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Do Unto Others When Using an Online Helpdesk

Empathy or ‘walking in someone else’s shoes’ (before you
judge them) is always the key to inter-network
communications. We have organizations that protect everyone
in the ‘workplace’ from unfair treatment. Yet sometimes
people are so abusive and insulting to customer service
agents especially when feeling ‘anonymous’ online.

To start out with, the fact is that businesses usually make
the ‘ground rules’ for a transaction. The consumers do not
walk in and tell them how they are going to do things. Yet
some refuse to follow simple directions or protocol when
using a helpdesk. Maybe they don’t (won’t) understand
because they think it is real technical to have a ‘ticket’
system. So they actually have an aversion to the
instructions. They refuse to learn. Supposedly it is
everyone else’s responsibility to take up the slack for
that.

Yet if they can even do email they may be capable of
understanding the concept of a ‘thread’ where there are
back and forth replies – we write to someone, they write
back in REPLY to our communication, and then we make further
comments and send it back to them again and on and on.

Nobody in their right mind would expect a conversation to go
back and forth over time by making separate individual
emails that reference some unknown other communication but
not include the actual details. Without the HISTORY being
there in the same document of what we are discussing, it is
difficult if not impossible to follow the conversation and
give a coherent reply.

Yet people insist the helpdesk/customer service should pay
attention to them even if they submit 5 tickets for the same
issue, and worse, never acknowledging having received a
response previously or any clue what the current status of
the issue is. Unless you require them to go and look up
their previous ticket themselves to read the details of the
situation, you will be forced to either use cold canned
(generalized) messages or to spend an inordinate amount of
time repeating things over and over times 100 different
people, and doing research for them all, just to know what
they are saying.

They expect customer service to follow 100 conversations
that go on over weeks, when they contact ‘support’ again
about the same issue — without even using their last name
or membership ID – NOthing – like they are the center of the
universe and you should know it is them and if not then it
is on you to try to figure it out (and give a coherent reply
to the question or issue).

These ‘folks’ are so zoned out in their entitlement
mentality that they actually make it difficult if not
impossible to assist them. It is like they ‘shoot
themselves in the foot’ because they refuse to follow the
directions or to cooperate with the business or corporate
operating procedure. So instead of being helped with their
initial problem, the agent is forced to try to get enough
information to proceed with techical or administrative
support. And in some cases each time it is like who is this
person? Does the situation sound familiar?

So pretend like it is you and and try to treat people as you
would like to be treated. Be professional, polite, and give
people the respect to follow their directions if you are at
their website, business or program, particularly when you
are asking for help. Try to be logical about giving them the
details they need to understand what you want. Your full
name, membership ID, domain name, email address that you use
for that program, anything to help identify yourself.

If you are being asked for help, then of course you should
attempt to help as many people as you can as best as you
can. To ’empathize’ with other ‘helpers’, pretend you
are preparing to provide answers or solutions when you
realize you don’t know the question or who is asking. You
really want to do your best but you haven’t been given the
necessary details.

If you contact ‘support’, and you mean that something
‘doesn’t work’ or that you ‘can’t’ do something, then
describe what you mean by that – do you get error messages?
What do the error messages say? Or a blank screen? What is
the address or URL of the website where the problem
happened? What were you doing when it happened?

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