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Tech supporting when you're not a tech support place?

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4 replies to this topic

#1 DnDer


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Posted 16 December 2008 - 03:14 PM

Long story short, our company has a website that people can use our services for. I'm the guy getting calls lately when they can't access it. When I walk them through the procedures (usually look over their shoulder with something like gotomeeting), I see that the problem is not always inability to get to our site, or even a problem with our site. The problem is malware, of a dozen varieties.

I see the potential for profit (and personal experience) to service these computers in a preventive capacity. Get an AV on, set up a firewall, et al. But that's not part of my job description, nor something I should do for these customers on the clock.

Before I even ask one customer, or spitball the idea near my boss to ask for permission... How's this looked upon in the professional IT world? It's not exactly moonlighting, so no real conflict of interest. But there's also the potential that they'll see me as a company rep instead of "the guy fixing their computer," which might cause a liability issue.

Does anyone do this on the side? Or is this just really bad juju to even think about?

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#2 Guest_fuzzywuzzy6_*


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Posted 16 December 2008 - 04:37 PM

I am not an IT, but as a consumer, I do have some comments:

(1) Even if you are making it clear that you are not acting for your employer, your employer could be concerned about potential liability, even if you were to make the traditional disclaimers about warranties and damage to a computer or its applications;

(2) Your employer would be concerned that you are not putting all your time at work into its interests and its products. In the current economic climate, it might not be happy about you doing so even in your own time and with your own resources;

(3) Ask your employer if you could do a help page, with links to various resources and descriptions thereof, with the caveat that the user of the help page is responsible for making his own decisions and in how he applies the resources. You could present this as a way to enhance the company's public reputation and consumer satisfaction while helping to protect the company from the ongoing onslaught of computer viruses. This might also impress your employer with your creativity, loyalty and conscientiousness. You could also present this as a way to save your own time with customers who are having problems. You have been spending a lot of time on customer diagnostics and education, which prevents you from spending more time on their problems with your company's products.

#3 Andrew


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Posted 18 December 2008 - 04:47 PM

If I understand you right, you're clients are calling you for tech support, even though it's not your job? If that's so I'd definately mention it to your boss. You ought to be getting paid or at least recognized for your extra customer service work there. At the very least, you can use it at your next review as a huge "I make things better here" point.

#4 DnDer

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 05:44 PM

I'm in IT. It's my job to make sure our products are working and accessible by our clients.

There has been at least one case where I've determined our products are working as-advertised without issue. The issue has been on the client's computer, usually in the form of malware or just hyper-protective software (ie, firewalls blocking ports). This is where I have begun troubleshooting for at least one client, to get their computer to a position where it can connect to our already-functioning product - something that should be above and beyond my job description's scope.

My boss, so far, doesn't mind as long as it's not eating massive quantities of my time. (It's not. She sends me an e-mail with results of instructions I sent her. I send her back another set of instructions. And this trade happens once every 3-4 days.) However, I could solve her problem faster if I had her tower and could spend time uninterrupted on it, personally diagnosing and curing the machine - something that would eat into my "employee time."

The question is: "Can I take meet her off company property, take her computer home, make it work, and earn some extra money... without causing a conflict of interest, real or imagined, among all parties?"

Follow-up: "Even if I can do that, is it *right* (as far as the IT industry is concerned) to double-dip like that?"

#5 BlackSpyder


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Posted 19 December 2008 - 07:50 PM

If the boss's PC is company property than it could be considered double dipping. However personal property is open game off the clock. For customers, Tell the customers that the issue is not with your product but rather with malware or whatever is causing the issue. If its lightweight work take care of it so the product works properly. If it's overly involved work suggest someone else take care of the issue (like their IT department)

Ex. Me welding spring hangers on My supervisor's Personal Car off the clock at home , fair game and made descent money doing it. Welding exhaust on his Manager's Company Truck off the clock for pay, very bad idea did that one on company time but took a tip when offered.

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