The one with all the onsite support gripes.

I still can’t believe that I only have six days left with Nexi, and then it’s off to DG I go. However, Nexi isn’t making it easy for me, and I’ve been working at INCO in the mornings all week long to cover for Colin (who’s on vacation in Mexico). Then, on Wednesday, Marcia asked me to work the whole day at INCO the next day, because Jason, the new guy, was drowning in calls.

Now, I’ve been with Nexi for two and a half years. I know a lot about the way Nexi handles the red tape, as well as the contracts. Instead of helping Jason close as many calls as possible, I basically just suspended and updated all his calls, and gave him a crash course in how to handle all those calls without doing so much work that you’ll die.

Nexi (as well as most contracts, I’ll bet) works on a call system – that is, when users call their help desk and they cannot resolve the issue over the phone, the trouble ticket is transferred to whichever corresponding group is best suited to fixing the issue. I hate help desk techs. They aren’t real techs at all, they are lazy bastards who refuse to use their own brains, because no matter the issue, they just give up easily and forward the call to onsite support (which is us). For example, say the user is experiencing issues with a specialized application. The Government of Manitoba uses a certain program to do payroll – for security reasons, I’m going to name it here as Payapp (because if anybody found out the real name and knows how to hack it, I don’t want to be blamed for leaking that information). Now, say that there’s a Payapp Help Desk, who specializes in Payapp-related issues. If the user calls the regular help desk, reports that they get a logon error when they load up this Payapp, then the help desk’s common method should be to forward the ticket directly to Payapp Support, right? Not really. It seems that the usual method of these lazy help desk bastards is to forward the ticket to onsite support. Why? Because it’s faster to send tickets to onsite support, and the client will be happier because the response time is faster than the one-man army of Payapp Support. I say this because usually, onsite support groups consist of an onsite support help desk and loads of onsite techs. The onsite support help desk is for onsite techs only (which means that theoretically, you can hire any A+ certified tech and send them on the field with no training and only the onsite support help desk number as “reference material”). Now, you’d normally think, ‘It’s a logical decision to send the ticket to onsite support.’ I ask you, “Are you freaking kidding me?”

Let’s go back to the call system I was mentioning earlier. Most IT contractors utilize this system. The reason why is because it creates an automated way of organizing calls, sending calls to technicians, and allowing both management and clients to view the current progress of calls in real-time without having to contact the tech directly. Some call systems are accessed from the phone (too slow), web browsers, telnet clients, or even Blackberry devices. Techs can quickly commit (acknowledge to the system that they are aware of the call and will be updating it soon), update, or close calls. If supported, techs can even manage inventory control (ordering or querying parts). Still follow me?

Most calls consist of many user issues that require onsite support – this includes IMACs (Install, Move, Add, Change – anything to do with hardware requests), OS issues, or general weirdness (what do you mean you forced the USB cable into the port upside down?). Assume that the tech has three calls – one is an IMAC call to replace a user’s old CRT monitor with a new LCD monitor, the next call has a user unable to wake their computer from standby, and the last is a user needing assistance in making a signature for Outlook. If the fourth call that comes in is the Payapp issue, no big deal – standard procedure is to completely uninstall the app, reboot, and then reinstall from scratch. If that doesn’t fix the issue, the issue is out of our scope and we have to contact Payapp support and forward the ticket to them. Sounds easy enough, right?

Now, let’s take a different scenario. Let’s say the tech has twenty-five calls – he’s flooded at this point. It’s going to take him the entire morning just to update his calls. In the middle of it all, a Payapp call comes in. Now imagine the amount of freaking out… and tack on an exponent of 10 to that amount. Oh, look – the user made sure that the call has a high severity rating! Oh, look, the user just escalated because it’s been an hour since she opened the call – no doubt because of the delay in transferring the call from the help desk to onsite support to you.

I guess what I’m trying to say is – I won’t be missing onsite support.


Additional Resources

The one with all the Lesson Reviews.

I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with this blog ever since I started using Hummingbird last fall. So, I decided to try an idea of mine called Lesson Reviews. Essentially, it’s more of a “what I learned from X anime” than a review, but the thing is, there will be good and […]

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