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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Comments About That Unusually Helpful AOL Tech Person

Comments came up about how unusually helpful the AOL tech was and that she didn't want company recognition...

I had dealt with at least 6 AOL techs over the last couple months.  I'm not saying they weren't helpful to the degree required for their jobs.  But if there was something I couldn't do or understand, they lost patience quickly.  So they didn't go out of their way to help.  They were following AOL rules.  One is paying $5 per month per email account that they could verify.  Another was that I had to know the previous passwords which were on the dead Mac Mini.  They pretty much just tried to get me off the phone to get to the next customer.

I should mention that the previous ones might have had trouble because I didn't have a 2nd phone for sending a code to, or call waiting set up.  I did contact my service provider (Verizon) to set that up.  It just took a button click on My Account and then discovering there was a button on my phone labeled "call waiting'!  Well, you don't see what you aren't looking for...

When I talked to this latest one, it was obvious she was not so concerned with AOL rules.  She didn't ask if I had an paid account for each email address.  She asked if I had passwords, but when I said I didn't (and explained why) she said "then we will set of new ones".  She was patient after asking questions that I didn't fully understand.  She answered some questions she didn't have to bother answering.

An example was "what is the difference between POP and IMAP accounts"?  She explained that POP was easier for AOL but did not allow recovery of email files while IMAP took a little more work, but allowed recoveries.  When I mentioned that my working email account was POP, she said "well let's fix that first".   And she did.

She was on "remote control" over my computer by then.  She explained what she was doing at each step.  After changing my primary email account from POP to IMAP we went to the marksmews email.  She didn't ask if I had a monthly payment account, she just went about setting it up as IMAP.  To do so, she generated a master password on her end and told me to enter a password of my own afterwards to change it.  And she specifically said at all such times that she had turned off her vieing so that she couldn't see my new password. 

OK, that might have been untrue, but I was trusting her.  I think she was being honest.  Besides, I'm sure anyone at AOL could see my passwords if they wanted to.

So she had my cavebear email changed to the safer IMAP format and the marksmews email set up the same way.  She asked if I needed further assistance.  I mentioned a 3rd email accounnt.  When she asked why have 3 accounts, I explained it was one general email and one each for 2 blogs (cats and gardening) just to keep them separate.

She laughed and said she admired organized computer files.  I didn't mention that I keep so many folders of various kinds that I used to drive the computer guys nuts at work when they had to solve a problem.  They make sense to me and that is all that matters.

So she went about setting up my yardenman email (gardening) as Imap and went through the process of creating a temporary new master password at her end *sending a temporay code to my call-waiting) and then going off-viewing while I created a new one for myself.

All in all, it was a wonderful experience.  I have never in my life had a better experience with a computer company tech.  So why did she decline to let me thank AOL on her behalf? 

Well, during our hour-long chat, I mentioned that she was unusually helpful and did she really enjoy doing this?  OK, I would expect any company agent to express a positive attitude whether they actually enjoyed their job or not.

She seemed actually happy to help people get problems fixed and to be the one to fix them.  So parts of being happy at what you do are hard to disguise.  She seemed to REALLY enjoy what she was doing.

I get that.  When I visit my favorite gardening forum, the first thread I go to is the "Questions" thread.  Some guys love cars, some like sports, I was gardening as a preteen.  So it has been 60 years...  I love to answer gardening questions!  I get positive pleasure from helping other people garden well. 

So, apparently, the AOL tech rep I spoke to feels the same way about computers.  I think that she knows that she is breaking AOL rules by helping people without asking for payment programs or pushing add-on "pay-for" services.  It just gives her pleasure to help others with her expertise.

An aside...  The internet has been the greatest opportunity for people to share their individual knowledge since the invention of the mass-printed book.  Before the printing press (invented in symbol-driven China, but much more applicable to European letter systems), scholars had to write individual letters to the few others they knew about things they had discovered (expensive, slow, and uncertain of delivery).  After the printing press, scholars could write whole books available to all who could buy one (it still wasn't cheap).  But 1,000 books reached more people than a dozen short letters.

With the internet, we can reach a Billion people if they are interested and nearly for free.  So sending answers to questions (whether computer, gardening, cooking, etc) into the internet is basically "books cubed".

The AOL tech woman is one of those.

1 comment:

Megan said...

It's sad, isn't it, that she 'knows' that AOL wouldn't necessarily share your very positive opinion of her because she's not necessarily acting according to company rules. But the thing is that the beancounters/managers at companies such as this one simply don't understand that providing outstanding customer service will lead to greater revenue and profits in the long term. I mean, just look at you: telling the world what a wonderful experience you've had with AOL (well, with one person, I appreciate - but you get my point). I've been with the same internet provider for 20 years; they're not the cheapest but they meet my two highest priority needs: (i) reliability of service and (ii) excellent help desk support on the odd occasions that I need it (usually about once per year). I'm happy to pay a bit more for this.

Yes - what on earth did we do before the internet?? You can understand why young people who have known nothing else must shake their heads and wonder!

Megan
Sydney, Australia