Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Dealing with Tech Support!

If you have ever called a tech support line, I’m sure you been frustrated to no end. Just getting to a live person seems to be a secret. You have to learn to navigate silicone sally’s virtual menus. Sounds like an adult movie title, ok, ok - don’t get excited. You can’t avoid the stress though. Press one for sales, 2 for support, 3 for support in English, then you’re in the support menu… press one for desktops, 2 for laptops, 3 for both…

If you are a wearing a clown suit; press 4, if you are not, press 5. You get the picture.

Eventually, you’ll get a live person.

  • Step 1 – Did you write down all those menu choices you made to get here? Better do it now. You’re going to need to call back, and you might as well save yourself some time. By no fault of the technician on the other end (mostly)

I have been known to – accidentally - hang up on some callers. Purely by accident… cough.. cough..You will either be cut off, or put on hold, transferred and put in another queue.

  • Step 2 – remain calm, you’re going to be on the phone for a while. If you have a cordless phone, switch to a corded phone. If you have a headset phone, use it. Go get a coffee, or a drink and relax.
  • Step 3 – capture as much pertinent information as you can possible comprehend. Be ready for the technical support you are calling to receive! The more information you can offer, the better your chances of a successful resolution.

You’re probably wondering why I used the word ‘chances’ in regards to a tech support call? As if it were a contest? Well it is like a contest, sort of. The prize is you get your problem resolved, quickly and properly the first time.

If you tell the technician “My internet doesn’t work” that doesn’t help him at all. Try going to your mechanic and saying “My car makes a noise” see his response. Now, try that over the phone, where the technician can’t see anything. My point is he is trying to help you, so help him by getting as many details as you can.

  • Step 4 – do some research beforehand. If you see an error message, try searching google for it. Use the exact phrasing and put that in your google search. You may find a little more information to help troubleshoot the problem – you might even fix it yourself.

Technician’s have a difficult enough time dealing with the different possibilities and configurations of computer hardware and software. To make matters worse, they can’t see your screen, so they are working off experience and memory. There are some remote support utilities to enable them to access and control your computer, but that in itself requires technical support to get working.

The possibilities of software and hardware problems are endless, so in gathering information to help troubleshoot the cause, you can help in the solution. One important consideration is to only capture the relevant information of an error message. Some error messages are paragraph upon paragraph. The technician doesn’t need to know or hear you repeat that information back to him. Give them the summary. If there is a specific mention to a file name, or a location, relay that information.

  • Step 5 - Keep your cool and remain polite! Technicians are people too and a polite and friendly voice will do wonders to getting the problem resolved in a manner that everyone will enjoy.

How eager do you think the technician is to help you if you’re angry with him? Did he actually cause the problem? Don’t shoot the messenger! If you’re angry and confrontational, you’ll get nowhere. Not only in tech support, but pretty much anywhere.

Think of the technician’s role. He just got off the phone with someone just like you – frustrated, in a hurry, and completely unaware that they themselves most likely caused the problem in the first place. Although that may not be a completely accurate statement all of the time, it’s pretty true MOST of the time. A good technician will fix the problem without laying blame, or complaining. A good technician is of course hard to find.

To be continued…