'Thanks' thrill for 'doctor'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 September, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 September, 1997, 12:00am

It is easy guessing who Anthony Ho's favourite caller is . . . the one who phoned back just to say 'thanks'.

'It made me feel great,' he said.

In six months working for Asia Online's technical helpline, there have been few such grateful callers.

Each of the helplines receives hundreds of calls each day, almost half of them from new users who are having trouble getting on-line for the first time.

The calls Mr Ho answers can be anything from complaints about the Asia Online home page and the server's telephone hold music, to complex technical questions on programming.

Another user called to say he could not get on to the Internet nor get a dial tone. 'He hadn't plugged the modem into the telephone line,' said Mr Ho.

Problem callers make up only a small percentage, Mr Ho said. 'There are one or two clients who, whenever they have a small problem, they call up straight up away,' he said. 'And some people are really demanding - they expect you to have the answer right away.' Mr Ho says he likes the job. After completing a computer science diploma in Vancouver, he was glad to work where he could use and develop his technical skills.

He even has learned a few tricks from callers. When one subscriber asked if it was possible to send a standard reply to all the e-mail arriving for him when he was on holiday, he and his supervisor figured out how to do it.

He also likes being able to help people. 'It's a bit like being a doctor,' he said.

PCPost conducted this unscientific survey of SAR ISPs last month. Most ISPs were called three or more times during different times of the day. A few ISPs were called only twice if their results - quick response, slow response, or hang-up - were the same.