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24, Dec 2021
Tech Support Email Writing Exposed!

For a long time, I have been noticing the — sometimes appalling — way that people write emails. Too many do not bother to check their writing before sending out their emails. We see that in personal emails, business emails and on internet forums. The worst offenders being sales letters that are full of errors!

And, more and more, we see this sloppiness in the correspondence of tech support groups who are front end customer service representatives!

Too common in the virtual office…

Ok, small typos are understandable. We all make them.

But BIG typos, one after another, along the whole string of e-conversations can be very unpleasant to say the least, and do not express a demonstration of customer appreciation nor professionalism.

Imagine standing in a real time face-to-face discussion and the person you’re conversing with stumbles at every other word, stringing together a couple of words at regular intervals, skipping pronouns and endings, and leaving off whole consonants and prepositions…

… and you had to put up with several of these communicators in your place of business within the inter-personal activities of management, customers and suppliers day after day.

How would that feel? What would it say about those people you’re communicating with?

Well, this happens all the time in the virtual office!

Hard to take in Customer Service…

And it covers all spectra of email correspondents. But I wrote a report that covers specifically the writing of those in the profession of tech support who are as I already mentioned, front-end customer service representatives.

Just recently, I’ve come across a whole number of these e-communications while working with several technical support groups at various e-service establishments. These are million-dollar outfits. And I’m one of their *treasured* customers.

I show an on-going dialogue on an issue where, after several email exchanges, the tech support person ‘suddenly’ realized that I ‘was an affiliate’ and therefore had been giving me the wrong information all along — but I had told him right at the top that I *was* an affiliate.

Sends the wrong message…

And of course there are the bad spelling and grammar items in all of these correspondence matters. Howbeit not reserved for tech support people only. But certainly shared by them as well.

As some experts have said, poor spelling and grammar show a lack of attention and sends the wrong message about how people do business.

There are more examples of tech support emails in my full Report. Like the two totally different answers to the same question that came from two tech support people from the same tech support department.

And the one where the tech support person totally lost the issue at hand, after several emails, and apologized profusely to the customer for “misreading” her email when, in fact, he hadn’t!

3 Steps to Better Email Writing…

And, of course, all that happening with a good doze of typos. The Report shows it like it is, but also provides solutions in a simple 3 Steps to Better Email Writing discussions, and some links to excellent web sites on the subject loaded with articles and tips.

24, Dec 2021
Tech Support Comedy

If you’ve every tried to get service on your computer, you will appreciate this website which is filled with tech support horror stories that would make the most stalwart consumer cringe. This website is dedicated to providing some comic relief to those working in the tech support field, as well as providing a forum for the weary tech guy to vent frustrations from possibly one of the most aggravating jobs in the industy. It is not geared toward the consumer, although reading it will give you a real look into what the tech guys are going through on the other end of the telephone.

It features stories, jokes and venting about what’s happening on the other end of the support line:

Dumpster Diving

SF calls saying that her printer has a “No Print Head Installed” warning on her LCD screen. Did a little investigating (okay, I’m lying) and *surprise*, the print head wasn’t installed. I asked SF if there were any extra parts in the box her printer came in (I expected her to say yes, because this is a pretty common call, apparently, the black box that comes with the printer is automatically assumed to be “extra ink”). She said she didn’t know. Well, where is the box, I asked. I threw it away already. Well, you’re screwed, I thought to myself (the print head piece costs more than the printer). I explained this to her, she looks out her window at the dumpster she threw the box in. I think I can still see the box, she tells me. She then, takes the cordless phone, goes down the stairs, up the street and brings me with her as she dumpster dives for TWENTY minutes. I put my phone on mute and switched it to speaker, my whole row almost died of laughter and although it’s cliche (this really happened) we even heard a cat screech in the background after she (I’m guessing) threw garbage on it. SF locates the print head and we get her printer working . This is the best call I’ve ever had.

“It’s not f****** rocket science” said by me (muted) to the last idiot who needed to have me go over the reboot process (power cycle modem and router, restart computer) 5 (that’s FIVE) times after she called in to have a new router mac added to her internet modem account. Sorry, I’ve had a string of stupid calls today. I need that T-shirt for xmas, lol.

They have a number of neat products if you work in the technical support arena. It’s advertised like this: The Tech Support Comedy Store “contains products that are of particular interest to people that wok in the area of technical support.” What does this mean?

