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Penny Arcade - Comic - The Doom Funnel

DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin
edited March 26 in The Penny Arcade Hub
imagePenny Arcade - Comic - The Doom Funnel

Videogaming-related online strip by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins. Includes news and commentary.

Read the full story here

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Posts

  • MaryAmeliaMaryAmelia Registered User regular
    This is not the first "customer service on the line is a monster" strip they have done, is it? It rings a bell but I don't remember exactly.

  • ShowsniShowsni Registered User regular
    MaryAmelia wrote: »
    This is not the first "customer service on the line is a monster" strip they have done, is it? It rings a bell but I don't remember exactly.

    Indeed, there are a storied lineage of customer support strips.

    528499984_smvzj-L-2.jpg

    Though generally the support is an unfeeling robot, rather than a monster.

    214600498_3ohqH-L-2.jpg

    215050889_phUUX-L-2.jpg

    215096915_KvSZC-L-2.jpg

    215532432_ZrgaH-L-2.jpg

    Of course, the true monster, as ever, is man.

    429214472_SKvLM-L-2.jpg

    dennisTofystedethMarcinMNH3Knucklesani_game_bumSolventKoopahTroopahBobble
  • BropocalypseBropocalypse Registered User regular
    edited March 26
    I wonder what the financial advantage of making it impossible to satisfy your customers is.

    Actually, now that I think about it, since ISPs generally have regional monopolies they can send you your own middle finger in the mail.

    Bropocalypse on
    RingoZilla360H3Knuckles
  • jungleroomxjungleroomx Never pre-order anything. Registered User regular
    Tycho is the kind of client/customer most support hates, because he's fully someone who doesn't know what he's talking about ordering around someone who likely does.

    This view of support people is incredibly childish.

    npgf5tyafjv0.png
  • PreacherPreacher Registered User regular
    Tycho is the kind of client/customer most support hates, because he's fully someone who doesn't know what he's talking about ordering around someone who likely does.

    This view of support people is incredibly childish.

    My favorite we get is is "my client works at microsoft" as if working at microsoft means you understand every facet of computer everything, its a mystical place this microsoft

    I would like some money because these are artisanal nuggets of wisdom philistine.

    Http:// pleasepaypreacher.net
  • dennisdennis Executive Peasant Registered User regular
    Tycho is the kind of client/customer most support hates, because he's fully someone who doesn't know what he's talking about ordering around someone who likely does.

    This view of support people is incredibly childish.

    Well, I definitely don't know what you're talking about. He's talking about the layers of bullshit you go through before (if) you get someone who actually knows anything other than how to read a script and press a button when your response sounds vaguely similar enough. And once you toil away enough at that, you get someone who will actually work on solving your problem. Anyone who has dealt with "customer service" for any sort of large internet/mobile/credit card/electrical/water/etc. company will be well familiar with this routine.

    For a while, I was with Speakeasy as my ISP. I was so overjoyed that when I called them, the first line customer service person would be totally familiar with ping, traceroute, etc. and would understood every single thing I said to them so that he (it was always a he, and almost always the same he) didn't have to "help" me troubleshoot. And then he would go beyond that will all sorts of arcane shit he knew about the dark magics that make DSL work.

    Unfortunately, they had to use the equipment they were given, and our phone equipment in the area wasn't great. The cap on the speed they could deliver just eventually became too much when I started regularly video-telecommuting. I was rather sad when they were bought by Best Buy. I hope their service didn't go downhill.

    Moridin889
  • OctoberRavenOctoberRaven Plays fighting games for the story Skyeline Hotel Apartment 4ARegistered User regular
    edited March 26
    As someone who used to be in Customer Service, it is an utterly soul-draining, miserable place to work.

