I can't fix everything – nor should I

We in support cannot and should not neglect our customers in order to help another company's customer.

The products I support integrate well with other IT systems and this means, on occasion, when someone calls in with a problem, the issue isn’t with our solution, but with the other product. While I’m happy to help when I can, even when the issue isn’t with our product, sometimes I just can’t. This is what happened a few days ago, when a customer called in with an eDirectory issue. 

The eDirectory wasn’t updating all the necessary information and the customer wanted me to fix it. After investigating the issue, it was clear the problem wasn’t coming from our side and unfortunately it wasn’t something I could fix. After suggesting the customer contact the eDirectory vendor, he became… belligerent. He didn’t understand why I couldn't just fix the system, even though he understood the problem wasn't with our product.

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The end of phone support? I don't think so

The fact is we are here to support the products our company sells. If the issue with another system is small or won’t take long to fix – and[ITALICS] I know how to fix it, most of the time I am happy to help the customer. But the fact is, we aren’t experts on all forms of IT and all products. And, we really shouldn’t be working on a product from another company, especially as I more than likely don’t know as much about another company’s product (as the company’s own support staff does). I could exacerbate the situation and then I’d be liable for fixing it. Moreover, I have lots of customers to support and, when I am helping you, that means I am not helping someone else. We in support cannot and should not neglect our customers in order to help another company’s customer.

I’m flattered if/when customers think I am so great at my job that I can fix any problem they have, but I don’t want to make their problem worse. So, the best course of action to take once we determine the problem isn’t with our product is to call the other company.

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