You’re working on your web site and then for some strange reason FTP stops working. You stop and start your client. You reboot your computer. You make sure you haven’t done anything stupid like forget to put in your password. The more you look, the more you realize that nothing has changed on your end. It is at this point you decide to call tech support but after 15 minutes on the phone, you’re more frustrated than when you started and the problem is nowhere near being solved.
This is an all too often scenario that many times can be avoided by following some simple steps. Below is a list of 7 things you can do to make your support experience not only more successful but maybe…just maybe, more enjoyable.
- Make sure you’re dealing with a company that provides real support
Take the time to investigate. Look on their web site. Do they have a support phone number or is it all by email or a web form? What are their hours of support? Is it 8-5 EST M-F or 24/7? If they advertise 24/7 support call the number at 1 AM to see if someone actually answers the phone. If someone does answer the phone, is it just an answering service? If it’s only email support, send an email to see how long it takes them to respond. Google the company to see if you can find reviews on the company as well as trying to find out what other customer’s support experiences have been.
All of this may seem obvious but many people purchase a product or service without taking support into account. Remember, while you may never have a need to contact support, there may be a time where you need to, and dealing with a company that has decent support is going to be worth its weight in gold at that time.
- Have your information ready
When you call support, they’re going to ask you for information about you to verify that you are the customer (if they do NOT ask you for information, you should be concerned – you don’t want to deal with a company that doesn’t confirm who they are talking to because then anyone could call and do things to your account!). They will ask for your account number as well as other things to confirm your identity, so make sure you have all of that in front of you and ready. By being prepared, you make things go that much quicker.
- Be patient
You’re frustrated because something isn’t working as expected and now you have to stop what you’re doing to get it fixed…but remember, the tech support person is just doing a job. He is going to have to ask questions to determine your issue and how best to solve it. Getting impatient during this verification and question phase doesn’t help anyone. While some of the questions may seem stupid to you (“So, your monitor is black – can you please confirm that it is plugged in”) remember that tech support deals with all sorts of people and not everyone is as intelligent as you, so tech support cannot make any assumptions. At some point, someone has called about his or her monitor having a black screen…only to find out it’s unplugged.
- Provide a way to duplicate the problem
This is especially true when you’re submitting a ticket or email for support. In order for a tech support person to see the problem as well as know they have corrected the problem, they need to duplicate the problem, so always provide the steps required to duplicate the issue. If the issue only happens when you do certain things, then detail those steps in the email or ticket. Provide log in information or any other information that is pertinent.
- Provide valid contact information
This also applies to email or ticket support requests. Don’t assume that the information the company has on file is correct. They may wish to call you to discuss the issue so you should provide a phone number as well as the best time to call so that they can contact you. A good tech support person wants to resolve this as quickly as you do and calling you to discuss helps them do that.
- Include pertinent information
If it’s a software or hardware issue (ie, you’re having a problem with your printer or particular piece of software) be sure to include model numbers and software names and versions as well as any modifications/patches you may have installed. Also include what operating system you are using. Again, don’t assume that the tech support people know exactly what software or hardware you have.
- Don’t be afraid to be ignorant
While you may think you have a good idea what the problem is, if you were positive about what was wrong, you wouldn’t be calling tech support. Explain the issue as detailed above and let them do their job. This is what they do for a living and you should let them do it. There’s no shame in not knowing something (nobody knows everything). Don’t try to impress them with your command of tech terms or try to tell them what you think it is. In fact, by playing a bit dumb, you may learn something as well
Of course, there are never any guarantees that your tech support experience will always be great. After all, these are people just doing a job, and like any company, some employees are better than others. Not all companies have the extreme level of great support that NationalNet prides itself on, but by following a few simple rules and being nice and pleasant, you will find that your issues will be solved much faster with a lower frustration level.