talesfromtechsupport

"Excuse me, the button did exactly what it said it would do!"

"Excuse me, the button did exactly what it said it would do!"

In my previous role, I started out as a SQL developer. I actually quite liked this - I got a fairly intuitive grasp of working with large datasets in bulk and got to build some .Net applications on top from time to time.

The team I was in developed format processors for client data, and as such we got the unenviable task of answering client tickets. Most of them were standard-grade idiocy requiring cut-and-paste 'now do X' responses, others involved silently cursing the vendors for randomly changing working formats, but a select few were genuine WTFs.

These almost exclusively came from one person, $S at $LargeInsuranceCompanyOffshoreOffice. Every. Single. Week. this person would create a ticket and vaguely describe the error. Naturally, our attempts at making the error messages human-readable/resolvable fell flat and our users simply copied them back to us in tickets. I don't know if $S was male or female, but from the name I believe female. I had regularly referred tickets up the chain requesting $S be given more training in the product but nothing ever came of it.

Then came what became The $S Ticket. It started innocuous enough:

Hi, when I select $vendor from the dropdown, I see account $account.

It was 4 years ago so the specifics are lost, but I was the first to pick the ticket up and the meaning I understood from her phrasing was that she had typo'd 'do not see'. I went into the SQL backend with a few queries and confirmed the account was still there. Then I loaded up the user-facing interface to double check - yes, $account is there and is the only account. I answer the ticket as such, with a request to clarify if I had got it wrong.

Of course I had. As was standard practise for these tickets, I put it back in the queue, since it was visible that I had replied, and anyone else could pick up the ticket if the client added more. So a day or two later, she did:

Hi, there should be $account2 for $vendor as well as $account.

My colleague picked up the ticket this time. He confirmed what I'd done and then dug into the audit logs; the application logged just about everything it did - the audit table was enormous and difficult to navigate, relying on magic numbers and unenforced foreign keys (shudder). He eventually found another account for $vendor for this client and followed its lifecycle through to deletion.

The user who pushed the button was, as you've all guessed, $S.

The reason I post this story is because the application had no less than three separate Are You Sure confirmation prompts. Even for a Windows-trained user, clicking Yes three times in a row is unusual. Three opportunities to say No, coupled with clicking Delete in the first place.

When my colleague called me over to show me the logs, I told him I was glad he'd taken the ticket, as I would have closed with 'Working As Designed - User Is Not'. Instead, quite diplomatically, he signed off the ticket with

Hi $S, I can confirm $account2 did exist. It was deleted on $date. The deleting user was $S. Thank you.

That ticket sat at the top of the Wall of Shame until I left. Thankfully it was never beaten. $S posted many other tickets that made us cringe, including hitting the Close Ticket (we had a standard Sign Off state where it could be re-opened with new info, Close would immediately lock it permanently) button while being halfway through writing the initial ticket description. Twice. About six months later, $LargeInsuranceCompany quietly closed their account with us. At least we never had to deal with $S again, but I doubt she ever got the training she so obviously needed.

This, so hard.

One my old jobs had an IT guy that started the company (company was not IT related, though). So he knew the pain. In our ticket system were two check boxes. One for mandatory training required, and a behavioral related one. Click training req'd, and the ticket would route to our boss, who would look it over, then if agreed, would send to HR, which was required that they do as we said.

The second one was for abusive, or plain repeat time and money wasters. These would go to the owner and my boss. They pull all the phone logs and tickets, then the shitface would be barred from calling IT. They would have to ask their manager Everytime to call with them.

They'd either leave, or get their shit together and be allowed again. A couple were very abusive over the phone and we're just plain fired for misconduct.

You almost want her to deny it, so you can escalate it to Security and her manager.

This please everywhere

Reminds me of a rhyme my Dad taught me as a kid:

"Oh how I hate this damn machine, I wish that they would sell it.

It never does what I want it to, only what I tell it."

Is it too much to ask to read your DAMN TICKET!

Is it too much to ask to read your DAMN TICKET!

It's your favourite justice system 1st Lvl Supporter with yet another installment of my never ending Series of incompetence in the justice department.

This weeks victim: a colleague in 2nd lvl Support.

$me: Well you can guess that.

$2c: that 2nd lvl support guy

$boss: 1st Lvl boss. (not a videogame boss thou)

It all starts with a typical day: You go into the office, clear your tickets, talk with colleagues about stuff and take your calls.

