I punched my desk lightly, then asked a few general questions to get a sense of the situation:
"What do you see on the screen?"
"Are any of the lights on?"
His responses were the same: "The computer's broken, I tell you."
I asked if the user was available. She was, and I was transferred. I then asked that person the same questions -- and got a lot further.
The user said she was at the login screen and the lights were indeed on. At this point I thought to myself, a bit sarcastically, "What do you know? No broken computer to replace."
I then asked the user what problem she was having. She said she was unable to log in -- a far cry from a completely broken computer. "What happens when you try to log in?" I asked. She replied, "It says my account is locked and to contact the administrator."
I unlocked the account and reset the password. Minutes later she was able to log in.
I asked her if the manager was still there, but he wasn't. I called him back to inform him that his employee was able to log in and the computer was fine; it was just a locked account. He replied with his standard, "OK, thanks!"
I closed the ticket, took a few deep breaths, and got back to other tasks. This wouldn't be the last we'd hear from him, but least the company didn't have to pay for a new computer that day.
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This story, "Dear user: Details do matter," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more crazy-but-true stories in the anonymous Off the Record blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.