Day: November 11, 2019

Lessons from Customer Support: The Goodness of Simple + Process Orientation



Easy-as-1-2-3

I can not tell you how many technical support conversations I sat in on when I first got into tech twenty five years ago (we are talking Pre-Web). The company that I worked for, Tribe Computer Works, made packet switches and internet routers, and so a lot of the support incidents were about connectivity issues.

Some poor customer would be calling in frantic because some leg of the network connection was not working. Alice, in Technical Support, would ask a handful of questions that 95% of the time ended with:

  1. Unplug the cable and re-plug it back in.
  2. Replace the ethernet capable with a different ethernet cable.
  3. Turn the switch off for 30 seconds, and then turn it back on again.

The customer getting support would invariably get agitated with this line of “support,” say this was obvious, and they had a DIFFERENT problem.

The support person was very calm, and said, “I am sure that you are right, but we have a specific process that will save you a bunch of wasted time by allowing me to isolate the basics, before moving on to the more surgical interventions. 

Literally, 95% of the time, it was that basic; one of those three cases would solve the problem, and the client would sheepishly apologize, saying they had tried that before, didn’t work last time, etc. etc.

One moral of the story that it taught me is start with the most basic scenarios before getting sucked into complexity.

You can always go (Read more...)

Lessons from Customer Support: The Goodness of Simple + Process Orientation



Easy-as-1-2-3

I can not tell you how many technical support conversations I sat in on when I first got into tech twenty five years ago (we are talking Pre-Web). The company that I worked for, Tribe Computer Works, made packet switches and internet routers, and so a lot of the support incidents were about connectivity issues.

Some poor customer would be calling in frantic because some leg of the network connection was not working. Alice, in Technical Support, would ask a handful of questions that 95% of the time ended with:

  1. Unplug the cable and re-plug it back in.
  2. Replace the ethernet capable with a different ethernet cable.
  3. Turn the switch off for 30 seconds, and then turn it back on again.

The customer getting support would invariably get agitated with this line of “support,” say this was obvious, and they had a DIFFERENT problem.

The support person was very calm, and said, “I am sure that you are right, but we have a specific process that will save you a bunch of wasted time by allowing me to isolate the basics, before moving on to the more surgical interventions. 

Literally, 95% of the time, it was that basic; one of those three cases would solve the problem, and the client would sheepishly apologize, saying they had tried that before, didn’t work last time, etc. etc.

One moral of the story that it taught me is start with the most basic scenarios before getting sucked into complexity.

You can always go (Read more...)

Is Morality an Essential Component of Capitalism?



Crossroads

“Night of the fight, you may feel a slight sting. That’s pride fucking with you. Fuck pride! Pride only hurts, it never helps.” — Marsellus Wallace

It feels like we are at a Crossroads, where Money is the One True God, and the Transaction ‘trumps’ all.

In such a place, the HOW matters not, giving rise to a Systemic Amorality that metastasizes in infinite ways.

We see this occurring right now, where the calculus has become sell your soul to a wanna-be dictator through unquestioning fealty, and willingness to stick a shiv in your countryman, the poor, the disenfranchised and the suffering.

Democracy, Openness and Unity over Division, gives way to Winners and Losers, and a reflexive attack on “The Other.”

A general ethos of this thinking is to diminish our commitment to the broken, the sick and the failing in our society.

The sad truth is that if tightening of immigration laws, conservative judges, gerrymandering, gun rights, anti abortion, white power, financial markets, oligarchical privatization & unfettered corporatism is at the top of your policy hierarchy, you are willing to put your head in the ground for EVERYTHING ELSE. Humanity and optimism is for suckers.

Warren Buffett, the Sage of Omaha, once said that until the tide comes in, you don’t actually know who has been swimming naked. This is true about racism and hate, too.

But, we have to ask ourselves. If failing and losing in society exists in such large numbers — 90,000 unsheltered homeless in California alone (Read more...)

Is Morality an Essential Component of Capitalism?



Crossroads

“Night of the fight, you may feel a slight sting. That’s pride fucking with you. Fuck pride! Pride only hurts, it never helps.” — Marsellus Wallace

It feels like we are at a Crossroads, where Money is the One True God, and the Transaction ‘trumps’ all.

In such a place, the HOW matters not, giving rise to a Systemic Amorality that metastasizes in infinite ways.

We see this occurring right now, where the calculus has become sell your soul to a wanna-be dictator through unquestioning fealty, and willingness to stick a shiv in your countryman, the poor, the disenfranchised and the suffering.

Democracy, Openness and Unity over Division, gives way to Winners and Losers, and a reflexive attack on “The Other.”

A general ethos of this thinking is to diminish our commitment to the broken, the sick and the failing in our society.

The sad truth is that if tightening of immigration laws, conservative judges, gerrymandering, gun rights, anti abortion, white power, financial markets, oligarchical privatization & unfettered corporatism is at the top of your policy hierarchy, you are willing to put your head in the ground for EVERYTHING ELSE. Humanity and optimism is for suckers.

Warren Buffett, the Sage of Omaha, once said that until the tide comes in, you don’t actually know who has been swimming naked. This is true about racism and hate, too.

But, we have to ask ourselves. If failing and losing in society exists in such large numbers — 90,000 unsheltered homeless in California alone (Read more...)