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Monday, October 7 12:01 AM EST

If I Could Talk to the Supervisor

By Nolan Curtis

Most of you probably don't know I was promoted to deputy secretary assistant for first line technical support. The new role, which really just means I have to sit through more teleconferences, also means that when people call and demand to talk to a supervisor, they get transferred to me.

Awards
Today's Golden Caller Award goes to:
The dumb ass with admin rights to his PC that removed all access to his C: drive for his own ID. Congratulations, dumb ass. You're today's winner!
Today's Silver Caller Award goes to:
The lady who calls twice a day to demand that a tech fix her laptop, but when the tech shows, she's too busy using the laptop to let them fix it. Congratulations, dumb ass. You're today's runner up!
Today's Booby Prize goes to:
The guy who changed the names and icons of his desktop shortcuts, then called us because he forgot which was what.

Now, most people think that demanding to talk to a supervisor actually means that they can cut through the red tape and get their problem fixed more expediently. I'm here to tell you that this is in fact the exact opposite of the truth. You see, I'm just as much of an idiot as the last guy you talked to. As a good rule, I'm more of an idiot.

You see, when you call technical support, the job of the front line is to get as much info from you as they can, troubleshoot the call for about 10 minutes, and if they can't solve your problem, they send your ticket to the specialists for that product. The specialists by-and-large know what they are talking about. The supervisors never do. Talking to a supervisor is akin to the small island village that offers up a virgin to the volcano god. It seems important, but does absolutely no good.

Off the top of my head, I would imagine the front line supports somewhere between 80 and a bajillion products. Most people imagine that the support technician they are talking to is intimately familiar with all these products ("Yeah, my thing keeps locking up at that one screen. You know?"). I just want to state for the record, if the phone jockeys were familiar with all these products, they wouldn't be working tech support for $12.50 an hour. Unless they were masochists or -God forbid- complete fucking idiots. All right... some of them are.

The differences between the support technician and the supervisor you are asking for are simple: The supervisor has management experience, as insignificant as it may be (I was in charge of the chicken fryers at Hardee's). The supervisor knows less about the product than the technician (a brain is only so big. You can't expect product knowledge AND chicken fryer management to both fit in there). The supervisor can view tickets and tell technicians to close them, but can't actually write tickets or exercise any real control over the technicians (unless the supervisor brings donuts, making him Deity of the Day).

The moral of the story, if there really is one, is that patience goes a long way. As soon as you get pissed and ask to talk to a supervisor, you run the risk of talking to me. And if that happens, your problem will probably never get fixed. If you really want to get your problem fixed, have a kid and wait 14 years. The kid will fix your problem long before I'll ever give you a call back (and I'm including those 14 years). Besides, by then I'll be the CEO and won't have time for you or you stupid problems.

More Nolan Curtis

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