    We're not monsters, but being underpaid, undertrained, expected to document every detail of the phone call while it's taken place with Tolkeinesque levels of excessive detail, hazardously *filthy* working conditions (both call centers I've worked in were *covered* in mold, and I actually almost missed an entire half year of wages due to battling chronic bronchitis), and having to escalate calls even in cases where we literally know exactly what the problem is and actually have the tools and self-taught know-how to fix it ourselves... we become monsters. It's a Lovecraftian experience, especially if you don't actually like talking to people.

    That being said: I get it. We're faceless voices on the phone. And I have known people who find any excuse they can to make a caller someone else's problem, but these people tend to get weeded out quickly. And, yeah, I've had some miserable experiences with support myself. And it doesn't help that, at times, pressing the right buttons on the prompts will actually *not* be helpful at all and you'll be redirected to someone who has to not only try to redirect your call, but has to do it by *actually using the same prompts the customer did* for some arcane, bizarre reason.

    The real monster, and I suspect that Jerry/Tycho's real gripe with customer support, is the system that we, the people on the front lines, also have to deal with and also despise.

    For an example, I used to take calls for a prescription insurance firm that covered prescription coverage for several different medical insurance policies. For more than a few of these, our major call drivers were things we had to escalate to the client policy. The problem? Their hours were 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. So if we got a call for these major drivers, we had to instead email our corporate so it can get resolved. The catch? Corporate *also* works 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. Reminder: This was for people's medication.

    And since we weren't actually employees for the company we were taking calls for, as the entirety of their support was outsourced to call centers, they didn't care one single solitary iota about our well-being. And apparently, not about their customers well-being.

    Also I think Jerry (or at least Tycho) worked in customer support according to one comic, so he probably knows what it's like.

    Side note: I once had to call EA when I had an issue with my Origin account. I expected it to be an ordeal because, y'know, it's EA. But it was over in no time.

    OctoberRaven on
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  • Steel AngelSteel Angel Registered User regular
    edited March 26
    As someone who used to be in Customer Service, it is an utterly soul-draining, miserable place to work.

    We're not monsters, but being underpaid, undertrained, expected to document every detail of the phone call while it's taken place with Tolkeinesque levels of excessive detail, hazardously *filthy* working conditions (both call centers I've worked in were *covered* in mold, and I actually almost missed an entire half year of wages due to battling chronic bronchitis), and having to escalate calls even in cases where we literally know exactly what the problem is and actually have the tools and self-taught know-how to fix it ourselves... we become monsters. It's a Lovecraftian experience, especially if you don't actually like talking to people.

    That being said: I get it. We're faceless voices on the phone. And I have known people who find any excuse they can to make a caller someone else's problem, but these people tend to get weeded out quickly. And, yeah, I've had some miserable experiences with support myself. And it doesn't help that, at times, pressing the right buttons on the prompts will actually *not* be helpful at all and you'll be redirected to someone who has to not only try to redirect your call, but has to do it by *actually using the same prompts the customer did* for some arcane, bizarre reason.

    The real monster, and I suspect that Jerry/Tycho's real gripe with customer support, is the system that we, the people on the front lines, also have to deal with and also despise.

    For an example, I used to take calls for a prescription insurance firm that covered prescription coverage for several different medical insurance policies. For more than a few of these, our major call drivers were things we had to escalate to the client policy. The problem? Their hours were 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. So if we got a call for these major drivers, we had to instead email our corporate so it can get resolved. The catch? Corporate *also* works 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. Reminder: This was for people's medication.

    And since we weren't actually employees for the company we were taking calls for, as the entirety of their support was outsourced to call centers, they didn't care one single solitary iota about our well-being. And apparently, not about their customers well-being.

    Also I think Jerry (or at least Tycho) worked in customer support according to one comic, so he probably knows what it's like.

    Side note: I once had to call EA when I had an issue with my Origin account. I expected it to be an ordeal because, y'know, it's EA. But it was over in no time.

