A Support “House”

houseFor those of you who don’t know, I work for a company in tech support dealing with customers who have issues with their tax software.  I know what you’re thinking, and yes, it probably is the most exciting job from sea to sea.  The other day I was talking to one of my co-workers about how the customers are always lying to us.  I don’t know if they think that lying to us will get us to give them a top level of support or if they are completely ignorant.

Example, I asked a customer if they were running the application on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 or gave him the option if he didn’t know.  Now, the easy answer is “I don’t know”, because I would just walk him through the process of looking up his OS.  The customer gave the wrong answer and said he was on XP.  After about 20 minutes of troubleshooting and setting up remote tools I logged in to find that, surprise, he was using a Windows 7 computer which was not supported.  From the beginning the easy answer would have been “not supported” which means it won’t work which would have saved 20 minuets of time.  The amazing thing is that knew all along that it was Windows 7, but just wanted to get that top level support to get his software running.  The important lesson here is always assume that the customer is lying.

I was thinking someone should make a whole TV series about it, but then I was watching TV last night and realized that they already have… House.  A whole TV show about patients lying to their doctor as he is trying to fix their very severe and life threatening problems.  Then I realized, “Oh wait we do have that person where I work.”  We’ll just call him Math McNeeley.  Math is extremely smart and good at what he does, even if he doesn’t really know the answer to something he has a way of explaining it to make you feel like he just gave you a valid answer.  He has the ability to talk around things and then give you 3 or 4 plausible scenarios that could be the answer to your question.  The first thing I really remember about Math was that he was speaking to a customer, trying to tell them that they were lying.  I really don’t remember if he actually used the words “I think you are lying,” but the jist of the argument was crystal clear.  He selectively chooses his words like “I don’t believe that,” or “That’s not right”.  I often find myself imagining some of my customers having the same conversation with Math.

“Yes Math, I can’t get my software to work.”

“Well are you using Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7?”

“Windows XP”

“Well that can’t be right, I don’t believe that.  Are you sure you aren’t on Windows 7?  Let’s check real quick.”

The other thing about Math is that much like his TV counterpart, he doesn’t like to talk to people outside his inner circle of doctors.  He is always wearing earphones or pretending to be on the phone just to avoid talking to people.  Sometimes I find myself poking him in the shoulder to get his attention.  My life as an episode of House is astoundingly accurate, and, short of the addiction to pain killers I think we have our cast.  The premise used in House is pretty widespread I’m sure, but if FOX ever decides to air the I.T. version of House, I hope that I’ll get at least a small percentage for finding the star… nothing huge, only like 8 million.

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