Thursday, January 22, 2009

10 Rules For Calling Tech Support

Maybe I'm so pissed off because I work in tech support. I spend all day on the phone with people who think a port is where ships come in, trying to walk them through fixing their software, which they usually screwed up in the first place. Here's what you need to know when calling tech support:

1. Have your ducks in a row. You probably know what they are going to ask you before they even get to your problem. Name, account number and/or phone number, model or version number of the product. Get all the relevant information before you call.

2. Know what's going on. Be prepared to answer questions about what you were doing when the problem occurred and what has changed since it was working properly. If you don't know, say so. If you did something wrong, admit it. Confession's good for the soul. It also saves you time and frustration.

3. Make Time. Call in when you have time to thoroughly troubleshoot. Have a coworker cover the phones for you, if needed. Constantly putting the tech on hold isn't just annoying, it breaks the flow, and can make the process much longer.

4. Suffer through the script. Yes, they really have to go through all that, their job performance evaluation is partially determined by adherence to the script, if there is one.

5. Don't freak out. Whatever it is that's gone wonky on you, if it isn't your defibrillator, it's probably not time to panic.

6. Count to ten before you dial. Getting your knickers in a twist is not going to help get your problem fixed.

7. Don't rant about the product or service. Chances are, you're not talking to anyone can affect policy or specifications. The person on the line might agree with you, which they can't say, because the "call may be monitored for training and quality assurance". Or, they might actually like the company and the product they support, in which case, good job, Dweezil, way to antagonize the person you've turned to for help. If, after your problem has been addressed, you really have a gripe you want to air, try phrasing it as a suggestion. Have a little tact. Some people have ugly babies, but they still love them.

8. Know when to bump it up a level. If the rep doesn't know what he/she is doing, ask for a supervisor. You'll know when this is necessary. Do not immediately ask for a supervisor, it's insulting, and usually not warranted. The flip side of this rule is, if you aren't familiar with the product, have the person in your home or office who knows it best be the one to call, if possible.

9. Cut the "ugly American" act, Minute Man. If you can't understand the representative, don't ask to speak to an American, or "someone who speaks English", unless you want to piss off that person and whoever else gets on the phone next. It's okay to calmly advise them that you are having trouble understanding them. Just keeping telling them you're sorry, but you don't understand what they just said. If they don't take the hint, see rule 8.

10. Show your appreciation. If your tech does a truly outstanding job, goes above and beyond, and you feel you've gotten excellent service? Ask to speak to their supervisor and tell them how great their employee is. If you were really impressed, write a letter and send it to the company. Address it to the Support or Customer Service Manager. You don't need their manager's name, just the representatives'. Some companies give bonuses or perks for these 'kudos'. Even if they don't, being recognized is always nice, and it looks good to the brass.

Let me bottom-line it for you. Get your s**t together and show some respect. As annoying as you find telephone support, I promise you have the potential to be far more annoying to the person on the other end of the phone. And we have to be nice to you. You're the reason I'm medicated. So don't be an ass to someone who's helping you.


  1. LOL!! I could have used this last night when I called Comcast, I nearly broke rule number 9, I couldnt understand a word he said LOL!

  2. Yeah it's frustrating on my end when the caller has a thick accent. I can't exactly ask for their manager. heh.

  3. I LOVE this list!!! You go catwoman!!!