No, the coronavirus is not infecting your computer!
When you’ve been servicing customers as long as we have, some 18 years, occasionally something happens and the only option is to laugh. Whether it’s a customer calling to complain a new computer is missing its cup holder (think DVD tray) or an employee loses an hour troubleshooting a suspected faulty desktop power supply (only to discover the computer was connected to an electrical outlet controlled by a wall-mounted switch), laughter sometimes proves the best choice.
After living through the last two years of difficult pandemic-related challenges, as we all have, a case like this one is simply too good not to share. Here goes.
Our account team, while quite adept understanding, navigating and communicating within the complex technical world of information technology, sometimes drops its guard when it comes to internal communications. Were you to describe our in-house discussions as relaxed, or even rustic, you wouldn’t be wrong. These are kind, respectful and easy-to-talk-to folks, likely the reason they’ve chosen the careers they have. They may even drop occasional Kentucky accents into their conversations, especially when speaking quickly and frankly, all qualities customers frequently love and seek, regardless of industry.
We won’t name names, but a couple reps had been working diligently conducting considerable research and effort to land a new, fairly sizable account. Internally, they describe such opportunities as whoppers. However, when pronouncing the word, they sometimes dramatically extend that first syllable, appending a series of w’s before arriving at the “hopper.” Everyone needs a little lightheartedness, after all, to relieve stress and endure these trying times, right?
So, last month, an account representative emailed a “wwwhopper” prospect to learn whether the contact had questions regarding a recent quote. The prospect replied with alarming news. He said everything looked good, but his organization hadn’t been able to make any decisions because “the virus is our main concern, and getting back to somewhat operational is the primary focus, at this point.”
Now, we realize such statements might not resonate with some of you the way they do for us, but when IT professionals specializing in cybersecurity see or hear the words “virus” and “operations” in the same statement, that means one thing.
They were breached! The prospect is battling a ransomware attack. We should learn whether they wish for our cybersecurity team to get involved. We could come in and save the day!
Naturally, the account rep forwarded the email to a manager. The manager immediately called the rep.
Before the manager could even speak, the rep asked, “Did you see the email I sent you?”
“I just read it.”
“You think they’re in the middle of a ransomware attack?” the manager sought to confirm.
“Yes.” The rep was clearly anxious.
This opportunity was perfect for showcasing the value of a timely, professional response. The earlier technicians respond, the better. The urgency is palpable.
“It’s in the email message right there,” the rep stressed, “The ‘virus is our main concern.’”
How could the manager not see the importance of immediate, qualified intervention, here, the rep remembers thinking.
The answer came back.
“Considering your ‘wwwhopper’ specializes in healthcare for the elderly,” replied the manager, “maybe the coronavirus’ Omicron variant is their main concern at this time, no?”
The rep paused. The realization required only a few seconds to sink in.
And that’s how some days go, when you work in IT. But better a momentary misunderstanding than having to battle the nuances of a complex, calculated malware infection. That’s why we view the incident as a welcome “missed opportunity” here at Louisville Geek.