This is a stream of conversation I had with a tech support department today, paraphrased for brevity since it actually spanned over several hours. If I hadn’t been so frustrated I think I’d find it very funny, so hopefully others will too.
My email to support: “I can’t connect to the company network using the VPN client anymore. It’s worked for over a year but stopped 2 weeks ago. I’m not sure, but my domain password may have expired, but I can’t check since I’m not on the network. There’s no error message it just says ‘Not Connected’”
Support: “We’ve reset your password to XXXXXX. Please try again.”
Me: “Ok. Had my password expired?”
Support: “I don’t know, we didn’t check.”
Me: “*sigh* Ok, well, it still doesn’t work”.
Support: “Please send a screenshot of the error message.”
Me: “There is no error message, the status bar just says ‘Not Connected’”
Support: “Please send us a screenshot of the window.”
Me: “Ok.” … sends 3 screenshots of entire process.
Support: “Ok I’ve changed your password again, let’s try again. First, do you have the VPN client installed?”
Me: “*sigh* Did you see the screenshots I sent you? I didn’t uninstall it since then.”
Support: “Ok, open up the client and in the ‘properties’ window, tell me what value you have for ‘certificate’”
Me: “There is no properties window and nothing about certificates.”
Support: “… Are you sure you have the VPN client installed?”
Me: “Yes. *sigh* Remember, I’ve been using it for over a year without problems until now.”
Support: “Ok. I noticed in the screenshots that you have 2 connections listed, one for us and one for something else. You can’t have 2 connections running at the same time.”
Me: “Correct, and I don’t ever try to.”
Support: “But they’re both listed there. You have to remove one.”
Me: “No, the fact that they’re listed doesn’t mean they’re both connected, just listing ones I can connect to. Remember, this has worked fine, connecting to both networks, for over a year. The other one still works in fact, I just tried it.”
Support: “Ok, we’ll have our security department take a look at this.”
I ended up fixing the problem myself and closing the support ticket. They called me the next day to ask how I did it, step by step, and I guess entered this into their scripts.
Using tech support is just so frustrating for a technical person. The support person on the phone I guess has to assume you’re an idiot, and since they’re supposed to use these scripts for solving problems, it creates this barrier where intelligent conversation can’t happen. I could definitely tell this was happening during the conversations because the script would lead the support person down a path to determine if I actually have the software installed. I’d interject several times “You know, I’ve had this working for the past year without problems until now.” They’d issue some kind of acknowledgement, I guess seeming annoyed I’m not following their script, and proceed to ask “Had you ever tried using the software before today?” I wish there was a way to take support people out of script mode and have a useful conversation from one technical person to (hopefully) another, kind of like hitting zero in an automated phone system.