Five tips for getting better tech support

One issue I meet from time to time, is the fact that many of my users do not understand how to approach tech support in a way that is conducive to receive good support in a timely manner. While this list is in no way exhaustive, following the tips and tricks will get you slack when you need it.

  1. Curb your anger and annoyance
    • While I’ll concede that giving the person on the other end of the line a piece of your mind can be momentarily satisfying, keep in mind that their job is not to be your personal punching bag.
  2. Be patient
    • Support techs will often need time to research a solution. Give them that time, and respect it when they say “I don’t know“.
  3. Be honest
    • Did you fiddle with it? Say so. Do not lie to a tech, it will only make the time to solve the problem longer, and the support tech will then know that you can not be trusted to give honest answers.
  4. Describe what happened, and when
    • Instead of saying “It don’t work”, say “I’m not receiving emails. This started when…”
  5. Don’t claim skills you don’t have
    • This ties in with no. 3. If you say that you know everything about computers, but in fact barely know how to send an email or use search engines, you will not get better support. If you lie about your skillset, you will be given solutions that you are not capable of implementing. If, instead, you tell the truth about your skillset, the tech will be able to explain the solution in more detail, getting you closer to solving your problem.

One of my favorite customers will call in, clearly frustrated with something that is not working, and tell me, “Hey, it’s me again, your idiot user with two PhDs”. While you don’t need to go quite that far, being honest about your limitations is key. Your job is to be honest about what you can and can’t do, and the support tech’s job is to try to work with you at a level where you can understand the gist – if not the fine detail – of what is happening.

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