More strangeness than I’d like to consider including things like a link to the Red Swingline Stapler site ironically called Stapler.com. They also have some really great T-shirts with witty phrases like, “I worked in tech support and all I got was this stupid t-shirt,” on the front, and “…and your credit card number” on the back. In these times, that is funny and vaguely disturbing. Who knew that tech support folk’s sideline business is scam theiving scumbags — well the acronym is the same.

Another t-shirt that’s guaranteed to leave you warm and fuzzy reads “I get paid for tech support…” on the front, “…I don’t get paid to care” on the back.

Tech-Support-Comedy is just plain funny, and whether you’re an IT person, a corporate executive with a frustrated tech guy on staff fixing your computer and mumbling under his/her breath about how stupid you are, or just a janitor who bought a $299 after mail-in rebate Dell vanilla computer, you’ll find humor and chuckles worth the trip over to the site.

24, Dec 2021
Hints In Resolving Your Problems Through Tech Support

Tech support or technical support is a series of services supplying assistance with computer hardware, software, or other electronic or mechanical goods. This technical support services tries to help the users to solve such problems regarding the products. Most companies or manufacturer avoid sending or training individuals to gain knowledge about the system that should be followed and exercised regarding the problems that can be encountered in the products.

There are many ways to contact companies who sell hardware or software, mostly offer tech support over the telephone or via various online media like email or at websites.

There are times that companies or institutions supply an internal tech support for employees, students or other associates. This is mostly offered to those known schools and company scholars. And lastly, you can know or ask some hints about tech support in many freely available technical support forums on the internet, wherein some expert and experienced individuals volunteer to help those beginners.

Technical support can happen through different media, including e- mail, live chat, telephones, applications, faxes, and technicians, but the most common is by using the telephone. So it’s up to you where you can be comfortable by having your own tech support.

Tech support alters depending on the variety of responsibilities. The support that is needed by individual depends on what level it is. Because some things that are not supported in lower levels of support can be supported with higher level services. For example, only direct questions can possibly be deal with by using your SMS or fax. When it comes to basic software problems it can be deal with by using your telephone. And hardware problems sometimes needed to be negotiated with a person or agents.

There are the ways on how to reach and avail tech support, for you to have the fastest reply on technical support that you want to contact there are a proper way on how to do it. Here are some helpful hints that should be followed for your assistance:

– Do not email technical support more that once. Duplicate e-mails may delay the response time.

– Be specific regarding your problems. Give all the possible cause that might be some reasons that triggers the problems that you encountered. Never forgot some details, because this might be the key in solving your problems. The more details you provide, the issue will have better chance of getting solved faster.

– Do read your manual. This might help in resolving your problems.

– Always be polite, remember you are not the only one who needed help. There are tremendous amount of persons who needed assistance. The one that might help you must be busy and his or her replies may take a while. And be aware that response times via e- mail may take up to a few weeks.

– It is better for you to contact your dealers first before resorting to call for a tech support. They might also solve your problems. How would you know if it is just a common problem that their products encountered? They are also the best one who can solve your problem, because they are the one who manufactures the item.

– If you are using your e- mail, never use an anonymous account this will not be acknowledged by any tech support services. Due to their numerous e- mails that they received, always use the e- mail address that they can reply to.

24, Dec 2021
Tech Blog – Keep Readers Up To Date

In about the year 2000, the idea came to thousands of people at once: why not place your personal journal on the internet? Now blogs about every conceivable subject draw millions of visitors every single day. Many of these bloggers decided to start writing about tech news. There are many people who keep a technology blog about the latest new products and ideas; a tech blog can help you separate the valuable new gadgets from the useless junk.

Odds are you have visited one of these tech blogs and read reviews on your digital camera before buying it. Tech blogs are basically product review pages and advice columns you can find across the world wide web, and they have given voice to the geeks. By virtue these blogs have brought geeks, nerds, and techies into vogue. You wouldn’t drop $400 dollars on a new camcorder if you didn’t at least look around for reviews, and who better to give them than these guys.

The kids who were once bullied on the playground and ridiculed for being nerds because they prefer machines to people are now successful people. In our high-tech world, the nerds are now dispensing advice on the latest technological gadget, digital camera, wireless networks, and cell phones. Maybe their advice is even going out to the kids that once pushed them around at recess.

Many of the gaming blogs tend to be geared toward the high-end gamer and not your average computer user, who would likely recoil at the cost of a true gaming computer. Many of these bloggers have, by virtue of their experience, an almost encyclopedic knowledge of computer hardware, in addition to helpful advice on virus, spyware, and malware removal.