One call in perticular had to be forwarded to 2nd lvl support because the solution we had in your database didn't work. I forwarded the ticket with the information, that the Database Solution doesn't work and half an hour later I get the Ticket back with the following text:

$2c: Follow the Sol. $Nummber form the database.

At first I was stuned by how this guy apperently doesn't need to read his tickets. Well I guess I just forward it back to him.

10 mins later my boss calls me and tells me this guy put in a complaint about how I can't follow his Orders/Solutions.

I told my boss the whole story and he told me:

I guess if he didn't read your ticket you don't have to fear any consequences.

The guy with the problem had his ticket (which could've been solved in 20 mins) forwarded 3 times and it took about 2 hours.

Moral of this story: Read your tickets GOD DAMNIT!

"posted solution does not work please provide alternate course of action"

"posted solution still does not work please provide alternate course of action"

"posted solution continues to not work please provide alternate course of action"

"posted solution does not work please provide alternate course of action"

"posted solution retry number 001 does not work please provide alternate course of action"

"posted solution retry number 002 does not work please provide alternate course of action"

"posted solution retry number 003 does not work please provide alternate course of action"

"posted solution retry number 004 does not work please provide alternate course of action"

"Paid by the hour, I can go all day"

Just add 'Please do the needful.' after you forward, it works every time.

"Paid by the hour, I can go all day"

This is the winner right here.

This is why you read your departmental emails

This is why you read your departmental emails

I do a bit of everything for a lab. We're so cool we have a sub-basement. It's got a fire escape, but the only way in is through a concrete stairwell that the site team wanted to take apart and make it all shiny for some reason. Anyway, I get a call in while I'm having my lunch.

Me: Hello, Computer Office User: Hi, got a machine that won't power up Me: Sure thing, can you give the name and room number of the machine? User: Yeah, it's 'Bazooka' in uuh, SB07

My eyes instinctively twitch, spidey senses tingling. Yep, I remembered the e-mail.

Me: Uuh, how long have you been down there? User: I got in about 07:00 this morning, just tried to power cycle the machine now Me: Okay, I'll have to get back to you about the machine tomorrow User: Why? Me: Well, I can't actually get to you, the stairs are being worked on? The whole floor is up and they've blocked the door off. I'm pretty sure you're trapped down there. User: Oh bollocks, I was wondering why no-one was in... Me: Yes, please call site management and once they free you, put a ticket in and I'll take a look first thing tomorrow. User: Okay! Thanks ever so much!

I'm pretty sure there's a fire escape they can open, just waiting on all the alarms to go off...

What is WRONG with people?

On the other hand, removing the only non-emergency egress (assuming there is a fire escape - even worse if not!) from an area without confirming that no one is on the wrong side seems shoddy.

Attention span of a goldfish. Can't stay focused on any email longer than one sentence.

Well, in this user's case, probably nothing. He probably got there before the construction crew. OK, so yeah maybe he missed an email or even read it and it just slipped his groggy 7:00 AM mind that the stairs would be disappearing that day. Maybe the company should have posted something on the door the night before or something to remind people?

sans Comic Sans

sans Comic Sans

LTL FTP. I'm not sure if this quite fits in this subreddit, so please remove if it doesn't. It happened as part of my support role, so I thought it might fit.

I develop and support a large and complex computer model. Mostly, nothing much interesting happens on the support side other than the odd "it's not working" or "how do I do this" ticket.

Partly to make my life easier I organise a training course once a year where I work through a basic example, and also get other developers to come and talk about the code. Once people have done this training, they mostly stop asking the really basic questions.

At the end of the course, I ask for feedback, and I usually get back suggestions as to how to improve the worked example, or perhaps about the material covered in the talks. This year I got the following comment (that I entirely agree with)

I found it hard to take the lecturers using Comic Sans MS as their font seriously.

My big problem now is how to broach this with the speakers for next year...

Unless you are running a lemonade stand in your driveway, Comic Sans should never even be in your font list.

I've seen phones with the default font changed to comic Sans. It looks really dumb and annoying to read.

it also works if you're a skeleton.

My big problem now is how to broach this with the speakers for next year...

Provide them with "a helpful list of attendee comments and suggestions from previous years". Be sure to include this one.

