The Scourge of Technical Support

Many people do not like working in technical support. I usually do not mind it, but there is a type of person that technical support people do not like having to deal with.

That is the person who thinks that he does not have to do anything or learn anything and that it is all technical support’s problem.

One woman that I spoke to about this was quite definite on the matter. She did not think that she had to learn anything.

This is not a good idea.

Technical support might be busy on something else, and it might be more important to boot. Do you want your work to grind to a halt because you do not know how to handle your work environment? You should be able to handle your work environment. If you can not, it smacks of incompetence.

Many of the things that technical support ends up handling can be handled by the user himself. Changing the toner cartridge on a laser printer is on the same order as putting gas in one’s car. It does not require a technical person doing it.

The same applies to many other things such as loading paper in a printer and changing printer ribbons.

If you do not know how, ask. Most technical support people would be pleased to help you learn about the system. There may be some things that you should leave alone, but many are very easy to learn and do.

A couple hidden advantages to knowing more about your system (and more importantly, having a sense of responsibility about it) are:

1) With a bit of education, you might end up being able to handle many problems yourself. This is likely quicker than waiting.

2) You are likely to be able to give a lot more useful detail when there is a problem that you can not handle.

Which do you think is more likely to be dealt with quickly:

1) “I got an error message and it won’t work now.”


2) “I wanted to print a statement for ABC, but I got an error message about there not being a default printer.”

The second, right? Even better would be the exact text of the message, but the second example is much better than many problem reports I have gotten.

Taking some responsibility for your office equipment frees up technical support for the technical stuff, the stuff that only they can do. Setting up someone’s laptop, repairing a damaged database, replacing damaged or outdated equipment: that is the stuff that gets interrupted by inane technical support calls. You do want that new laptop, don’t you?