When something goes wrong with your computer, if you’re like many people, you’d rather try just about anything before you call tech support for help. Even if you know that tech support can identify and fix the problem better than you can, the idea of waiting on hold, trying to explain the problem and understanding what the technician is telling you to do when you aren’t tech savvy is enough to make you consider just living with the issue instead of getting it fixed.
Although there have been cases in which tech support has been anything but supportive, the fact is that it’s not always the technician’s fault that the service is less than exceptional. Sometimes, the issues begin with the person calling, and usually stem from communication breakdowns. However, if you follow these tips when you call for technical help, no matter what company you are calling, you will have a better, more productive experience and, in many cases, get your problem solved faster.
1 – Call the Right People
It might seem obvious, but when you are having trouble with your tech, it’s important to call the right people. Otherwise, you will waste time on hold or being transferred from department to department, only to be told that you need to call someone else. Consider subscribing to a general technical support service, which can provide immediate expert help with any issue at any time. Otherwise, before you pick up the phone, determine whether you need to call the software help desk, the tech support for your hardware or another vendor, like the cloud service provider, and call the people who can help.
2 – Be Polite
This one is another tip that seems like it should go without saying, but unfortunately, troubles with tech support often begin with a bad attitude on the part of the caller. Even if you are frustrated, and you’ve had a number of problems in the past, it’s not the fault of the person on the other end of the line. Be calm, be polite, and avoid being rude to the technician. If you are having trouble understanding the directions you’re receiving, politely ask to speak to someone else. Kindness and good manners can go a long way toward ensuring good service, so keep your temper in check.
3 – Be Specific
It’s hard to fix something when the only description of the problem is that “This thing is doing something weird,” or “The software is broken.” You probably don’t know what the issue is —after all, if you did, you wouldn’t be calling for help — but it’s important to describe what’s happening in detail so the technician has a starting point to diagnose and fix the issue.
For example, saying “When I attempt to open this file, I get an error message,” and then repeating exactly what the message says tells the technician what is going on. It’s also helpful if you can describe exactly what you did before the problem started or provide instructions on how to reproduce the problem and explain what you have already done to try to solve the problem. That way, your tech support operator can more effectively find an answer and won’t suggest trying fixes that already didn’t work.
Another option, if possible, is to take a screenshot or screen capture video of the problem that you can send over, showing exactly what the problem looks like. A picture is definitely worth a thousand words here; when you don’t have the technical language to explain the problem, the visual image can tell the technician all he needs to know.
4 – Ask Questions
When the technician is working on your issue, don’t be afraid to ask questions or seek clarification, especially if you don’t fully understand the instructions. Taking notes can also help, as you’ll be able to reproduce the fix if you encounter the same issue again.
5 – Use Social Media
Finally, using social media to ask questions can, in some cases, help you reach service faster and get a more personalized response. Many companies monitor social media for customer issues and respond quickly to maintain a positive public perception. Again, being polite and specific with your queries can help you get the best service — and publicly acknowledging that you received great service is also a nice thing to do and can help ensure great service continues.
Getting help with your technical issues doesn’t have to be a frustrating experience. When you mind your manners, explain your issue clearly, and make it easy for someone else to help, it can be a pleasant and productive experience.