I don’t often talk about work, partially because honestly what I do is a little boring to most folks and partially because I work in technical support for an information security product, so I am under a ton of non-disclosure agreements.
I will simply say that there are a lot of places where I only pay cash.
We have fancy names for the various kinds of support agents we have, but if you break it down by the traditional model I’m a Tier 4 agent, which means that I generally only talk to two kinds of customers – customers who have paid a LOT for support, or customers who are really good at yelling and who have been escalated to me to fix. My co-workers, thus, are usually either incredibly smart techs or have incredibly good people skills or, in very rare occasions, both.
For the record, I tend towards the people skills side of things, at least on the phone.
Now, actual security breaches are legitimately rare, so many of the support cases we take are from network administrators who are trying to integrate the product I work on into their network and really don’t know exactly what they’re doing but can dial a phone.
It is a little sad when you have to walk someone with an email signature proudly proclaiming them to be “Director of Information Technology, xyz Megacorp” through setting up a share quota policy on Server 2008R2. It is mind-breakingly depressing when you have to talk the Director of Information Technology through opening up a command prompt and running ipconfig.
But I digress.
Despite the fact that a lot of what we do is basically network administration consulting, few of us have any formal certifications. An important survival skill is being able to search Google quickly at the same time as making educated-sounding small talk designed to cover the fact that we have no idea what we’re talking about. So, training is a frequent request because frankly we need to know enough to at least sound like we have a clue.
ANYWAY, to get back to the point I’ve been circling around.
A couple of months back, we all had to take an exam, all about how to use the case management system and how to document things and super basic troubleshooting philosophies, with lots of questions like “if customer x has y tier of support, how quickly do you have to respond to his emails?”
An examination on how to do paperwork, basically, nothing technical about it, just the sort of corporate busywork you knock out in 15 or 20 minutes and then forget about.
Today we got an email thanking all of us for taking the exam and complimenting us on the high passing rate. It also explained that management had heard us asking for additional training, that the exam had been the start of a new training initiative in response to our requests, and that the results would be used as a baseline to determine where we needed extra training in the future.
So, I guess we’ll all be getting more training… on how to use the case management system.