Thomas (boggyb) wrote,

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Because it's nice to know that there is still some hope out there

x-posted to boggyb and techsupport

Because it's nice to know that there is still some hope out there.

In light of the recent rants about clueless tech support and clueless users, here's a tale of where the users did not suck and tech support knew what they were talking about.

A couple of weeks ago I got called round a friend's house to fix their computer network. I initially setup this network, and every so often head round to fix whatever the latest problem is. The father of the house is fairly clueful, and knows when he's in over his limit. So far he's only been caught by the stupidity of others (unintentional side-by-side Windows installations, for example). Their internet access had randomly dropped, and the recomendation from Buffallo tech support was to reset the wireless access point to factory defaults. Fair enough for basic troubleshooting, but not advisible if you've customised the configuration (which we had - this access point can also act as a router). So, plug laptop in, change IP address to something more sane, disable DHCP, re-acquire address from DHCP server on ADSL modem and suddenly I have internet. Re-enter security settings and suddenly the rest of the house has internet. Spend a little more time tidying up the config, enabling NTP, and locking down the wireless.

They also had another computer which was failing intermittently. So, I trundle down, power it up, and it POSTs ok. It then freezes part-way through the Windows startup (running WinXP, froze on the logo with the animated bar). Oddly enough, it appeared to still be booting. So, reset it and lo and behold it boots fine. We take this opportunity to back up the "must-have" files, and then I start poking around some more. Originally it stopped dead while playing Command & Conquer Generals, which made me suspicious of overheating.

After a few attempts and false starts I realise that sometimes when it fails to display anything I'm getting a beep code, which translates into a dead graphics card. The computer's under warranty, so he phones up Mesh and then passes the phone to me to explain the problem. The techie quickly realises what that beep code means, and suggests that it could actually be memory. I'm pretty convinced of graphics, but give it a try anyway (who knows, he may be right - memory errors can give ...interesting bugs). Swapping the memory around shows that it's not that, at which point we phone up again and after a few minutes of tacky hold music interlaced with "Your call is important to us", we get the same tech again. We quickly explain and he decides that we need to send the unit back as it may be the motherboard (the warranty is on-site, but they make an exception for that). Again, not what I would have thought but again he may be right. He organises a courier and even bumps the date forward when the dad mentions that he's going on holiday soon and would like to get it sent of before he leaves.

All in all, a pair of very straightforward phonecalls with a techie who knows what he's on about. True, it may have been mostly scripted and it was a simple problem, but he didn't throw us into umpteen different irrevelant hardware and software tests and didn't demand a reinstall of Windows before trying to help. Couple that with a user who knows enough to know when to call in reinforcements, and it made for a very pleasant afternoon.

The world needs more people like them.

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