So, you’re gonna call tech support?

As a twenty year survivor of phone support for a major tech firm, I have some pointers for you.
That is, if you actually want to get your problem resolved.

Most folks who do call into whatever technical support resource are pretty good at it, but there are still a lot of you who do not understand how to get what you need done. Ima gonna help ya with that.

First, let me give you some examples of what NOT to do.

Do not curse at the rep; this will usually just get you disconnected, and rightly so. Hostility and anger will get you nowhere.
Do not go off on a tirade about how you got transferred four times or how no one understands your problems or how your husband/wife ran out on you. That tech really doesn’t care and they have their own problems.
Do not ask for stuff the tech cannot do. Generally, tech support cannot issue refunds, give out concessions or fix your marriage. Their focus is on solving your technical issue.
Do not, under any circumstances, make any kind of threats. When ornery customers threatened to take their business elsewhere, my internal response was always, “Great! Does that mean you’ll never call me and bitch at me again?” And if you make threats of violence, you can end up in jail; the calls are probably recorded and the first thing you usually did on the call was tell them who and where you are.

So your computer/printer/server/television/whatever is not working correctly and you need to call technical support. Here are some tips on getting your issue resolved:

    1. Make sure you are calling the correct number. Not just the correct company, but the correct tech support queue. If you are getting transferred a lot, this might be your problem. Do not call printer support if the problem is with your TV. And do not call tech support if you want to return something; call customer care.
    2. Once you get connected to the correct queue, ask for the rep’s first name; that is all you need. At my company, we were not allowed to give out our badge numbers. Also, make sure they have your name and callback number, in case you get disconnected.
    3. Take some time before calling to determine exactly what the issue is. “My computer doesn’t work,” tells them nothing. “My computer doesn’t power on,” or, “I get a blue screen with this error message,” is exactly what they need to know.
    4. Be prepared to spend some time on getting your issue resolved. The rep is probably going to have you try some things; follow their instructions. If you cannot follow their instructions, find someone who can; do not waste everyone’s time.
    5. Yes, you are probably going to get someone from a foreign land on the phone; deal with it. If you cannot understand them, be polite about it and ask for someone else. In my time on the phones, I spoke to people from all over the world. The only group I had consistent problems understanding were the Irish. You might also get a woman; be assured you are no better or worse off, as everyone gets the same training.
    6. If you find you are getting nowhere, remember this: That is a human being on the other end and, like anywhere else, there are good conscientious workers who care about their job and and then there are incompetent/indifferent slugs who are just filling a chair and sucking up as much money as they can. I have worked with both types and you probably have, too.
    7. When the call is done, get a case/incident number, in the event that you have to call back on the same issue.

If you think you are not getting the service you deserve, there are a couple of things you can do.

Hang up and call back; you’ll probably get someone else and they might be better able to handle your situation.
Ask for another rep, but be polite about it.

Ask for a supervisor, but be advised this usually doesn’t work out. Best to hang up, call back and politely ask for management.

Tech Support was one of the most interesting jobs I’ve ever had; I saw more examples of outrageous human behavior than I ever did in all the years I worked in retail.  Don’t be a bad example of you want your stuff fixed.