Calling Tech Support

Hello! As anyone of us may have experienced, tech support can be a terrifying experience. However, it doesn't have to be a nightmare. In this book, I will be explaining to you how you can get optimum benefits from calling tech support. Enjoy!

Golden Rule:

  • Tech support is trying to help you. Don't immediately ask for the supervisor, at least let them try but if all else fails call the supervisor.

Before you call edit

"On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question." - Charles Babbage

  • Allow extra time for being on hold - have some cleaning, organizing, or other non-brain intensive work to be done? Grab a headset and go to work while you wait.
  • Don't worry if you are running software for the first time. Chances are, it's a small configuration problem.
  • Know what kind of tech support they offer. Some call centers/tech support do not provide all levels of service. There are some that only take the calls and the escalate them to another group. There are others that try to solve everything with the first call. Don't get mad if the support person tells you they have to transfer you to another department.
  • Only call for yourself and never for a friend. Chances are the friend is better off calling for themselves as they probably know more about the situation.
  • Only call when you are at your computer and ready to do what the tech support assistant says. It will make it easier for the both of you.
  • Use common sense. Too many callers do not. Here's a quick checklist to run down:
    • Is the device on?
    • Is everything plugged in?
    • Are any cables loose?
    • Have you tried rebooting the machine?
  • A Lack of planning on your part, does NOT constitute an emergency on theirs.

Calling edit

  • First off, speak clearly, and do not shout into the phone. If you want the assistant on the other end to be able to help you, you really should be speaking in a neutral (not yelling but not very soft) and calm mode.
  • Each time you call, tell them your name. Just because you may have called a few hours ago, doesn't mean they remember your name.
  • Present a question, not a statement.
  • Whenever you call, get to the point and don't give details that don't have anything to do with your situation. Also, don't brag, and don't talk about anything else.
  • Don't be arrogant. Remember, if you have to resort to calling tech support, why claim to be the smart guy?
  • They know how important your e-mail is. You don't have to describe it.
  • The tech support assistant may not always be right, but the error messages are pretty much always right. Tell them the error message exactly.
  • Jump through the hoops. Be patient Tech support has questions and steps that are laid out ahead of time to save time to cover all bases. If you think you know what the problem is, you might be right and they'll get there eventually. If you're wrong, they'll fix your issue right away. Plus, if your issue needs to escalated to another department, all the basic questions will be answered which will speed up your resolution.
  • Don't say things like "I'm so stupid." They could probably infer that.
  • DON'T LIE! They probably will find out. They have all heard, "Nothing has changed" so often when it has not been true that when you offer this they immediately know it to not be true. If they ask and you say "nothing has changed" they might believe you.
  • When you see an error, write it down. If you write it then, you can tell them the exact error, and they could help you based on the error. On Windows computers, it is possible to click (highlight) the error window and hit Alt+PrintScreen. This will copy the error message to the clipboard, from which you can paste into a document and print it for reference. Hit PrintScreen for the whole screen. When tech support is across the network, you can paste the error graphic directly into an email message.
  • Think about the priority of the call. If the error is affecting everyone at your business and is causing a big loss, that would be considered a top priority issue.
  • Get a ticket number. Most call centers track calls with numbered 'tickets'. It always helps to write down the ticket number.
  • Don't tell tech support how to solve the problem. It doesn't help if you tell tech support how to fix your problem. If you are calling then chances are your solution doesn't work.
  • Tell tech support if there was someone working on your computer. Let the support person know if there was another technical person working on the same problem. Quote a ticket number if you have one.
  • Don't Assume, especially when talking about internet based items such as email or a website. Don't assume the problem is with the company. Chances are it is a setting, old cookie, or firewall issue on your computer, or issue with your ISP. Remember, especially if it is a website: if the site is down, they're losing money, and losing money is bad. A company will do anything possible to get back up and running ASAP. How long you wait on hold is a good indication.
  • If you've forgotten your password, try looking for a 'Forgot your password' link. It may save you a wait on hold.
  • If Hardware failed, do not blame anyone. All hardware will eventually fail.

Sources edit