Last week I got a call from one of our attorneys that was on a business trip in San Diego. She couldn't get emails on her Blackberry 7730. Quickly we ascertained that her phone was only getting GSM (voice) service and tried to get GPRS signal by restarting the BB by removing and reinserting the battery.
We couldn't get it to properly connect so I had her call T-Mobile support. Oy, what a mistake that was. They quickly said that the network was working properly, there were no reported outages and that it must be a system administration problem. The kicker is that they actually expected her to provide the SRP ID for our BES server! Like a user out in the field will know what that is much less know what it is.
Later on the user saw on T-Mobile's website that there was an outage in the area, plus she ran into a bunch of other T-Mobile customers in the area that were having the same problem. Eventually it started working again.
There's a lesson in this incident for anyone that does tech support. ALWAYS, and I do mean ALWAYS, assume that the problem reported is with your systems until you can verify to a high degree of certainty that the problem is not with your systems.
Let's take that T-Mobile call for example, they should have assumed that the problem was with their equipment and bent over backwards to prove otherwise instead of making the user prove where the problem was.
An example of how I deal with tech support issues would be when I get a call from a user that they aren't receiving email from a specific external sender and the messages aren't stuck in their spam filter. I can quickly find out that our systems are generally up by sending test messages from the several email accounts that I have. However, even if I receive these emails quickly, I still check logs and with other users to see that other traffic is still flowing into our mail server.
I also telnet into the sender's email server to see that it's working. Basically, I remove any doubt that our server is having problems. If possible, I even try to call the IT person that supports the sender to see if we can figure out what's going on.
The last thing I want is for one of my users, particularly an attorney to be dissatisfied with my service.
You'd kind of expect the same for an organization like T-Mobile wouldn't you? What's ironic is that T-Mobile has typically rated at or near the top of the national cellular providers in terms of service.
Anyhow, if you want to be a high-quality support person that is admired by customers and colleagues alike, then do your best to first make sure that any given problem is not in your realm. Maybe you think that it doesn't matter what you do because you work in a support call center for a company or companies that service thousands of customers, but it does matter.
You will only have a job as long as your company has customers and your actions can quickly lose business for your company, because you never know if you are supporting someone very influential in the purchasing process for a large organization. By the way, I'm influential in that process where I work, but we are far from large, but keep getting groups of 20 people to switch to your competitor and see how long you have a job.
Oh, and I'm not saying that I will suggest that we switch from T-Mobile when our contract is up because of this, since as far as I know the support records for all the major cell providers isn't very good at all, but it will certainly be on my mind as we decide to renew or go with someone else.