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Get Results when Calling Support

Anyone who has held a job that involved a computer has likely dealt with a technical problem,which required a call to his or her company's help desk. If not with a company, I'm positive most people have contacted a technical support line for a product they had purchased.

Within my office, I pretty much assumed the role of the “computer guy”. Not that it comes with a pay increase, but it does get recognition, and I get to know nearly everyone in the office. One thing I have noticed is that when contacting our company help desk, I have a remarkably higher success rate and much quicker turnaround on my calls than most of my co-workers.

This led me to post a quick idea of what I think you should do when contacting technical support.

  1. Be able to describe the problem, this includes what steps cause the problem and how it affects the system you are using. If your system shutdown down when you launched your virus scanner, try the same steps again and see if you can recreate the problem. Do not assume what you think causes the problem actually creates the problem, and if you are not sure let the person at the other end of the line know that you really don't know what caused the problem, don't just assume you know.
  2. Realize the person at the end of the line will probably ask you to repeat some of the steps you have tried. Don't get irritated, unfortunately they deal with people who say they have restarted their computer when they never actually did.
  3. Try and make a personal connection, you will always get better service if the person can relate to you. Asking about their day can make a world of difference
  4. Don't blame them, even if it's a problem caused by a recent software update or a change to the way the system operated, you can bet a good chunk of change that their opinion of the change wasn’t solicited, now they are dealing with an increased workload, and are likely just as annoyed with the change as you are.
  5. Unfortunately you will occasionally get someone who really is incompetent, I don't hesitate to either request a transfer or just hang up and call back to get someone else. Your time is valuable and if you are wasting it don't feel bad about taking steps.
  6. Educate yourself; try to know enough about the systems you company uses that you can at least find the settings dialogue if you are asked to.

To summarize, a few simple steps could lead to 90% of your problems beings solved in 10-15 minutes. The most important thing is to be able to recreate and describe the problem for the help desk, be polite, and have at least a passing knowledge of the technology you are using. Doing those three things should lead to much better results the next time you call technical support. However, remember number 5, if you are not getting anywhere go ahead and try to get someone else on the phone.


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