. In the final analysis, I wasn’t sure that someone who treated others so rudely was someone I wanted to introduce to other TCE members.


So my reply started by echoing his approach: “Really sucks when you take the time to provide a website that hundreds of polite people join successfully, and some random guy who runs into a problem immediately blasts off a belligerent message accusing you of running a rip-off.” I then went on to add my usual initial response to undefined requests for help, asking for some detail on the problem and assuring him I would help get to the solution. I never heard back from him. No loss to TCE, I figure.


If you’re interested in some really funny and sometimes excruciating customer-service experiences from a wide range of businesses, you could check out http://notalwaysright.com/

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