Sometimes when doing phone support, we know that the problem is something simple. However, we also know that the user will think we are insulting them by suggesting it’s so simple. Thus, a ruse must be employed in order to allow them to save face; if not, they will dismiss our solution out of hand.
The most obvious of these is the ‘are you sure it’s plugged in?’ question. Sometimes it’s bloody obvious that the problem is that the power/mouse/keyboard/printer cable is not plugged in properly, but asking the user to check is so clichéd that they will either be insulted by us suggesting it, or claim they’ve already checked when they really haven’t.
My favourite ruse for this is to ask them to do the following:
- Unplug the cable from the back of the computer.
- Blow into the socket that the cable plugs into “to blow the dust out”.
- Plug the cable back in.
There is, of course, no dust in there at all, but many people will fall for this and check, only to find that the cable is not plugged in properly, and plug it in. Usually they will simply acknowledge that this has fixed the problem, but, very occasionally, they will lie about how much dust there was in an overblown attempt to disguise their muppetry.