Today is a momentous day, after 3 long years it’s my last day working as a Technical Support Consultant for an ISP. It seemed like only yesterday I had started as a new recruit learning the ins and outs of broadband internet technical support.
Back in October 2010 I was one of six people hired (2 Customer Services & 4 Technical) and over the next 5 weeks of classroom training we covered the fundamentals of broadband and how it worked, the types of faults that can occur and how to test for them. Those were great days with plenty of break times and hour long lunches! There were also plenty of assessments to complete to measure our progress and reviews going over what we had learned. We also got to meet our prospective Team Leaders, mine was a colourful character who reminded me of an “Del Boy” type always on the hustle.
The worst shift was the 12pm – 8pm as you often got what I call the “1 minute to” caller
Throughout our training we would sit with other members of Technical Support and listen in on live calls and get quizzed on what we thought the issue was, we would also do “blind” listening on other live calls in the department and make notes about what we heard and what was done on the call and discuss them later back in training. Our last week in training consisted of a recap on what we had gone through and then carrying out test calls with the Team Seniors before moving onto test calls with each other. The last day was probably the most nerve racking of all… taking my first live call. It wasn’t all bad as we had our trainers on instant messaging listening to the calls and guiding us through what we needed to do.
The training we received got us up to the level we could join our teams but we weren’t done yet, the learning continued as well as navigating the myriad systems we needed to use to do our job. The first week on Orange Team I was being mentored during each of the calls and gradually getting less support until I was expected to fly solo at the end of the week. Don’t get me wrong they still expect you to make some mistakes but ask lots of questions and use our own initiative in solving customer’s problems.
Working in a busy Technical Support department meant that it had to be run with military precision. There were several shifts that ran between 8am – 8pm (9am –5pm on weekends) over 5, 7 and worst of all 10 day shifts, after day 7 you were starting to lose it and by day 9 you didn’t know where you were sometimes. You did get 4 days off though which you needed to recharge your batteries. The worst shift was the 12pm – 8pm as you often got what I call the “1 minute to” caller, this is the person that will call in just before we close with a long drawn out issue that could have been dealt with properly if they bothered to call in earlier.
Weekends were something else, nothing could prepare you for your first weekend caller… the computer illiterate customer who has just bought an iPad and wants to get online, the person who’s connection is dropping out and when you ask them what router they’ve got say “what’s a router?”.
In the time I’ve worked in Technical Support I have taken on new responsibilities and skills and joined several “virtual teams” that dealt with other products such as Phone line faults, Fault Management, Fibre Broadband and Web Hosting. All of these things added variety to what otherwise would have easily become a somewhat mundane role.
Over the past 3 years I’ve seen many people come and go, such is the nature of working in a technical call centre environment. Some left for better things either internally while others went elsewhere and some left because they didn’t make the cut.
Fast forward 3 years and I’m moving back to familiar territory. I’m not going far I’m in the same company but now I’m in with the IT crowd as a Support Engineer!
Have you tried turning it off and on again!