    My theory is that the more niche a company's customer base is, the better the quality of support is. I say this having worked as tier 2 support for a software company that specifically made software for telecom companies. It was a global product but there are only so many telecom companies out there even if sometimes the European and American or wherever branches are operating totally separately. I also currently work on software for healthcare providers and sometimes get escalated cases from the support team. In both cases we have both fewer customers than something like consumer software or a utility and our customers were paying a hell of a lot more. In the former example, there was close to 24 hour access as we had a separate support team in India and they could work on late night issues in the US while we could handle late night issues in Asia.

    But support's still not a fun place to work. Our offerings were complex and not always the most user friendly. And as in many places, a lot of the support staff positions were entry level so you had 20somethings fresh out of school trying to figure out products that had been built over the course of a decade. At the same time the people with the experience and knowledge to easily diagnose a lot of those issues usually preferred to work in positions more isolated from clients. But it does pay much better than working at a call center for any retail level product in exchange for needing a deeper set of skills, especially if your job title says "support engineer" instead of "customer service."

    Steel Angel on
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  • TofystedethTofystedeth Registered User regular
    Weirdly my best job was working on an IT customer support helpdesk. But that comes with a lot of caveats.
    It wasn't the stereotypical contracted call center. We were actual employees of the IT department. We were located in the same datacenter where the infrastructure side of IT also worked. The ops station where those of us who were helpdesk and operations (as opposed to the helpdesk and provisioning half of the team) had a network admin on either side and on the other side of the cube wall were the firewall, email, and active directory admins. If you kept an open ear you were likely to be kept abreast of ongoing issues and could get details on an involved question just by asking it with a raised voice.
    We had local admin privileges on desktop devices, access to the software deployment tools, KVMs that would let us view and log in to a ton of different servers, 4 monitors worth of interfaces we monitored with the ability to bounce some if there were issues, etc.

    In general, we were directly part of the team supporting the mission of our hospitals and clinics, and were actually empowered to solve problems. Not everyone did so. Some just focused on general access and process issues, others would just pass things off to an analyst, and in general that would happen if call volume got high. But people liked that if they called they would get someone actually familiar with large chunks of the system, that could give them real answers or at least get their ticket to someone who could fairly reliably since we were literally on first name basis* with most of them.

    We even had an ER nurse from the hospital just down the street bring us a giant bag of candy on the day she retired.

    *okay, kind of cheating since all 3 citrix admins over like a 10 year span were named Chris.

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  • OctoberRavenOctoberRaven Plays fighting games for the story Skyeline Hotel Apartment 4ARegistered User regular
    Fun fact about Citrix: They're based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where I lived until recently and still live nearby. So that explains a lot about why Citrix is what it is.

    South Florida: At Least We Have Flanigans, The Best Restaurant Ever(tm)

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  • dennisdennis Executive Peasant Registered User regular
    Weirdly my best job was working on an IT customer support helpdesk.
    [etc]

    I had a similar good experience. While an undergrad, I worked the helpdesk for an on-campus computer lab. We were the "networking help desk", so in addition to fielding the everyday problems the users in the lab had (everything from applications to hardware to printing), we were the main point of contact for the trendy new technology: ethernet and modems. This was in the early 90s (a little too late to wear an onion on my belt), and they were just starting to wire people's dorm rooms for ethernet. Likewise, they were expanding ethernet hookups into more faculty areas. And they had bought large racks of 14.4k modems (and later other speeds) for students and faculty to use.

    We built the installer to put all the stuff you would need for this onto your Windows or Mac computer. At this time, neither OS had any good built-in support for that sort of thing. Manual IRQ settings were often involved. And we took walkups, phone calls and emails from people trying to get it to work. We had people bring their computers by (before Geek Squad was a thing) so we could hammer the oddball ones into shape. Because in those days, it was a bit of a dark art.

