I work in a Tech Support call center and have had it with many of the ridiculous calls that come in. There seems to be a total lack of common sense and basic phone etiquette pervading the United States.

This Instructable will help to make your support experience a little less painful for both you and the rep on the other end of the line.

Step 1: Don't Try to Fix It Yourself!

If you are uncomfortable with whatever device you are having issues with, please, for the love of everything holy, DO NOT TRY TO FIX IT! There are people who in most cases are highly trained and intimately familiar with the device or system who are paid to fix it for you. They have had plenty of experience with issues just like yours and usually have a quick and painless fix for it. Tinkering with something you are unsure about is sure to make the issue worse, or you could make a small problem evolve into an irreparable situation. That won't make either of us happy.

If, on the other hand, you have a degree of technical expertise and are comfortable* with the device, give it a go! I really do like it when you call in and can show me that you have a good head on your shoulders. Just don't get mad if I ask you to do something you have already tried.

*comfortable, in this case, does not mean you use it daily. I mean that you are able to configure system options or change the settings of the device without referring to the manual. Just because you can push buttons does not mean you know everything about it.

Step 2: Before You Call...

Here is a quick list of things to consider before you call that will make our experience much more enjoyable:

If English is not your first language, please consider letting someone else call me. You may be the owner of the business, but I can work with your employees just as well in most cases. If you need an interpreter, please ask. I am not allowed to suggest it.

Do you have all of the information I am going to need to help you? Usually I am going to need your name, or if you have been assigned one, customer identification number, the model of the device you need help with, the EXACT nature of your issue and what, if any, troubleshooting you have done. See step one first.

Did you do something to it? If you broke it, even on accident, be prepared for me to ask. It's OK, accidents happen. A lot of times, if you are cool with me and honest about it, I will not make a note stating that you did it, so it will still be covered under your warranty. If you are rude or lie to me and the troubleshooting we do shows that the issue is a result of your ineptitude, I will note the account as such and charge you for the replacement. I have that power.

Are you in front of the device you need help with? Please be as close as possible to your system so that we can troubleshoot it. I will need you to perform certain operations that may be complex or provide feedback that I will need you to relay to me. These operations may require fast responses that cannot be entered quickly enough when you are running to and fro. This is for your convenience as well, as I don't want to make you erode a path in the floor like a cartoon character going back and forth from the phone to your device.

Step 3: The Call...

OK, the time has come for you to call me. I am anxiously waiting for you on the other end of the line. You dial the number and input any information my call routing system asks you to put in and you get placed in queue. That's right, queue, also known as a line. There may be horrible music you are forced to listen to, not my idea, and I will get to you as soon as I help the other people that called in before you. They aren't following the rules, so their call is taking a little longer than yours will. Please, be calm and wait for your turn secure in the knowledge that you know how to work with me and won't take up as much of my time as these other people. Please don't make a list of what we are doing wrong to spout off to me as soon as I get on the line. I don't like being backed up any more than you like being on hold. I do care about you and the time you have to spend calling me. I also like to get a break every now and again, and I can't do that until I am out of queue.
While you are waiting, make sure you followed step 2 and you have everything we need.

Step 4: Now, It's Your Turn.

You have made it to the front of the line and I am about to answer. Please keep these rules in mind.

1. You will be greeted with a scripted greeting. I have no control over it. It may be longer than necessary, but I still have to recite it. DO NOT CUT ME OFF. Please wait until I have completed the greeting and asked you for your information before you speak.

2. After I get your information, it may take a few seconds before I can pull your account up. Please be patient. The computer system I am working with may be antiquated or difficult to navigate. I may be experiencing technical issues myself. It does happen from time to time. It is helpful if you wait until you are asked the nature of your issue before you start rattling off what has been going on for the last two weeks.

3. Unless you have been advised to, do not tell me what the previous rep did. I can see their notes. If I am asking you to do something different, it is because you are still having an issue and I may have a method that will fix the problem permanently.

4. Please follow all instructions and if the device provides you with any feedback, relay it to me. I will tire quickly of asking you repeatedly "What does the screen say?"

5. Do not argue with me. This is a big one. If what I tell you to do does not work, please gloat silently. I have other tricks up my sleeve. Usually there are several issues that share symptoms. I will be trying to fix the easiest or most common first and will progress down the line until I fix what is going on.

Step 5: IT'S DONE!!

