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Hi! Who are you?

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Tip for dealing with computer techs: try to remember our names.


Since I’m on e-mail for the next couple of weeks at work, I get to call people back instead of having them call me. This works to my advantage, because if I really don’t feel like working with someone, I can see if they’re online or not and call them when they don’t appear to be online…


Don’t worry. They call back because I always leave a message.


But on one call today, I had the following exchange:


“Hi [meaningless client who I will help because I know the easy fix to your problem and feel like giving you five minutes of my time to get it done for you]*, this is Paul from the help desk. I’ve got your ticket on the issue you’re having with downloading your porn*, and I want to help you out.”

*Not really what was said…It’s a joke


“Oh yes! I’m anxious to get my issue fixed. It’s been a tremendous problem since the only letter I can type now is the letter Q.*”

*Also not what really was said. From now on, if it’s got the asterisk, it’s a comedic replacement of the true statement.


“Okay, great! Can I remote in to fix it for you?”


“Great! What was your name again?”




Here’s the deal. I’ve gone to great lengths to put aside whatever web surfing I’ve been doing* to pick up the phone and call you. And I’ve taken the extra special step of reading the ticket every time I want to refer to you by name, because I think it shows you that I actually care about you. When in reality, I’d forget my kids names if they weren’t tattooed in circular patterns around my navel.*

*Go figure what part isn’t true.


The least you can do is pay attention and remember my name for the entire 5, 10, or 30 minutes that our phone call will last.


As an aside, it’s always great when the people on the other end just don’t care what your name is, and when they tell their neighbor in cubeville that they’re talking to not an individual, but “I.T.” I mean, you don’t go to the doctor’s office and call the doctor “M.D.” to your friends. Or your mother-in-law the “P.I.T.A.” I am not I.T. I have been vested with powers granted to me by the great I.T., but I am not individually I.T.


So there. I’ve just equated my profession to a church. Jenni’s gonna kill me.


Anyway, as I was saying, at least hold our names in your memory for a few minutes of the phone call. Because on more than one occasion, I’ve finished fixing an issue, made the client happy, and then they’ve thanked me with someone else’s name. In which case, you might as well have just tried to tell me that the future lies in plastics.


But to go in 15 seconds in a phone call from a “hello,” to a “who are you?” is just annoying. It shows a lack of respect or care.


Ah, but there’s the rub.  We value good service, but don’t go out of our way to pay attention to it, or the person who gives it to us. I.T. in the corporate world is an encumbrance that apparently causes more problems than it fixes, never mind the fact that the mere fact that you’re able to log on to your computer, open Word and your e-mail and surf the internet and save things to the network is a pretty impressive technical feat–one that works more often than not. So having to deal with us to fix a problem is a chore, one which obviously does not require your full attention. Or memory.


But the capper was the guy who called me back and wrote down my extension, but not my name. So his message went like this: “Hi, uh…Oh, I didn’t get your name. Uh, this is Joe Blow* and I’m returning your call on my issue with the saxophone stuck in my CD drive.*”


Yeah. I still help them all. It’s my job, after all.


See you tomorrow.