But why have you closed the ticket?

But why have you closed the ticket?

So today I had an interesting one.

Picked up a ticket to provision a Cisco unit, lets say its model A. My responsibility is to assign the unit a number and the correct call configuration, based on where the user is in the country and what information they've supplied about the unit.

I complete the job and let the user who requested the ticket know it has been completed and that they can check the unit to see if it's operational. As a courtesy to users I will provide basic advice to get the device running, standard plug in this, turn it off and on type stuff.

After guiding the user we come to the conclusion something is wrong. I check the unit has been successfully provisioned and let the user know that everything from my end is okay. I double check the model is in fact model a. The user says no it's actually model B.

Alas, we have found the problem. I let the user know they submitted for a model a unit to be provisioned, which is incorrect and that they now need to submit a new ticket for their actual device to be configured. The user asks why the current ticket can't be updated and I advise that for the integrity of the data it needs to reflect what has actually been installed at the location.

The following exchange proceeds:

Me 'you will need to submit a new ticket, I've now closed this ticket off'

User 'why? This unit is not working. How can you close a ticket when it is not working?'

Me 'my job is to provision the unit as per your request. Unfortunately device set up is not part of my scope, and as you have input incorrect information, I need you to submit a new ticket so I can assist further'

User 'but you haven't fulfilled my request, the unit does not work'

Me 'I have completed what you requested. You requested for a model A to be assigned a number in x region. That has now been completed. Please relog the ticket with the correct information'

The user continues to argue why this is bad service, but reluctantly agrees to log a new ticket.

A few hours later I check my queue and see the new ticket. Low and behold the user has submitted the exact same information as the first ticket, Please configure a model A, but added a note that satsii has advised to log a new ticket.

Only in IT you deal with this level of stupidity and have users treat you like the idiot. Luckily for this user they are an internal department, otherwise they would be getting charged $250 for the inconvenience they caused.

should configure it the same (Model A) and close ticket again

repeat as needed

The user should be charged $250 for failure to listen and comprehend.

"I see you have opened another ticket for a model A, that must mean you have acquired a model A. Number and configurations have been completed, as per your request, closing ticket now. If you would like help with anything else, please log a new ticket."

Ugh, ticket bureaucracy hell. I know that's not your fault OP, but I hate it when I'm the user and I have to micromanage IT support...

Please create a team to keep me from making typographical errors

Please create a team to keep me from making typographical errors

I was working on an SA team that managed the dev/test servers for a handful of Very Important Projects for a Fortune 500 megacorp, one of many SA teams there. USER had been working there for over a decade, and should have known how everything worked.

One Saturday morning, I got a page that said nothing but "what is the status of my ticket?" I called USER back and had roughly this conversation:

me: Can you give me the ticket number, so I can look it up?

user: I don't know my ticket number, you tell me my ticket number. Why is this taking so long? We're dead in the water until this is fixed, it's been 12 hours since I opened the ticket.

me: 12 hours ago would have been 8pm on Friday, so nobody would have been in the office to see you opened a ticket. Who did you talk to about it?

user: I didn't talk to anybody, I opened a ticket, the way I've always done. You should be monitoring that queue for issues at all times.

me: OK, I'm looking at the queue, and I'm not seeing any tickets that came in since yesterday afternoon. The system would have sent you an email with the ticket number, do you have that email?

user:Look, stop stalling and fix my problem.

me:OK, I've done a search on the system for tickets opened by you, and it appears you opened a ticket in a completely different queue. So that's why I didn't see it; you didn't send it to us. I'll take a look and call you back when I know something.

user:It shouldn't matter what queue I open a ticket in, you should be monitoring that 24/7 for issues.

me:well we're not a 24/7 staffed team, we work regular business hours, we have an oncall for after-hours issues (as she damn well knew, since she paged me) and in any event we wouldn't monitor the other 500 queues, we'd only see things that come to us.

user:well you need to fix that, it shouldn't matter what queue or when I open the ticket, you need to make sure that any time I open a ticket somebody starts working on it immediately.

me:OK, I'll pass your suggestion to my manager.

user:no, don't "pass my suggestion" to your manager, you need to take care of this right now.

me:You want me, personally, to staff three shifts of people seven days a week to monitor 500 ticket queues just in case you open a ticket after hours in the wrong queue?

user:yes, that is what I want.

me:OK, I'll get right on that after I look into your issue.

user:OK. How long will it take to fix my problem?

me:Oh I already see the problem; you typed one letter in your script name wrong. It's scriptName.ksh not scriptName.sh.

user:well either should work.

me:OK. I'll pass that suggestion along to RedHat. I'll close your ticket once the other team passes it to us.