Yay!! We have worked together and fixed your problem! Fantastic! Please say thank you. It's not much, but I appreciate it.
I am a paid member of the Instructables.com. I would please like a refund. I am a smart friendly person. Yes I know this is not a dating site. The reason for the refund is because I spent, countless hours trying to find a some way of printing out the 8×8×8 diy LED kit. As of now I have given up trying to find it. I paid less then 12 hours ago. I am politely askind for a refund. I did not download the YouTube videos that I found on Instructables.com. PLEASE And THANKS FOR THE HELP AT ANY RATE
Good info. My only concern was the English barrier. I exactly agree but on the exact opposite. It's usually tech support with the issue. <br>All that being said, actually hearing from a support member was helpful! <br>Thank +)
you can always say shibboleet...<br><br>http://xkcd.com/806/<br><br>yay xkcd!
lol when i was at school in my DT class i waited until the teacher left the room (he's really weird he just leaves for like 40min) and then took one of the old unused pc's and opened the case , working quickly i got 2 fans, usb hub, capacitors , cd drive with motor and laser, 3 other small motors and around 10 led's. then i clipped the case back together and put it behind the CNC machine, about 2 weeks later i saw him and our school tech-support guys standing around it and clicking all the buttons !! they looked like monkeys, none of them bothered to open it up so they just threw it out when it didn't work!!, later i took the whole thing home and got some other stuff :D many of you may say this was a waste but it was one of the old cream colored windows 98 pc's and everyone in our school apart from my year has laptops and theres like 100 pc's for 60 kids do it didn't matter :D
who do you work for?
Hmmm... I have to agree with some of the comments that this goes both ways. Being friendly to your tech support person <em>does not help</em> when said tech support person is incompetent.<br/><br/>I had a nice rant on the differences between good and bad tech support all typed up when I remembered that <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/customerservice.html">this article</a> article sums it up quite nicely.<br/><br/>Basically, if the company you are calling doesn't meet any set of criteria close to those (along with the unstated prerequisite of not employing people as stupid as those at <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.verizonmath.com/">Verizon</a>), following this advice simply isn't going to help you at all.<br/><br/>It doesn't matter how nice you are, how insistent you are that the fan really is broken, that you'd replace it yourself if the connectors weren't proprietary, and that you'd be willing to <em>pay</em> for the damn thing if they would hurry up and let you order one, far too many tech support people will ask you to power cycle before being stumped and handing you off to someone else who will do exactly the same thing.<br/><br/>Final nit to pick:<br/>If one tech support person transfers my call to another, why, oh, why does every piece of information the last person entered into his computer not automatically show up on the new person's screen? If they can pass your first name to the next person, why can they not pass on the 12-digit serial number inscribed in 8pt font on the bottom of your television?<br/>
That's all fine and good, but there's a flip side to this. I'm a computer science major, and I routinely fix a variety of electronics that supposedly have no user serviceable parts inside. The only time I ever call tech support is when I've exhausted everything I can do on my end, and I need something done from their end. For example, I keep having issues with my Xbox Live downloads and their restrictive DRM ever since I had to replace my console. I call, wait on hold for 10 minutes, finally get a guy that barely speaks English, and then has no idea what I'm even calling about no matter how many times I explain it to him. Then I get shuffled around different departments for another 35 minutes (no, I'm not exaggerating, I was calling on my cellphone and the total call time was 46 minutes) while generally being treated like a complete moron ("Are you sure you have the game downloaded?" "You are? Well let's check anyway.") before being hung up on because they didn't know what to do. I've had the same issue with ISPs in the past when a traceroute clearly shows that a piece of equipment on their end won't let me out of their local network. It took 3 days for them to send a technician out, and then in 5 minutes he calls the office and tells them the same thing I did. So instead of posting a pithy little instructable, why don't you make sure that you and your coworkers treat people like human beings.
ON the issue of scripts...some of it HAS to be scripted so it is not missed by the Support rep and for the sake of some unthinking customers: Techinician got to site to do repair: 14 year old daughter only left at home no adult present...do you think the technician can enter the premisis ..NO he leaves...then customer calls back...why did'nt anyone tell me and Adult has to be home? Well I didnt read you the script. Customers please: Customers think support reps can see through the phone....what colour is my wire ?(yes the wire that never came from the company you are calling) Customers that are not honest up front in the call usually pay for it 2 ways...their problem doesnt get fixed and the call is 2x as long ...wasting both the reps time and theirs. Swearing at a rep accomplishes something very quickly....The rep is now looking for reasons to get you off the phone and NOT have your problem fixed (yes you will still get the 1/2 assed, what appears to you like troubleshooting , troubleshooting) Customers: If you want results....ask politely to speak to a supervisor....don't yell and scream, swear at the rep that just answered the phone about the last rep (And contrary to a previous post....IT DOESNT give you the right!)...If a rep is rude to you speak to a supervisor or Yes get curt with him/her. Customers: you get bad service....get the reps id and ask to speak to supervisor.....just dont go away....
"harrow, dis be hassan wabadambadingdong from dell custoomer support, give me name now, or I leave. what? you broke compoooter? how you break? you bein soo stoopid! hit shift+q+right ctrl+enter, while typing hassanwabadambadingdonisgreat 5 tims, then hit window key, and it fix." uhh, dude, I just want to order a replacement power adapter!" "oooooo, ok, then instead of hassanwabadambadingdongisgreat, type, hassanwabadambadingdongisnotgoingtohelp, 7 time, then I order if I feel good." - Yes, the name has changed (but is equally crazy) but that is actually how one of my customer service went, it sucked, I hung up, and demanded to speak with a shift leader, or manager, and they just hung up on me. needless to say, I refuse to deal with dell anymore. no joke, i wish I had a recording of it.
