Pick up the Phone

Until we better develop telepathic technology and autonomous vehicles, my IT service colleagues and I agree that picking up the telephone is the fastest way to get emergency help for tech issues. Problems that can be resolved in minutes can take hours when you text instead of talk.

One issue with one of our clients illustrates how our infatuation with text instead of talk can add to a problem instead of speeding its resolution. I should preface the story by telling you that our client is tech savvy, and that we had a good laugh about it afterward. But while the problem was ongoing, it was pretty grim.

The issue had to do with a password that had a combination of letters and numbers. When entering the password, the user typed the letters on the keyboard and the numbers from the numeric keypad. While it makes no sense to us mere mortals, the keypad puts the numbers in random places. So, when the user entered the password, it was rejected. The solution would have been to use the keyboard for all characters.

A phone call would have solved it. Instead, there was a series of five texts over the course of an hour, each escalating in intensity. One of the texts implored me to call them. I didn’t see the texts because I was in a meeting and then driving. It’s fair to say that when you have someone in a meeting, you want their full attention – without that person glancing at a phone and responding to other messages. That’s how we operate unless it’s an emergency or an urgent situation. I also turn off text reception when we drive – and that’s an important safety move.

Why would a phone call have been faster? If I am unable to take the call, my receptionist takes it and gets a description of the problem and your sense of urgency. We have a system that allows our receptionist to break into a meeting if it’s judged an emergency. Not being able to log in to a website to conduct business would have been deemed an emergency.

Once I got word that our client couldn’t log in, I reset the password remotely. When the client reset the password and couldn’t log in, I was able to discover the root of the problem and let the client know about using the keyboard instead of the numeric keypad for entering password numbers.

This story illustrates how texting is abused. It’s not meant to be a means of emergency communications – except in those cases where they’re used in 9-1-1 emergencies where a caller’s safety could be endangered by talking. (And if you’re in that situation, we hope you have the presence of mind to silence your phone for all notifications.) If you need to contact someone who you know is in a car, it only makes sense to call and not text.

The moral of this story: Call us – 973-433-6676 – if you have an emergency or urgent problem. You’ll get a faster response and resolution.