OK. I'll pass that suggestion along to RedHat

Perfection

me:You want me, personally, to staff three shifts of people seven days a week to monitor 500 ticket queues just in case you open a ticket after hours in the wrong queue?

user:yes, that is what I want.

"Ok, next time I need to email you, I'll send it to a random email address in the company. You'll be able to read it and act on it immediately, right?"

Definitely escalate that one up the food chain.

Even if I had the skills to do IT, I don't think I'd last long. I would either have no tongue from biting it too hard, or let loose on the user.

Have an up-vote, and maybe a drink.

In OP's place I'd wish I had a friend in sales to provide him (CC to his boss) a quote for the 24/7 support he requested, first thing Monday morning.

How to mess up a domain in two simple steps

How to mess up a domain in two simple steps

This is one fine moment that shows that you need actually competent people in IT departments, even if you outsource most of the IT-related activities and services.

This happens years ago, when a client was in the process of gradually restricting password expiration policies in their domain. We're talking about a client with at least 4000 active users.

Though DumbClient had outsourced system administrators in charge of managing their servers, including domain controllers, they insisted to be in charge of certain things in AD. They had domain passwords expiring every 120 days and wanted to lower it to 90 days. Fair enough. I asked, as the supervisor of the first-level help desk, to be notified in advance about the planning, and I suggested to roll out the new GP gradually to prevent users from getting locked out.

Guess what happened.

Yeah, that was easy.

DumbClient rolled out the policy first thing in the morning on all the users, locking out everyone whose password was in the 90 to 120 days timeframe. The phones in our help desk literally exploded and we literally couldn't keep up with the number of users calling. DumbClient also applied the policy to some accounts which where set on "Password never expires" (accounts connected to specific machinery that obviously stopped working).

DumbClient refused to acknowledge the problem and instead complained about us being too slow, because people were calling his office to report that we didn't call back or our lines were always busy. Well, considering that YOU made the mistake and your help desk is working on fixing it instead of you, how about you shut the f*** up? We opened 10x our usual number of tickets that day and I had to reroute two on site techs to take tours of the offices to ask people if they needed help.

DumbClient also wasted our time by demanding to be updated each 30 minutes on:

how many calls did we receive about this problem how many tickets did we open how many times did we call the sysadmins to request a solution how many calls came from senior managers

All of this by phone, while complaining we were too slow.

DumbClient was really infuriating, but now that I don't deal with anymore, I have a lot of stories to tell..

Well, if you would stop calling me and asking meaningless questions, I would get it fixed sooner

I told him that (more politely) and he said he didn't care. His standard response when called out on his nonsense.

Never underestimate the destructive power of an idiot.

Never allow a client to make domain level changes without going through the change management process.

I’m sorry, but this incident was as much the fault of the (I assume MSP) as it was the idiot client. At the very least, I hope whoever approved this change on the business side of things had their decision making privilege revoked.

domain passwords expiring every 120 days and wanted to lower it to 90 days

Who still thinks this is a good policy? Increasing the frequency of a forced password change is just asking for weaker passwords.

ShitPW1! > ShitPW2! > ShitPW3!

... and so on.

Not to mention you have to hire a team of tech support professional password resetters.

But I suppose it keeps a lot of us in a job!

PEBCAK at its finest

PEBCAK at its finest

A lady calls my help desk because she has problems with her CRT monitor (this happened years ago). Says there's lines and dots and various artifacts on the screen and it's "frizzling" as well. Sounds like an hardware problem, so I dispatch a tech to check it out.

He calls me back as soon as he gets there: the lady had a potted plant sitting on top of the CRT monitor and she watered it. Water had trickled inside and monitor was basically frying. Tech disconnected everything and told the lady if she was out of her mind pouring water over an electrical device.

She was reported to the people responsible for office safety and ended up being one the first people to get a flatscreen monitor, just so that she wouldn't put any plants on it.

told the lady if she was out of her mind

 

ended up being one the first people to get a flatscreen monitor

She knew what she was doing.