There name is always American even if they live in other countries."Hellro dis is Bill, howr can i elp yoou" LOL
It's because their names are a million characters long.
Great advice, i frequently have problems with my dish, and i have to call in alot. The only problem with this instructable is the pics. whats the cow for??
I wasn't able to comment them. The cows are for an explanation of close and far away.
If you go back you should be able to comment now. Give it a try. Thanks
Done and done! Thx!
Sure, anytime at Joe's tech support that would $22.39. Crash, credit or debt. jk :)
It seems that there is a glitchy-buggy thing with the instructable maker, you have to save your instructable, then go back. it takes a while to go through all the pics, because you have to save, then go back.
Also remember, if you are a jerk, and incompetent, we will be making fun of you after we get off the call. Or sometimes while we are on the call, alot of places have MUTE buttons.
Tried this... Internet StiLL won't connect properly... :(
If you have talked to a couple of techs and still have issues, politely ask for a supervisor.
Seems to be working now. Anything else I can do for you sir?
Tech support??? I am so smart I even give the head of Microsoft in Australia a run for his money - much less the entire department...... Ummmm outsourced call centers, where almost all the people read from scripts? Ummm....... How about when it comes time to buy a new and expensive product with warranty, I ask, "Is the service department located in Australia?" No??? Ummmm given that tech support ranges from the occasionally brilliant to the really awful and the lack of hands on training and backed up by people who only recite crap by rote from a computer screen - I think that I shall only buy a product that is supported by technically qualified and locally employed staff..... Goodbye.
Motorcycle Spares Dept: Woman rings up and says she needs a part for her husbands motorcycle. Sales guy asks, "What sort of motorcyle is it?" Woman replies, "It's a red one".
Here Here. Just wish I could email this link to some of my customers.
. Fantastic! . I've found it helpful to go ahead and immediately let the Support Tech know my level of competence, whether it be high or low. If I have a good idea of what's going on, I'll say so and give a quick outline of the the troubleshooting I've done before calling. If I've got a good Tech (one that actually knows the product and is not just following a flowchart), this can save a LOT of time. If I am totally lost/ignorant, I'll 'fess up and we can start from the beginning. . > ... if you are cool with me and honest about it, I will not make a note stating that you did it, so it will still be covered under your warranty. If you are rude or lie to me ... I have that power. . ROFL This is oh so true. I've had more than one Support Tech save my butt by conveniently forgetting to note that _I_ caused the problem.
Mostly we are there to help you and we do care. There is a small minority that just hate their job and couldn't care less.
No offense but I think when ever I call I get that small minority that just hate their job. Hopefully I will get a nice person such as your self next time I call.
two more notes...one for the support caller and one for the support provider for the caller: if you're an advanced user, ask for your call to be escalated to the next tier of service...the person that answers the phone is at the bottom rung of the support ladder and GENERALLY only knows how to follow his/her support script....escalating your call will speed the process up for the support provider: if a user calls in and says they are an "advanced user"...stop asking if they plugged the damned thing in....i spent 2 hours on the phone with dell a few years ago (before i knew the escalate trick) because i had a dead PSU...the guy on the other end of the line couldn't get past the part of his script about "is the computer plugged in? whate happens when you press power? does machien boot up to bios?" no buddy....the PSU is dead just send me a new one!
But you have to understand, that they can't send you a new one, until they rule out every possible problem. People can say they tried all the simple things, but if they send you a new one, when the problem was actually just that the power bar wasn't switched on, they're out all that money. Instead of insisting that you are too advanced to put up with that, maybe you should just go a long with it, and quickly answer the problems so that you can get to the real tech support faster.
Yes. Please see step 4, Rule 5.
You would be suprised at some of the "advanced users". A lot of times, something they say they already tried mysteriously works when I get them to try it with me on the phone.
Escalate trick? Please, do tell. I work in IT for a company that has tons of Dell PCs, and every time a component needs to be replaced I have to go through the whole song and dance to get the support person to come to the same conclusion.
Hi, in some threads i cant seem to view the video...any idea y?
i say to post a question about it in the forums. more people will see it, and you should get helped faster.
My biggest pointer is be respectful. We in tech support know we can make your life hell. We will use that power if you are rude or abusive. You can be upset, but don't make it personal...
Great instructable. I really found it interesting that you can't suggest a translator.
Specific nouns, rather than general pronouns, are vital. I can't see your screen, so I don't know what "it" is that has just started blinking or turned yellow or caught fire. Experienced users know the terminology, so they can give a succinct and accurate description which contains the bare facts. Everyone else needs to tell a story. "It doesn't work" is not a story. "Normally, I push this round button and it glows green and my screen comes on. Today I pushed it and it glows green, but my screen doesn't show" is a good story. Remember those 5 W's you had to learn way back when? There was a reason for those. WHO usually uses the system, WHAT happened today, WHEN did the problem start, WHY is the behavior different, WHERE did the coke spill, etc. - the faster you can paint a detailed picture of the problem, the faster support can help you resolve it.

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