Doing Tech Support Better

Once upon a time, a very long time ago, I needed to close a game, so I clicked on the close icon prompting the message “Press ESC to exit, or any key to continue.” Only, when I tried to type ESC like the computer said to, it sent me back to the game. So I tried again. And again. I tried typing faster and then slower. I tried holding down all three keys at once. I tried turning on Caps Lock. Pressing the keys really hard. Nothing worked, and eventually, defeated, I just walked away.

Had I called tech support, the conversation could have gone something like this:

My 7 year old self: uh hi. The computer is broken

Tech Support: have you tried turning it on and off again

M7YOS: yes.

TS: are you sure?

M7YOS: yes, but it doesn’t work

TS: what doesn’t work

M7YOS: turning it off

TS: …..

TS: *sighs* look at your computer


TS: see that big round button with a circle in it

M7YOS: yes…?

TS: hold it down

M7YOS: ok

TS: hold it down again. Did that fix your problem?

M7YOS: well it’s closed…?

~ dial tone ~

We’ve all had the unfortunate IT support experience of calling in, and after waiting forever, being talked to like you are an idiot. No one needs that, especially not when they are also condescended to daily by Excel. Disclaimer: I am the Jen Barber of the Scout support team. Everyone else is much more technologically capable.

At Scout we try to do things a little differently. We want to ensure you never dread calling in with an issue, even if the last time we talked, the problem was that it wasn’t plugged in. We may still ask you to reboot your computer, but only because that fixes a surprising number of problems. We want your IT support to be more like Starbucks than your internet provider and to make that a reality, we need to hire for it. There are a lot of things that you can teach. Interpersonal skills are not really one of them, at least in our experience.

Meeting the staffing needs of a growing company is always a challenge, regardless of what industry you are in. At Scout, it seems that little bit harder, because we are looking for the magical combination of both technical and interpersonal skills in an industry with a not entirely undeserved stereotype of being short on the latter. Eating Cheetos in the dark all day will do that to you. This challenge leads us to continually evolve our hiring process to better attract and identify that combination, the fruit of which can be seen in our current team. They are, in my admittedly biased opinion, fantastic.

The latest thing that we have “improved” upon are our job descriptions, which until recently, read more like daily list of tasks than a job that anyone who actually wanted to enjoy their job would apply for. The part that is hard to convey, but I hope you get a glimpse of here, is that we have a team of people who love working together and doing things well. They are my favourite part of  Scout, and when you have a coffee machine within rolling distance of your desk, that’s saying a lot.

So if you, or someone you know, would like to join a team of excellent individuals at a great company, you can apply here. Or you can just go to admire the new job descriptions. That works too.