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The Lighter Side of Tech Support

The Lighter Side of Tech Support

Mar 6, 2007
Martin A. David
Technology Schools Columnist

No amount of customer service training can teach you a sense of humor. If you're interested in the secure and growing field of technical support, you'll need the ability to see the funny side of things if you want to survive as a help desk technician.

High-tech customer service jobs are an important part of the industry. Help desk technicians take care of the large and small problems that stop customers' work. You might work as an internal tech, for the IT department of any large company, or you may end up answering phones for a computer or software company, helping its customers use its products.

User Error

One of the things you'll learn in your customer service training sessions is that most of the computer bugs, breakdowns, and problems are those that happen somewhere between the customer's chair and keyboard. In other words, user errors.

Sad But True


  • "Is the plug in securely?" That's polite, help desk technician language for asking whether the computer is plugged in. Very often it is not.
  • "The drink holder broke off." No, sir, that is not a drink holder. It is where you insert a CD.
  • "The foot pedal doesn't work."Madame, that is not a foot pedal like the one on your sewing machine. It is a computer mouse and you put it on your desk, not on the floor.
  • "There is nothing on the screen." After many questions, the user finally told the help desk technician that there were no lights in the whole building because of a power outage. The technician told the user to pack the computer in its original box and return it to the store because the user was too stupid to own a computer.

Insulting the customer, of course, is not a good strategy for keeping a job (that customer-service rep certainly didn't), so if you're ready for this booming field, make sure you bring a lot of patience to your work. Good luck.

About the Author

Martin A. David consults as a senior technical writer for a number of Silicon Valley firms. He is also a translator, specializing in Danish, French and Spanish literary works.