Customer Service Safewords

Can technology customer service have a safeword? Something like “I know what a SDIMM chip is” or “I’ve configured triggered port forwarding by reading man pages” that lets you skip past the script-kiddie “support”? My last couple calls to tech support (regardless of company) were typified by me being a step ahead of their instructions. Example.

CS: “Okay, we’re going to go to the router’s settings page. Open Internet Explorer. Have you done that?”
ME: “Already looking at it.”
CS: “Okay, you should see a prompt that asks you for the password. Enter “password” there.”
ME: “No, I’m already past that. I changed the default password already. I told you I was already at the settings page.”
CS: “It should have asked for your password.”
ME: “It did. I’m already past that. I read the manual.”
CS: “Is it asking for your password yet? Maybe we need to reinstall the factory settings.”
ME: [Sighing, getting ready to lie.] “Oh, look. There it is. Asking for my password.”

For an HOUR AND A HALF as the guy walked me through doing all the things I’d already told him that I’d done twice before. Forget where the support centers are geographically located; I just want one that isn’t frazzled when I say my default browser isn’t Internet Explorer, I don’t use Outlook, and, no, I don’t use Windows Media Player to play MP3 files.

This has been my typical customer support call since 1997. It doesn’t matter what company, or about what kind of system. If I’m calling tech support, it’s a funky question – and ever since Mindspring sold out to Earthlink a decade or so ago, I’ve not found a person on the phone who can help. It’s frustrating, let me tell you.

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