Thoughts on Tech Support

I have working tech support for close to a month now and have been enjoying most of the experience so far. Though, I have to say it’s not always the easy, laid-back job my friends think it is. I have found a few parts of the job a little challenging.

The first part is one I did not truly consider until this past weekend. My girlfriend, Tanya, and I were traveling to Minnesota to find an apartment for the fall, and queued the podcast I had recently recorded where Jake Dahn and I interviewed Will Pate. We discussed a lot different topics related to Flock, and during the course of the podcast Tanya would ask some questsions. So I would pause the podcast and answer her questions, no big deal.

However, it wasn’t until that car ride that I realized something: I should really be approaching support requests as if I am talking to Tanya or my parents. Not to knock their knowledge of computers, but it pretty basic. I think I should really be answering their questions as if my dad was asking the question. But then again, would my dad really be using Flock? No, he wouldn’t. So how much prior knowledge do I expect the users to have? While I think most Flock users are your average techie, how can I know for sure how much knowledge they have?

Another part of the last 4ish weeks has been finding answers to problems I cannot reproduce on my machine. When I am able to see the problem myself, or have seen it in the past, I am usually pretty good at helping people out. But when I honestly cannot seem to open up my mind to think of all the possible problems. It has just been somewhat difficult to think through all the possible problems when I don’t even know what could be causing the problem (don’t know the code). Hopefully this will come with practice.

Also, I haven’t looked at this article on the assumptions of tech support thoroughly yet, but it looks like something I should look at. Any suggestions for reading on tech support and/or QA, I would be glad for the advice. Eli Goldberg already has added Cem Kaner’s Testing Computer Software to my list. I should see if it’s at the library and spend an hour a day reading it. But that would mean giving up an hour on WoW, and I don’t know if it’s worth it. I mean, it’s summer.

Anyways, any suggestions/comments/feedback would be appreciated.

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2 Responses to Thoughts on Tech Support

  1. jakedahn says:

    I would also suggest reading the Cem Kaner book. It’s taught me a thing or two, on how to manage various situations and overall QA. Kind of funny to look back at the old references, but it’s a good book, definetly check it out!

  2. Will Pate says:

    “While I think most Flock users are your average techie, how can I know for sure how much knowledge they have?”

    That may be an incorrect assumption. I’m hearing stories from people using Flock from all walks of life, and levels of comfort with computers.

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