    I really enjoyed that job, and the people in general were nice. But like Tofystedeth's experience, this was due to us being treated like Real People, who were allowed to think and to act based on our knowledge. I didn't work for a company that had been bought by a larger company that was part of a larger conglomerate, all trying to wring every single penny out of the expenses in order to achieve Maximum Efficiency. I worked for some place where customer satisfaction really was the beginning and end of things.

    That's the thing people hate about "customer support" these days. It's incredibly clear to them that with most of these experiences, actually satisfying the (reasonable) customer is not up there at the top of the priorities. Maximizing revenue is. If your problem is difficult and more time would be spent fixing it than the profit you bring in as a customer, they don't give a fuck about fixing it.

    (When I do speak with customer support and get mad about it, I always go out of my way to say, "I know this isn't your fault. I know that you are not the person who created this system this way. I am very pissed off about the situation, but I am not pissed off at you as a person." At least, as long as they're not obviously intentionally being a dick, which they aren't 99% of the time.

    Tofystedeth
  • MarcinMNMarcinMN Registered User regular
    dennis wrote: »
    Weirdly my best job was working on an IT customer support helpdesk.
    [etc]

    That's the thing people hate about "customer support" these days. It's incredibly clear to them that with most of these experiences, actually satisfying the (reasonable) customer is not up there at the top of the priorities. Maximizing revenue is. If your problem is difficult and more time would be spent fixing it than the profit you bring in as a customer, they don't give a fuck about fixing it.

    Eh, that seems a bit jaded. I don't work in customer service, but I do work in health insurance claims, which is another industry that people love to hate. Yeah, companies like to make money. Huge surprise there. But just because my company wants to make the most money as possible doesn't mean that I'm going to half ass my job if it means the company will make a little more money. Individual employees have individual work ethics, and I like to believe that most of them aren't going to sway from those work ethics simply so the company can improve the bottom line.

    If I run into someone who seems to not be putting real effort into fixing my problem, I'm more likely to assume I got a lazy employee than I am that they are trying to get rid of me for the sake of company profits.

    "It's just as I've always said. We are being digested by an amoral universe."

    -Tycho Brahe
  • dennisdennis Executive Peasant Registered User regular
    edited March 27
    MarcinMN wrote: »
    dennis wrote: »
    Weirdly my best job was working on an IT customer support helpdesk.
    [etc]

    That's the thing people hate about "customer support" these days. It's incredibly clear to them that with most of these experiences, actually satisfying the (reasonable) customer is not up there at the top of the priorities. Maximizing revenue is. If your problem is difficult and more time would be spent fixing it than the profit you bring in as a customer, they don't give a fuck about fixing it.

    Eh, that seems a bit jaded. I don't work in customer service, but I do work in health insurance claims, which is another industry that people love to hate. Yeah, companies like to make money. Huge surprise there. But just because my company wants to make the most money as possible doesn't mean that I'm going to half ass my job if it means the company will make a little more money. Individual employees have individual work ethics, and I like to believe that most of them aren't going to sway from those work ethics simply so the company can improve the bottom line.

    I'm not referring to the individual employees. I'm referring to the companies. So if they can wring more money out by putting untrained people on the front line and sticking them with robotic push-a-button scripts, they do. Etc. The companies could fix the problem of terrible customer support, but they'd only do so if they could show it would bring in extra profit.

    This is why Comcast has had the shittiest ranked customer service for decades. Their practical monopoly means it's just not worth it to them to make it good. We're talking about a company that makes several billion dollars in profit each year. If they valued making their customer service a satisfactory experience rather than a complete tire fire, they could spend the money it would take to fix it.

    dennis on
  • palidine40palidine40 Registered User regular
    That stupid distinction where they try to sell you something on the support line and dont tell you they cant help you until 15 minutes of trying to sales pitch

  • DjiemDjiem Registered User regular
    edited March 27
    I wonder what the financial advantage of making it impossible to satisfy your customers is.

    To be fair, most customers are drooling idiots and basic troubleshooting solves 90% of calls, so this bit of gate-keeping saves a lot of time and money to the company in the long run.

