I think I have mentioned it before. I work in technical support. I sit at a desk with a headset on and try and assist users with their computer related issues. I’m a natural at it, it is something I’m good at and I can do it with little effort. This isn’t just a boast – it’s that niche that I’ve found that I am good at. I’ve tried many jobs and this one is the one that seems to fits me. With all that being said I wanted to share my insights and helpful tips on how to work with Technical Support.
Note: Do not take this post 100% serious – Technical Support folks tend to be a little jaded. But the tips are 100% useful. My snide remarks are my ill attempt at humor – so I apologize in advance.
As with every job there are rewards, and mine is knowing I can fix your computer related issues. But one thing I am not is a mind reader. I don’t know what your issue is when you call in. I don’t know what password you need to have reset. I don’t know that you spilled your latte’ all over your laptop and fried your computer. With that being said all I ask is that you do a few simple things when calling into Technical Support. (And yes, this applies to ANY Technical Support you will end up calling!)
Simple Tips for Working with Technical Support
Confirm Your Identity
Yes, this is annoying as you just want your issue fixed but having your information ready assist both of us. I get to assist you with your issue, and you get off the phone faster. So have your computer information, last 4 of your SSN, account number, name, address, city, state, zip, first born, blood type, dna structure handy and ready BEFORE you call.
State Your Issue –
If you need a password reset?
I don’t know which of the current 60 separate systems that require a password you require. If you states “I need a password reset” and do not offer the system? I stare at the monitor blankly and go “…. for?” and wait for you to catch on. If you state your issue clearly Technical Support folks can get you off the phone quickly (because, we have important things to do like posting to this blog ;-p )
If it’s a Computer or Software Related Issue?
I know this might be difficult as not all of you out there calling in are technically savvy. It’s OK. I don’t expect you to be. It’s a pleasant surprise when someone does know what they are talking about though. BUT – Try and be descriptive of your issue. I can’t tell you how many times I get “My computer doesn’t work.” or “It’s Broke! Fix It”! I get on a daily basis. If you are just a little bit more descriptive I can better assist you. I’ll give you an example of good and bad below:
“My computer doesn’t work” – This is WAY too broad and I’m not allowed to be imaginative in thinking your computer has been possessed by demons and is trying to suck you into the Underworld. I’m stuck with the Policies and Procedures your company has dictated I follow to try and resolve your issue.
“Hello, I’m having an issue where my Computer goes to a ‘Blue Screen’ and then restarts.” – Although you don’t see as many BSOD (Blue Screen of Death) with Windows it does still happens. This gives me a direction to go to with (hopefully) a solution to resolve your issue. If nothing else it allows me to send your ticket to a local technician to try and work on the problem in person.
So, you can see if you try and be at least a little descriptive we can go in a direction instead of drooling a little while I try to work on my ESP skills figuring out exactly what is wrong with your system.
Software (Your Applications – Word, Outlook, Minesweeper etc.)
The same goes for software issues. You need to explain to us what you were doing and what the EXACT ERROR IS VERBATIM. Why? We need to document it and that error message tells us what is happening. Without it there are a few different types of similiar solutions that ‘might’ work but I might have to run all of them using the “Dart Board of Technical Support” approach wasting both of our times.
This is the probably the best tip I can give you folks. It is not our fault that Word ate your document, you accidentally deleted your local copy of a document instead of saving it on the server, or do not know what Work Offline means in Outlook. It is our job to try and ASSIST YOU. If you are rude I know that certain Tech Support agents can do some pretty under-handed things to delay the process or make it worse. (nobody I currently work with though!)
We do understand you are upset. We really do want to help you. But try and keep your temper away from the agent. We are just the messenger – your wayward technician in the night that want to help you so you can get on with your day and we can get back to YouTube. Uh… I mean to the next call. I do my utmost to assist even the rudest end user and to try and keep my cool and remain polite. But remember – you called us. We don’t have a computer issue. You do. We can fix it (hopefully). So try and keep your cool and we will get through your issue quicker than if you are being a jerk.
The Onsite Support is Better than the Phone Support
Although in some cases this is true – for the most part the people I work with are highly intelligent computer geeks. They are doing this job as a stepping stone to get into different parts of the industry. So not all of us are script readers who only know how to tell you to restart your computer. Give us a chance first!
Technical Support Has Powers to Control the World
Actually, we do. Well, not really. We are stuck with the parameters set to us by your company we are supporting. Although we might have that simple registry hack and even have the correct rights to make the changes – if it isn’t in the script (yuck) I’m not allowed to do it. I have to send the ticket off to someone else who can get in trouble for destroying er.. fix your computer. It’s nothing personal – but I want to keep my job. I’m not allowed to think out of the box without going through the whole politics of getting a Policy or Procedure changed. And it involves TPS reports – I hate those.
We are all Fat, Ugly, and Wear Glasses
Ok, so I’m ugly. I’m OK with that. But I don’t wear glasses (yet). Technical Support technicians are normal every day people. Although there are some strange birds in the mix – for the most part they are just like you. We are doing a job and trying to get through the day so we can go home and do what we really want to do. So remember folks – think of that person your talking with next time is most likely not a socially inept geek who still lives in his Mom’s basement playing Dungeons and Dragons but a regular person living their regular lives.
So, dear reader – I thank you for your time (and patience) for glossing over this. If you found it helpful or wish to add your own insights, funny stories, horror stories, etc. please feel free to post a comment below, follow me on Twitter, or try and open up your Outlook in Work Offline mode and try and write to me! (Um – you can click on the link on how to fix it btw.)
We all Think You are Stupid
No we don’t. But if you call in 10 times a day for the same password reset and WE can’t think of any more temporary passwords for you? We might start thinking otherwise. Seriously though, we understand you are not a computer guru. You want your issue fixed so you can get on with your day. Most of the people I talk to are highly intelligent individuals that are typically College Graduates. So, try and remember we are trying to be empathetic and realize you are not brain dead.
Thank you again,
avgjoegeek – dad, geek, gamer – and Supreme Ruler of Your Computer (be nice!)