Having worked in the IT field for 18 years I have had to make more than a few calls to technical support. These calls have been to a number of different companies, internet providers, hosting providers, software vendors, hardware vendors etc., a good cross section of support. I have noticed something as my transition has progressed, how I am treated has changed, not only with technical support but with telephone customer service generally.
Prior to and during my transition, before I started being heard as female I was generally taken seriously, listened to and, apart from the standard script of questions and things to try, treated like I knew what I was talking about. There were, of course, exceptions to this, but they were few and usually easy to overcome.
Since I started to be referred to as ‘ma’am’ instead of ‘sir’ as a first response on the phone I have noticed a difference in how I am treated. The tone, right from the start is more condescending, I can’t possibly know what I am talking about when it comes to technology. The worst example of this was when I was given a link and told, “put the link in the location bar of your browser.” I was already annoyed at that point in the call and that commment almost pushed me to losing my temper. As it was I said in a very icy tone, “I know how to use a web browser.” I never was told anything like that before my transition.
I understand that providing tech support can be stressful and that some people one helps need to have things described in detail, but that should not be thedefault assumption. Further, women do know how to use computers and many have skills that are well above average. Please do not treat us as children.