    Also, depending on the company, the employees are sometimes severely undertrained and underpaid. Why should they give a shit?

    Djiem on
  • OctoberRavenOctoberRaven Plays fighting games for the story Skyeline Hotel Apartment 4ARegistered User regular
    edited March 27
    dennis wrote: »
    This is why Comcast has had the shittiest ranked customer service for decades.

    Fun fact: Comcast was one of the clients in one of the call centers I worked with. Probably still are. Also Apple.
    Djiem wrote: »
    Also, depending on the company, the employees are sometimes severely undertrained and underpaid.

    Guarantee you if it's a call center, there's a 100% chance of this. The training at my last gig was a joke. We'd have to do training sometimes while in the call queue, and the training consisted of literally just hitting the answers the supervisors gave us. Also, at a call center, the rules of call handling can change at the whims of the higher-ups, without us being told until we've already been penalized in QA for changes we didn't know about until after the fact.

    OctoberRaven on
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  • SonneillonSonneillon Registered User regular
    These companies are like calling a vampiric leech beaver, that's erected dam, a water flow provider. They then have served to construct more and more barriers in an effort to weaken you through thirst to drink your blood. They do the opposite of provide service. Its like when you find out mobile data costs them nothing, but sure enough, gotta milk the cattle. These companies didn't get as massive as quickly as they did by producing anything, merely extorting the populace.

  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    That's still better than Comcast. Tycho would be on hold for 40 minutes, have his router reset, get disconnected. And have to call back and be on hold for another 40 minutes.

    dennis
  • AkamarAkamar Registered User regular
    edited March 29
    PALIDINE40 / MARCH 27
    That stupid distinction where they try to sell you something on the support line and dont tell you they cant help you until 15 minutes of trying to sales pitch

    Worked for a center that did this. Training was a joke. Most of our training was SPECIFICALLY to do this. Their reasoning was always "THEY called YOU", and I never, ever understood why they thought people already pissed off at their bills (ok, I was on the phone side of AT&T). Sometimes it was over issues, and I'd have to try to run a series of tests...

    It was a nightmare. Actually, most training was learning how to LOOK UP issues as they happened.

    Akamar on
  • dennisdennis Executive Peasant Registered User regular
    edited March 29
    Tycho is the kind of client/customer most support hates, because he's fully someone who doesn't know what he's talking about ordering around someone who likely does.

    This view of support people is incredibly childish.
    I used to have TV service through my fiber provider, but maybe I was the only one, or it wasn't good business or something, so they decided to stop offering it. That didn't keep them from charging me for it, and when they took down my access to the Internet to remove it, access never came back despite their claims to contrary - I had to call them and enter a personal name and password I never created directly into the router to get back on. The line in panel two was a direct quote, and it was not a comfort. But once I was able to get them to remove the fee for the service I didn't have access to, they offered me gigabit speeds - ten times my original rate - for 25 dollars less than I was currently paying...? It was one of the most bewildering customer service experiences I've ever had. It still feels like my brain is spinning in my head.

    Tell me again how this view of support people is incredibly childish.

    dennis on
  • RingoRingo He/Him Bury me at Lone Tree DenRegistered User regular
    Some of that is clearly poorly designed/implemented systems (like the router login) that the call center peon has zero control over. It'd be much more equitable if the comic presented some poor chump being tortured by demons to force this kind of customer interaction rather than the person just themselves being a malicious demon

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  • dennisdennis Executive Peasant Registered User regular
    Ringo wrote: »
    Some of that is clearly poorly designed/implemented systems (like the router login) that the call center peon has zero control over. It'd be much more equitable if the comic presented some poor chump being tortured by demons to force this kind of customer interaction rather than the person just themselves being a malicious demon

    Saying the line in the panel two (which he says is a direct quote) does not seem like it'd be mandated from above. Especially as phrased.

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