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How To Get The Most Out Of Tech Support

Sunday, January 27th, 2013 by | Filed Under: I've Always Wanted To Know...
 
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I’ve Always Wanted To Know:

How To Get The Most Out Of Tech Support

Answer:

The irony among buyers of anything electronic or technical is they want a company with good support but most people fear calling for support. If you ask a tech support agent they will tell you horror stories and if you ask customers they will counter with just as many horror stories. What can you do to get the most out of the technical support department of a company when you call or e-mail?

By following these simple big do’s and don’ts when contacting technical support you can get the most out of the experience with the least difficulty and time invested.

DO:

Tell the truth. This sounds simple enough but the number one complaint of tech support people is customers who are lying. If you clicked something or tried to fix something yourself and it only made the problem worse, tell the agent exactly what you did. If you start by giving false or incomplete information, you’ll make the process longer and more difficult and possibly lead the tech support agent to a false conclusion.

Be ready. If you’re calling about a software issue, have your computer turned on and ready to run the software. If you’re calling about a piece of electronics, have the electronics with you and charged if possible. Your time is valuable and tech support agents are rated, based among other things, on speed of resolution, so everyone has a vested interest in making the process quick.

Do what you’re told, even if it doesn’t make sense. Sometimes a technician will have you do something that may seem incorrect to determine if something is wrong or if all the basic setup is done. Being asked to make sure the flat side of the battery (negative) is to the spring isn’t any less demeaning for the person to ask than for you to answer. Sometimes, even the best of us make simple mistakes and jump to the more complex solutions, even when it’s something very simple.

Be patient. If you don’t know the answer, then chances are they need to help you determine what it is, and that can take time. You can minimize that time by being ready, but some tests cannot be sped up, so be ready to spend the time needed to fix the problem.

DON’T:

Scream & Yell. The technician’s job is to help you, and when they chose that career, they did it because they enjoyed solving problems and helping people. Being frustrated by the situation is perfectly acceptable, but unless that specific technician personally damaged your product or caused the problem, yelling at them doesn’t make a lot of sense, especially if you want them to assist you.

Ask for the impossible. If the result of your support call is that an item needs to be RMA’d, demanding someone come over personally to your house today with a new item isn’t realistic. Asking what can be done or if there is any way to get a product faster is reasonable, but be ready to be told no. If a product needs to be ordered in, or if the item needs to be returned before a replacement can be sent, it’s rare that those rules will be overridden.

Demand a supervisor. In many technical support departments, supervisors deal with far less day-to-day problems and more administrative and scheduling concerns. Asking for a supervisor will rarely get you better support. A secret to the system is to ask the representative if they can ask their supervisor for special permission to do something and offer to hold, even if it takes them a while to discuss the situation. An employee pleading the case to a supervisor for permission is far more effective than an angry customer yelling at a supervisor.

These tips, combined with a little common sense, will turn your experiences with technical support departments into positive ones, and allow you to get the most effective support for the least effort.

-Tim

P.S. Don’t forget the phrase “you’ll catch more flies with sugar than vinegar” applies here too. Everyone likes someone being nice to them, and you’ll often find that people go the extra mile for that overly nice person.

Do you have a general technology or electronics question you always wanted to know like “How does a Microwave work?” or “Why do LED’s last so long?” Write me at Tim@WorldStart.com and your question may be answered in an upcoming “I Always Wanted To Know.” For specific computer support questions ask our writers by clicking here.

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5 Responses to “How To Get The Most Out Of Tech Support”

  1. Sharon says:

    One thing you forgot to mention is what to do when the tech has very broken English and you can’t understand him/her. This happens more often then you think.

  2. John Anderson says:

    Tim, I understand what you say, and most of the time I practice what you preach. (I used to be a computer Help Desk manager for a major corporation….) However, not all tech support folk are equal. The foreign source is not necessarily a problem for me, but there are many situations where it is difficult to communicate effectively with the support person. (1) When the first approach, no matter what information has been shared, is to uninstall and reinstall repeated times, as happened to me years ago with Norton’s antivirus product), it is difficult to remain calm. (2) When the support person is either condescending or haughty with questions and directions, the user is tempted to respond in kind. Actually, your paper tells me the role of the manager has evolved over the years to a primarily administrative one; it used to be that the managers had much technical experience, from which they could add significantly to a response.

    My bottom line is, working together with friendly, open and accurate communication is by far the best approach to getting help, providing it is supported on both sides of the phone or computer.

  3. Mark says:

    Actually Tim most of the time the person you get when you call technical support knows very little about the actual system, especially if there is also the language issue that Sharon mentioned. They may have some general technical knowledge but as they attempt to help you they are usually following a script on their computer that says “ask this question, if you get this response do this if you get that response to that” etc. That is why if you try to tell them you have already done this or that they often get a flustered and don’t know how to proceed. This is not always true but is frequently the case.

  4. Libby R says:

    If I get a tech that is offshore, I ALWAYS request to be transferred to a tech that is “ON SHORE”, and typically happens about 80% of the time. This not only gets me someone that I can understand, but also sends a message to the company (who record all tech calls and monitor many), that we want our tech support folks U.S. based.

  5. K.Vee.shanker. says:

    I agree with all these comments. I agree with the other side too.

    Probably, support department should also learn about our problems. Worse is the automation of support network. one has to practically wade through a sea of choices,”if you…, press..”, before reaching a person! And after that long drawn process, one is asked to wait painfully too.

    The non-voice mail support is probably the worst. Many times their solutions(?)are no where connected to your statement of problems.

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