TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: How to Survive a Tech Support Call

Re: How to Survive a Tech Support Call

T (
Sat, 4 Mar 2006 11:10:58 -0500

In article <>,

> From the Desk of David Pogue

> How to Survive a Tech Support Call
> The New York Times
> February 22, 2006

> OK, we all know that the tech-support problem is out of control these
> days. But just for fun, reader John Stumpf, ex-CIO and now just a
> "retired geek," wrote up a Guide to Dell Tech Support that's so
> clever/funny/smart, I had to pass it on. Please welcome substitute
> columnist John Stumpf.

> Preparatory Work

> So it has happened: you have fired up your Dell PC, and -- nothing. Or
> the dreaded "cannot find boot drive" or something like that. Now you
> are forced into the unenviable position of having to call Dell
> Off-shore Hardware Support. Look at it as a journey, one on which you
> will be tested, much like Job or Arthur Dent. You will descend into
> the ninth circle, but with the proper preparation, tools and attitude,
> you will return, a better person for it.

> First, before you call, prepare. Raid your kids' library and find some
> simple reading primers along the lines of "See Spot Run." This will
> help you speak in non-complex sentences and monosyllabic words.

> Make an appointment for that root canal you have been putting off.
> After what you are about to experience, you will look forward to it.

> Buy a speakerphone; it's tough to stay rational when your neck is
> cramped.

> When you are ready to MAKE THE CALL, go to the bathroom, take an
> aspirin, get a book or crossword, stock up on water and nibbles
> (preferably ones with high sugar content and no nutritional value;
> Twinkies are good). Shoo the kids out of your den; it's possible that
> they will hear things that could cause serious psychological issues
> later.

> Do your relaxation exercises; take a sip of water; remember Dan
> Rather's closing, "Courage." And MAKE THE CALL.

> What Happens Next

> ...


Oh, I'm very familiar with Dell support scripts. When I've had server
drives fail that were both under and not under warranty I've had to go
through the script.

One had the audacity to ask me to reboot a critical production server. I
explained to him that we had already done so during off-hours, run their
diagnostic and had found out the drive was dead. Not the controller, the

Takes about 20 minutes to pound into their heads that you want a
replacement shipped. Just be prepared for it and don't lose your cool.

There was one instance in which my boss was unfamiliar with Dell
support. His lack of knowledge meant a misson critical server was down
for five days.

Luckily the dead drive was just dying and I was able to get a
replacement drive and used a pencil to keep the old drive in the bay.
Then I used ghost to copy the whole stripe set to two other drives we
had bought in the meantime. Set it up as a RAID 10 array, snapped the
bad drive out, put the new one in and all was well.

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