correct me if i'm wrong, but doesn't any customer support center always have a recording that comes on before you can speak with a human, saying, 'this call may be recorded for quality assurance'?

prole, above

Rest assured, my good fellow, that your calls are being recorded for Quality Assurance purposes. However, Quality Assurance measures only conformance to a strict set of 'guidelines':

  • Did the tech use the Official Greeting? (Never again will you wonder why we sound so soulless)
  • Did the tech get the customer off the line in ten minutes?
  • Did the tech use lots of we words (this is right off of our QA sheet) to build a rapport with the caller?
  • Did the tech step outside of the (extremely narrow) supported products list? (This is often worth more points than it has any right to, and explains why it's so hard to get help with anything other than The Product, the previous two versions of Windows, Internet Explorer, and Outlook Express.)
  • Did he ask all the mandatory questions? (Which is why ISP support lines almost always ask what operating system you have, even if it's obviously a problem with the connection, not the computer. Imagine the conflicts this can generate with the previous rule.)

Note that nowhere in the list does it require that the technician have any idea what he's doing. Half the time he's just reading off a script tree anyways. Your best hope in most situations is to just go along with it; he'll escalate you eventually.

Generally, internal helpdesks are more useful and less constrained than customer support lines; theoretically you can go down the hall and fix it yourself if you work in the same building and you don't have to worry about losing the caller's custom. Internal helpdesks are also less concerned about irate callers deciding to sue the company.