Considering how reliant every man, woman and child is on technology, perhaps the question should be why there are not more geeks. No one thinks twice about automatic garage doors, wireless telephones, and portable devices that remain connected. It is also not unusual for one to automatically have the coffee ready, or to lower the thermostat and brighten the house from the cellular telephone during the commute. Further, the coffee shops on every corner not only provide a favorite caffeine loaded beverage, but an internet fix as well.

The increasing influence of tech blogs have given a voice to small players who otherwise would not be heard. Bloggers who may be shy in their day to day lives can become articulate, outgoing and forceful advocates for the trends in the tech world.

24, Dec 2021
Colleges Assess Campus Security and Disaster Coordination After Virginia Tech Shootings

Preventing Seung-Hui Cho from opening fire at two different locations on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va. – taking 32 lives before his own – would have been difficult. And it would have been just as difficult on most college campuses for a few reasons.

“Because of the open nature of institutions of higher education and because we are dealing with the human psychology,” said Adam Garcia, director of University Police Services at the University of Nevada, Reno. “In less than a decade, we have gone from shooting situations in K-12 schools to terrorism to an adult lone wolf, who are extremely difficult to identify in advance.”

When it comes to violent crime, college campuses have long been shrouded in a false sense of security. That mindset, however, must change to mitigate the effects of another tragedy – or prevent one altogether.

Tragedies like Columbine and Virginia Tech have pushed campuses toward evaluating their security practices and communication procedures, and the aftermath provides insight as to what took place. The outcome will undoubtedly lead to new measures that make college campuses safer.

Garcia said an event like the one that took place at Virginia Tech would overwhelm just about any community and law enforcement organization. But new issues came to light, and communities should acknowledge that college campuses aren’t immune to crime and should be prepared.

“For too long, universities and colleges were seen as safe havens from crime,” Garcia said. “Communities must face the reality that acts of violence and crime can and do occur anywhere.”

Before Chaos Ensues

Prevention is difficult, but to gain some semblance of control over the situation, communication is important. As was evident at Virginia Tech, it’s not easy, and significant planning is involved.

“The challenge of communicating with everybody on campus, as well as people outside of campus who have a relationship to what’s going on, is a big challenge, and is really one of the more crucial elements to emergency management,” said Guy Miasnik, president and CEO of AtHoc, a firm that has helped secure facilities at the Department of Defense (DoD) for years.

Virginia Tech officials were questioned after the shootings as to why the campus wasn’t shut down during the two-hour lull between shootings, and why everyone on campus wasn’t notified after the first round of shootings in which two people were killed in a dorm room.

“When people don’t know what’s happening, that’s what creates chaos and creates frustration, and potentially creates a tremendous amount of danger,” Miasnik said.

Virginia Tech’s emergency communications system included e-mail, as opposed to text messaging, which could have been helpful since students are accustomed to texting and used it to communicate amongst themselves during the shootings.

Sources said using multiple means of communications during such an event is critical. “Assuming a single channel will work when you need it isn’t sufficient,” Miasnik said.

As it does after these types of events, the University of Nevada is taking a new look at its readiness after the Virginia Tech disaster.

“We are evaluating our current state of readiness from a law enforcement perspective, as well as a community perspective,” Garcia said. “Redundant lines of communication to faculty, staff and students are being explored.”

Communications methods being examined include cell phones and landline message “dumps,” which are mass communications sent to people who sign up to receive emergency alerts; text messages; Web site improvements; message boards; campus LCD monitors; and reverse 911, said Garcia. The school is also considering establishing an emergency critical management group composed of five to seven high-level university officials.

Multiple Means of Communicating

Some lessons learned from years of securing DoD facilities include quickly making decisions and disseminating information, having multiple lines of communication, and conveying a consistent message over all of them from a centralized source.

Multiple communications methods must be used to get in touch with necessary people because some methods may not work, and some people may not be reached by certain channels, Miasnik said.

“So by having multiple channels, you really have a much better chance of reaching the people you need,” he said. “The second important lesson is being able to centralize the management of the emergency communication, because one consequence of having three or four or five different channels of communication might be that you need different systems to manage each one of them. And that’s not good, because every minute really counts, and you want to have a system that can really communicate and leverage all of these channels of communication at once with a single activation.”

In addition to single activation, single management of the system is critical so a consistent message is sent through each channel.

