Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Before you call tech support

I am fairly sure that similar lists have appeared on the internet in the past, most likely generated by a fellow tech support drone some where else who is frustrated with the fairly common road blocks to the whole process. What I am trying to put together here though is a list of things to do before and during a tech support call.

To start with we have the pre-call steps you should go through.

1.have your product number, serial number, contract number, and any other number that they are likely going to ask you ready. Even if you are in the system it is fairly likely that they are going to have to confirm this information with you before they can go any further, asking them to simply "look it up" almost never works. They have a couple reasons for this, the first is that they have too, its part of their job and they will get in trouble if they don't ask. The other reason is that its for your own good, by confirming that they have the right product/service/account up the rep is able to avoid any embarrassing mistakes like connecting the wrong product to you.

2. Have a clear explanation of what your issue is, if you have to take notes before you call, but the agent is going to ask you what is happening, being able to clearly explain that every time you try to print you get error message X will speed the process along more than you know. this is especially useful if you have an intermittent issue. Remember the rep has not been with you the whole time and has not seen what you have, to help you they need to know everything that is happening.

3.Make sure you have some time to work with the rep, some calls take only a few minutes, but something you might think of as a simple issue may actually be an involved complicated mess, if you call with only 15 minutes and spend 10 on hold before you get the rep you are not going to get anything fixed and end up being frustrated.

4. The last thing you really need to do before calling is take a deep breath, calm down, and get comfortable. It is in your best interest to be calm when you call, the person on the other end will likely understand that you are frustrated when you call ( you are calling after all), being calm will make things a lot less painful and probably speed things along.

So at this point you should be sitting comfortably with your problem device, have a clear understanding of what your issue is and be able to clearly state what is happening and what seems to be causing it, and have all the various pieces of information they are likely to ask for ready. You call support, make your way through their phone system, and eventually get a real live person on the other end of the phone, you have shared all the information and its time to get to work.

1.Be Patient; you would be amazed the number of people who go from 0 to pissed off in no time flat. nothing is going to take as long as you think it should, remain calm, and work with the agent and they will get your issue resolved.

2.Be Polite; Treat the person on the other end of the line with a bit of respect and they will return the favor. When I get a rude person on the other end of the phone they get only what I am required to give them. However for a nice customer I will move mountains.

3.Be Clear; use complete sentences, and explain exactly what is happening. The number of times I have asked what the error said and got " it says it didn't work" is frightening. That is not helpful, and makes me want bad things to happen to your computer.

4.Follow Directions; A tech may ask you to do things that seem strange however they likely have a reason for that. Things go a lot faster if you do what they are asking, and it is far more likely that it will end in a positive result for you. Also don't try to get ahead of the agent, I call this type of person the happy clicker. While the process the agent has you going through might look familiar they may have something specific in mind and if you get ahead of them the call will end up taking longer and you will end up frustrating the agent.

5.Remember that the person on the end of the line did not break your computer, they are trying to help you. It is in truth most likely that the issue you are having was caused by you, even if it wasn't the Technician on the other end of the line is not only not the person who broke your computer, but also your best path to getting it fixed.

6.Remember that the person on the other end of the phone is a person, they are some ones son or daughter, they are trying to help you. being abusive or rude on the phone never works to your advantage, at best it will make the call take longer and prevent a positive resolution, at worst they will hang up on you; yes they can do that, and no one will feel bad for you.

Calling tech support is never fun to start off with, if you have to call support it means that something is not working right. The people who answer the phone understand this and they are there to help you. While these steps are helpful you can throw them out if you remember to be polite, work with the agent, be patient, and treat them with respect. The rest will fall in line, and you may learn something new in the process.

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