I worked in technical support at Silicon Graphics about a year ago, and I was part of the group that was first in line to handle problem calls. Oh, joy. Being only eighteen at the time, my experience in the field of technical support was somewhat limited, but I could still handle my own.
Now, as you may or may not know, SGI sells top of the line computers used in many different industries. On average, they’re about three times as expensive as personal PCs and are meant to be used by professionals in the industries they’re used in.
Anyway, the following call came in:
Customer: “I just received an Onyx yesterday, and I tried to set it up today and it doesn’t work.”
Tech Support: “It just doesn’t boot up?”
Customer: “It doesn’t even turn on. I see nothing on the screen, and the fan doesn’t even turn on in the back of the system.”
Tech Support: “Is the monitor functioning? Is there a little green light in the lower right corner of the monitor?”
Customer: “Yes, there is.”
Tech Support: “Ok, is the computer plugged in?”
Customer: (irritated) “Look, I think I know how to set up a system. I’m a college graduate, you know.”
Tech Support: “Ok, let me finish typing up this report, and I’ll send it off. You will get a reply within one business day.”
Customer: (exasperated) “Thank you. Geez, I mean I paid a huge amount of money for this computer. The least you people can do it make sure it works before sending it to me!”
Customer: “I mean, to add to the poor quality control, you even sent me one extra power cord.”
Tech Support: “One extra cord?”
Customer: “Yes, it looks just the one I used to plug in the monitor and computer, but that’s all you sent to me. I have no use for this other one.”
At this point, I thought I should inquire a little more…but use a bit of tact to do so.
Tech Support: “Sir, can you double check the serial number on the back of your computer?”
Customer: “On the back of the computer?”
Tech Support: “Yes, sir.”
Customer: (sigh) “All right, all right, hold on…”
I heard a few muffled grunts as he crawled over his desk to see the back of the computer. He repeated the serial number from the sticker. I didn’t bother to verify it.
Tech Support: “Thank you, sir. Oh, by the way, can you check to see if the computer is plugged in?”
Dead silence. I could just picture the man’s face when he realized that the computer was never plugged in in the first place and that the “extra” power cord he was holding in his hand was for the computer. I didn’t wait for a response from him. I thanked him for calling, hung up, and closed the case.