Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Helpless Help Desk

The job of the helpdesk is supposed to be assisting customers with their problems and trying to resolve them. Our helpdesk lady is a sweet enough person, but not exactly trained or qualified for the job. Instead of resolving simple issues, she makes tickets out of everything and passes it onto us. In any other business she wouldn't have gotten the job in the first place.

Sometimes she'll put in tickets such as "[Database program] and Outlook are not working, please investigate". The problem with this is that it always ends up being a network issue, and gets assigned to me anyway. I used to go down to the caller's office and look at their pc only to tell them that there was nothing I could do and somebody would be along to help them later. I started just assigning those tickets to the networking group. She'll often put in tickets such as "Jen is unable to open adobe files in word." Ok, that's great. Where is the problem?

Other examples include:
  • "Gina called and states she is noticing a burning smell within her office area."
Was it between her ears?
  • "You dan't enter the software, because you receive an error message about the data file."
  • "Computer is saying it has a virus and needs to download spyware."
Well then let its virus download spyware, what's your problem?
  • "Cindy has asked that we defrag her computer. It is running terribly slow. Currently when she is attempting to create lesson plans from the web, she is getting a mixture of the following error messages, "...installing Windows 2003...An error has occurred. You are unable to install Windows at this time..." This has become an everyday occurrence for her. Additionally Brett has memory for her computer as well as a printer to be installed in Cindy's office. Cindy should have possession of both the printer and the ram by the COB today."
The problem with this one is that Cindy's only been an employee for a month, and her computer was re-imaged before it was given to her. She complained about how slow it was the first day. It shouldn't be near to needing to be defragmented. Adding more RAM was always the preferred option of my former boss to try to increase the speed of some of the 10 year-old dinosaur computers we have. This didn't actually increase the speed at all, but this didn't stop the department heads and other members of my department from picking up on his "solution" and demanding more RAM as a way to speed up these slow computers. Another problem with this is that they're using Windows XP and it's obviously not trying to install "Windows 2003", which doesn't exist. There's "Windows Server 2003" but they mean Office 2003. This lack of attention to detail makes it a royal pain in the ass trying to decipher these messages.

  • "Frank was using his PC yesterday around 1:45 when suddenly everything went blank and he received a message pertaining to the Firewall. He has been unable to "revive" his PC since this incident. Please investigate."
Revive? Did he use a defibrillator on it? What exactly does a power loss have to do with the firewall which is in our server room in a different building on a UPS? It's probably referring to the Windows Firewall being disabled but that has nothing to do with a power loss. And what exactly does he need to "revive"? Obviously the pc boots if he can get firewall messages.

I've considered posting the more ridiculous tickets to a website, but it's already been done with sites like The Chronicles of George.

Aside from the confusing messages, helpdesk lady makes the job that much harder by putting the room number in the summary of the ticket instead of in the "room" textbox that it should go in. When you create a ticket with a customer's username it automatically adds their office number, phone number, etc; but they're all text boxes and can all be changed. This gets especially bad when somebody puts in a ticket for a room on the other side of campus from where they work.

It doesn't help that people still stop us in the hallways. No, I can't help with your database problem. Call the helpdesk and have her put in a ticket and hopefully it will get assigned to the database group instead of mine. I rarely pick up my phone anymore, because it's usually somebody from some department that I was never involved with calling anybody in IT to avoid the helpdesk. People have been calling me recently trying to get me to copy DVDs for them or install pirated software. Part of the problem is that our policy lets staff install pretty much anything they want, and we have to support their systems after the crapware corrupts files. Fortunately, we're not responsible for user data, so I usually just reimage the machines.

Aside from that, we've also gotten pushed into supporting one of the programs that was written by a programming class that professors use. The professors who wrote it won't even install it on their own machines or troubleshoot it when it stops working and insist that we do it instead.

It's time I started looking for a new job.

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