How To Get Great Tech Support

If you own a computer or some other piece of technology, you’ll have to call tech support for assistance at some point. The goal of course is to get the help that you require in the most efficient and complete manner possible. Here’s some tips for doing so based on my years of being the tech support guy that people phone:

  1. Read the manual: A significant number of my calls come from people who didn’t read the manual and are asking about features or issues that are covered in the manual. You can often save yourself a phone call by reading the manual first.
  2. Don’t bother phoning tech support and use online resources first: Most companies have online resources (such as knowledge bases) that are usually very good in terms of helping you deal with problems that you may encounter. You’re often better off using those first to see if you can save yourself a phone call
  3. If you do phone tech support, have all the details at hand: The more detail you can provide about the problem you’re facing, the better. Make sure you have the EXACT error messages that you are seeing or make sure you can describe exactly what you are seeing (as well as what you were doing at the time). It will take longer for tech support to help you if they have to reply with basic questions and await your response, then you have to wait for another response from them.
  4. Be in front of the computer with the issue: This may sound rather elementary, but it really annoys tech support people when people call them and they are not in front of their computer. It’s a waste of their time and yours. Please make life easier for everyone and be in front of the computer that is having the issue.
  5. Don’t bother going to the CEO with your issue: Here’s a a news flash: CEO’s of technology companies simply take these sorts of requests and send them back to the tech support department because they don’t have the knowledge nor do they have the time to deal with your issue. The tech support department will give you a call back…. Eventually. Usually when their call volumes are lighter (and chances are when you’re not able to take the call). It’s faster just to call the tech support department directly. If you have to escalate an issue, ask to speak to a supervisor or manager, but only do so when the front line person can’t help you. Going straight to a supervisor or manager usually gains you nothing as they are likely to bounce you down a front line person anyway.
  6. Be polite: Chances are, whatever problem you are having is not the direct fault of the person you’re speaking to. No matter who ends up being at fault (you, them, a computer somewhere, a mysterious internet gremlin) for the issue that you are having, you’ll normally get a faster and more helpful response if you don’t begin by making the person who is ready to help you defensive by being rude, swearing at them or yelling at them. Take it from me, tech support is on your side and they want to help you to the best of their ability. Cursing at them or being rude doesn’t help your cause in any way shape or form.
  7. Don’t act like you know it all: Tech support types don’t respond well to people who think they “know stuff” about the product they’re calling tech support for, or just “know everything.” The reality is that if you knew everything, you wouldn’t be calling tech support for help now would you? So with that in mind, you’ll find that if you respect the knowledge that the tech support person has, you’ll get much better service from him/her.

I’m sure that there are some other things that could be added to this list. Post your comments and share your wisdom with us.

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