Knuckle Dragging Helpdesk Monkeys

July 6, 2006

My first experience of outsourced services.
The salesman comes in with his smartly dressed “Technical sales advisor” companion and begins explaining all the benefits his company can offer if we outsource the IT helpdesk to them.
I can’t really argue, “although you may only have one or two of our people on site, they have access to all our other engineers combined knowledge at our head office, if one of the people we supply calls in ill we’ll send a substitute”.
I guess it’s possible he’s not a liar – I’m much too polite to suggest that during the meeting. His right hand techie man is great, everything I’ve mentioned so far he’s heard of and seems to have a good grounding in; so the deal is done.

Monday morning two new helpdesk operators arrive – for ease I’ll call them monkey 1 and monkey 2, they probably had names but I try to block as much out of this episode in my life as possible.
What you must realise is that the outsourcing company had two targets; maximize the cost paid by the customer company and minimize the cost of supplying the staff. Needless to say monkeys 1 and 2 were the cheapest they could find and were experienced to the level you would expect for minimum wage.
Monkeys 1 and 2 changed appearance quite regularly, there’s a pretty high turnover in that business, we had a few that only lasted a day each – simply not turning up the next day and telling no one.
Sickness cover did not transpire, worse than that, they refused even to cover holidays simply saying they had no spare engineers. 

Eventually we decided to bring the service back in house, it actually cost less and we were able to give prospective candidates much more thorough interviews and aptitude tests. 

A new manager now manages that department and guess what?, here we go again…


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