She should have been one of the last to get a flat-screen monitor in the hope that she'd remove herself from the gene pool before that.

Ugh this. I work IT for a manufacturing company and all the offices in the plant still have crts. All shipments also come through the plant so if they receive a pallet of fresh lcds just ordered by my dept. suddenly 3 or 4 of their crts will start having “flickering” trouble

Problem Exists Between Chair And Keyboard

I bet I can write this story before the call even ends

I bet I can write this story before the call even ends

Another tale from my telecoms company

Me= u/Majahzi

C= Customer. A sweet but very tech-illiterate old lady

Me: Thanks for calling, this is u/Majahzi, can I have your name please?

C: I am Mrs. Customer and my phone isn’t working.

Me: What part of your phone isn’t working?

C: The whole phone!

After about 10 minutes of digging I find that her email address is erroring out along the lines of “your IMAP for AOL.com is unresponsive”. So we need to remove and re-add the account to her phone.

Me: So now that we have deleted your email, we will add it back. What do you see on your screen?

C: I see “Accounts, iCloud, Add Account, and Fetch New Data”

Me: Tap on “Add Account”

C: ... That’s not on this screen

Me: Oh, I’m sorry I thought I heard that as an option. Read them again.

C: “Accounts, iCloud, Add Account, and Fetch New Data”

Me: Press “Add Account”

C: Okay

Me: Tap on AOL and then you put in your name in the “Name” field, email address in that field, then your password and then your description, which you can just put “AOL”

She fumbled around for a second and whispers “My name?...” I just assumed she was whispering what she was typing so I ignore it

C: You said I put in my name?

Me: Yes. Your name goes in first. Then your email address and so on.

C: It says “Retry your information”

Me: what did you type in for your email address?

C: I typed generic123

Me: did you put generic123@aol.com?

C: No. Should I have?

Me: Yes. You have to put in the @aol.com

3 minutes pass

C: it didn’t work. I put in generic123aol.@.com

Me: That’s not your email address...

The title is right. I started this in the middle of the call and I’m still not done. Updates will be in comments.

She had to restart her phone and I called back 5 minutes and 30 minutes later. The phone is still off

Anyone who still uses an @aol.com address probably isn't the most tech-literate

The server wasn’t responding so we did a network settings reset

It also, you know, solves your problem...

Having a Doctor title doesn't mean you know everthing...

Having a Doctor title doesn't mean you know everthing...

I am working for the justice system as a 1st Lvl Supporter. From the highest Attorney to the lowest typist. Well, sometimes those prosecuting attorneys have a doctor title. And those are the worst. They think because they have a title they know everything.

$me = go figure

$dr = prosecuting attorney with a doctor title

$me: You are speaking with $me, how can I help you?

$Dr: Hello, my name is Dr. $Dr, I'm a prosecuting attorney here in $city, and I have a big problem. I made a screenshot and now I can't close the screenshot.

$me: Ok, I will remote control now and try to close it.

$Dr: Don't even bother, I allready tried everything. I just want you to forward it to the 2nd Level, since it has to be resolved with a technician.

$me: Ok, maybe, but I have to look at the problem first, so I can forward the ticket with Proper Information.

$Dr: Ok, if you really have to...

After remoting into his PC, I look at his screenshot, try to close it and lo and behold, it closes.

$Dr: How did you do that?

$me: I pressed the X on the upper right side...?

$Dr: I tried that too but nothing happend!

$me: Can you show me?

$Dr proceeds to open the screenshot again, and trying to close the screenshot.... in the screenshot.

$me: Sir, you have to use the Upper right X.

$me shows him the upper right X

$Dr: Well, okay... bye.

And that's how most of those pesky title owning attorney behave. They think just because THEY tried something it has to be the technician or 3rd Level Support helping them.

Doctors - Check Lawyers - Check Simple problem - Check User ability to somehow suddenly forget how computers work in 5 minutes while simultaneously calling for help while telling you 'don't bother' - Check Knowing this guy somehow operates on you and prosecutes you - Priceless.

If users could just google simple problems on their phone, I think tier 1 support would be dead most days.

In college I used to take screenshots of the login screen, set that as the desktop background, log out and then move the login box out of site.

HOURS of entertainment.

Tier 1 support wouldn't exist then.

Try one of these subthreads