“For example, if you communicate over four or five different channels, but the message you are sending over each is not exactly the same, you may be doing more damage than good,” Miasnik said. “You may be confusing people about what to do.”

This type of communication must be second nature; the procedures must be defined for each type of event before it happens, and then practiced, Miasnik said.

“You have to figure out, if this happens, this is what I do: I communicate with the following people,” he said. “What are the messages? Who are we communicating with? Who is allowed to communicate? All of that has to be predefined as part of emergency procedures.”

Moving Forward

After the Virginia Tech tragedy, colleges across the nation examined what technology and procedures could be implemented to help officials confront such an event.

In Illinois, Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced college campus security initiatives that would create a campus security task force and distribute more than 300 Motorola radios on three college campuses. The radios are expected to be in place by the fall 2007 semester, and campus security personnel will be trained to use them.

California State University, Fresno, is meeting with vendors to discuss the viability of a cell phone message system that would text volunteers. University officials are studying procedures and policies at Virginia Tech and visiting the campus to learn from the tragedy.

The University of California at Berkeley recently introduced a system called People Locator, a Web-based application that lets students, faculty and staff securely log in, report their locations and leave messages during an emergency.

Prior to the Virginia Tech incident, Hampton University in Virginia implemented a prototype security system called Response Information Folder System (RIFS), developed by Alion. RIFS allows emergency responders and school officials to quickly access 3-D and 2-D models, panoramic images and glean other facts about the facility. The system has GIS capability that helps integrate facts about an event with a geographic context.

RIFS has no emergency warning component, but possible expansion includes emergency alerting via text messaging and e-mail, according to Teresa Walker, assistant provost for technology and director of the Academic Technology Mall at Hampton University.

During the spring, Hampton also implemented an Internet filtering and monitoring application by 8e6 Technologies called Threat Analysis Reporter. “It allows us to pull categories that we want to monitor for inappropriate use on the Internet or block altogether,” Walker said. “We are able to immediately gather data on any individual who visits sites deemed as inappropriate or attempts to access sites that we have blocked.”

Such categories include pornography, hate and discrimination, extremist and terrorist sites, and weapons and arms sites, she said, adding that students are aware of this and understand it’s university policy.

As for upgrading campus security, Miasnik advises campuses to look around and see what others are doing, and to take advantage of existing infrastructure.

“Colleges have networks. They’ve invested tremendous amounts of money in networks pretty much everywhere on campus,” he said. “There are wired networks; wireless networks; everybody has a laptop; there are lab kiosks. Leverage what you have in place. For a relatively small investment, you can turn every laptop, every kiosk or even a phone into an alerting device. The investment is usually somewhere in the range of 20 to 30 bucks per student per year.

“My No. 1 recommendation is to learn from others,” Miasnik continued. “You can’t reinvent the wheel here. There are organizations that have been dealing with this for decades.”

Requirements for Managing a Campus Crisis

  1. A proper mindset for the community. For too long, universities and colleges were seen as safe havens from crime. Communities must face the reality that acts of violence and crime can, and do, occur anywhere.
  2. Adequate training for law enforcement officers. After Columbine and the 1997 North Hollywood shootings involving two bank robbers, law enforcement began to change tactics from responding, containing the situation and waiting for a tactical squad, to responding and confronting the threat without waiting for a tactical response. Institutional law enforcement must be prepared with the proper training in an “active shooter” situation.
  3. Adequate and proper equipment and funding for campus law enforcement officers are imperative for their self-sufficiency. Most university and college law enforcement agencies now need to be properly equipped. It is no longer sensible to have to wait for other agencies to respond. The single minutes it takes for additional help to arrive could mean the difference between life and death for many.
  4. Proper notification of those exhibiting behaviors out of the norm, while balancing civil rights of students and others.

Source: Adam Garcia; director of University Police Services; University of Nevada, Reno

Under Watchful Eye

Liberty Public Schools in Kansas City, Mo., have had surveillance cameras for years that focused on athletic fields, school buildings, parking lots and hallways and sometimes helped identify vandals and trespassers.

Now the cameras are linked to the local police department instead of the district technology staff, and that connection could mean more immediate action on the part of police should there be a shooting or other major event.

Video from the cameras is piped into the police station’s dispatch office and can be broadcast to a laptop. Police can watch an array of cameras simultaneously or a single full-screen camera and can view virtually every common area of the school buildings.

Source: Kansas City Star

10, Dec 2021
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