Sunday, November 07, 2004

Please think before complaining

You know I used to work in Technical Support for what was at the time a relatively large software company. This experience allowed me to get a tougher skin, as when a problem was unsolvable the user normally would blame whoever was on the line with them regardless of the problem. Usually it was a problem with the software, or sometimes it was the user’s system was running incompatible software. There was lots of that in those days, before the internet changed our lives and PCs are sold for $200.

Working in tech support proved to me that people will complain much faster than they will praise. As a manager, I would listen in on calls handled by our technicians and for the most part they were handled quite well. I mean I had the exceptions, like the technicians who would give the canned answer to every problem just so he could get them off the phone and pad his stats. Thankfully he was eventually fired for cursing at a customer when he thought he had pressed the mute button. However when people were given good technical support, they rarely called or wrote to praise the person who had helped them, even if the technician had gone way beyond the call of duty. The calls and letters happened, but not even close to the numbers of complaint letters that we received.

Now I have no illusions that our technicians were perfect. It was not so easy to find PC savvy people in the late 80s or early 90s in Louisiana who would take on a job that was usually thankless and paid similar to a McDonald’s shake maker I think they at least have stock options) but we hired the best attitude people we could and taught them the PC skills. Most of our techs cared. The reality is that the people we hired with fewer computer skills were, in general, more courteous and thoughtful than the people that were hired as so called “computer specialists”, at least IMHO. I know the level of caring that our people had because I listened to their calls with customers and their discussions in the off-work hours. We were all friends, and I know they cared. To this day, the people that I worked with at Fifth Generation Systems were the best group of people I have ever worked with.

And that is important because it is praise. I, along with others, advanced in my industry because of their work and my dedication. They deserve part of the success that I have made and they deserve this mention.

When I started this project I wanted a format to share my thoughts. I didn’t think that they were terribly important to the well being of the world but someone might read them one day and think about something important that could lead to an important thought to help the world. But after thinking about my next entry it hit me that all I had written about was pretty much hate; hate for the Yankees, hate for Christine Gregoire (who still, after all of her incompetent actions, may be my next governor after 5 days of counting absentee ballots), slimy politicians, etc. I am also the first one to complain about bad service because I do believe in getting good service. But my thoughts saddened me me enough to make me think that I should write this AND think about going out of my way to praise the next person that does something nice in my eyes. Perhaps you could do the same.

Please be Happy and Healthy,



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