1. Before you pick up the phone, have as much information at hand as possible. Any product serial numbers should be within easy reach and be prepared to answer these questions:
- What version of Windows are you using?
- What, if any, changes did you make to your system before the problem occurred? Include both hardware and software changes, and be honest!
- What is the exact wording of any error message you receive?
- What steps have you taken to try to resolve the issue on your own?
2. Make your call to tech support when you are relatively free from distractions. Being able to focus on what is discussed will go a long way to aiding both you and the tech you are talking to. Do not yell, insult or use profanity no matter how frustrated you are. Most companies advise their techs to hang up on any caller using abusive language. No matter how frustrated you are at the hold time before your call is answered, remember that the tech you are talking to was helping someone else, not ignoring you.
3. Be prepared to verify your address, phone number and even your e-mail address before moving on to your issue. The technician is not being nosy by asking, but rather doing their job. After all, verifying your statistics ensures that your computer is still in your hands and not those of a thief. Many companies require techs to log all calls. If you have called for support before, your statistics may be used to bring up your records and help the technician deal with your issue. Also, if you are using e-mail support, make sure your e-mail address is correct and complete. Otherwise, the tech won’t be able to get ahold of you.
4. Be frank about your level of computer expertise. Support technicians talk to customers with vast differences in their skill levels, from the beginner to the expert. If the tech is moving too fast, ask them to slow down. If you don’t understand something, ask them to clarify. Don’t be embarrassed to admit you are in unfamiliar territory. Likewise, try not to second guess where the tech is leading you and jump ahead. Working together is the surest way to a resolution.
5. Listen carefully to everything the tech is telling you. Most techs have a wealth of knowledge they are more than willing to share with attentive callers.
6. Stick to the subject. Unless you are involved in a long procedure with lots of down time such as a complete Windows reinstall, avoid chit chat. There are many other people waiting to have their call answered (just as you were) and while you may not be working, the tech is.
7. Make sure you get all the help you need. If you have called for assistance with installing hardware, the technician should also help you install the drivers for that hardware. If you have more than one question, jot them down ahead of time so you don’t forget them and have to call back.
8. Don’t ask your support person to do something that is not their job. For instance, if you have called your computer manufacturer for assistance, don’t also ask them to help you with an AOL problem. If you have called for help with installing software, remember it is not the technician’s job to train you on that as well.
9. If your computer issue can not be resolved with one phone call, ask the technician to take ownership of it. Many techs are willing to go the extra mile for a friendly customer and will research your problem, then get back to you when they have the solution.
10. Say thank you. Support technicians are people too! If your tech has done an especially good job or kind act, ask if you can send an e-mail to their supervisor to express your appreciation, and then follow through.
Having to call for support on today’s technology will probably never be a truly pleasant experience, but it doesn’t have to be a painful one either. Don’t be intimidated. Being prepared for the call and knowing what to expect ahead of time will make it easier for you and the technician on the phone. And you might just learn a tip or two along the way!
~ JoAnn Sommer