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.
To be honest, I've never really had much luck with <a href="http://www.mytechteam.net" rel="nofollow">online tech support</a>. Personal interaction has always worked out better for me in any situation. <br>
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
Geez some people here really hate tech support/call centers. I always try to be polite and just go with whatever someone says when I call support, even when I know power-cycling and stuff isn't going to do it and I've already done it. It is annoying but, well, I don't know the problem myself so it doesn't really hurt to just do what they ask and not look like an ass when I realize I don't actually have it plugged in ;) Myself, never worked in a call center, but plenty of customer service jobs and they suck because customers do all these things mentioned. They do it in every situation throughout the day, apparently. I thought this was a funny instructable, and some people here have taken it a bit too seriously. I'm thinking these are the people that aren't very great to customer service people (uuuuusually stems from the customer thinking they are better than the person on the other end and showing it). You got my first comment, btw!
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.
Some comments on your list:<br/><em>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.</em><br/><strong>This is a free country. If I don't want to hear how I can save on my next purchase or I'm reconnecting after Yolanda just hung up on me, I have a right to be curt.</strong><br/><br/><em>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.</em><br/><strong>Why do you guys have the oldest, crappiest equipment? My work computer is 9 years old, yet I can still pull stuff up quicker than a hi-tech support center.</strong><br/>If I have given my info 6 times already, shouldn't you have it by the time you pick up the line? <strong></strong><br/><br/><em>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.</em><br/><strong>Total BS, If Yolanda doesn't know how to write with those big fingernail extensions, it wont be in the notes, much less correctly. If something is in there its something wrong or an incomplete log entry</strong><br/><br/>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 &quot;What does the screen say?&quot;<br/><br/><em>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.</em><br/><br/><strong>If I have had the same problem for 2 weeks, I've probably already checked to see if the power was on or the cable was plugged in. </strong><br/><br/>If you want to see what real customer service is, go to Japan (or go back in time to pre 1970's in America)<br/>
This is one of my hot buttons. I work in a call center as well, this is stuff that we really do appreciate. and as he said, we do have the power. I've talked to people that have been so rude, or refused to do what I asked, that I've charged for parts when I could have just as easily sent them for free. Remember, if you work with customer's, treat the people that help you how you want to be treated. We have the power to keep you on the phone for hours, or try to get you fixed as soon a possible. If you call in ranting and raving, expect the tech to get her revenge. Also, I work in the US, and I am not robot.
You can actually charge people for parts? I think that has been done to my stepdad, he has a short temper for tech support (even though he is asking them for help). BTW, I was wondering, how much do tech support people make?
I am paid pretty well, but I have the degrees to justify it.
You have to have degrees to become a tech support person?? And how much in Ks.
uuuuuh, being a tech support call center cubicle jockey is not an aspiration to behold. These are mostly entry level jobs despite what you hear from the actual support folks themselves. Here are some highlights of what to look forward to: 1. Stuck in a cube 2. No integrity (should I charge for parts? or not? and risk lawsuits for my company) 3. you wear one of those headsets like the drive-thru people 4. You read stuff off a screen instead of using your crack troubleshooting skills 5. paychecks are just barely above the poverty level (just research avg. salaries for the IT industry- call center CRM tech) 6. will get outsourced to another country -or- your company gets bought merged or flounders. 7. You will buy lots of dorky cubicle gadgets and USB powered crap from china 8. You will also be used to UPSELL stuff people don't want (it will be on the screen) 9. CRM degree holders know nothing about tech and vice versa. Your boss won't know SCSI from her butt. If you are a tech genius, you wont be stuck in a call center. 10. you will need to be in a really boring place in the US, or live in India or the Philippines.
Yeah, I kinda figured that it wasn't to terribly fun. I was just curious. BTW, I like dorky cubicle gadgets and USB powered crap from china. And you sound like you don't like your boss. You mentioned "her". Not him/her or the usual him. Sounds like you need a change of scenery.
No, I'm happy. I don't work in Tech Support or call center CRM. and I love my boss. My comment was noting that college degree earners in CRM are predominantly women. But I have worked in a cubicle in a previous life. It sucks.
<strong>Why do you guys have the oldest, crappiest equipment? My work computer is 9 years old, yet I can still pull stuff up quicker than a hi-tech support center.</strong><br/>If I have given my info 6 times already, shouldn't you have it by the time you pick up the line?<br/><br/>Did I have you on a call last week? <br/>Think of it this way, your computer on your network. Not that big.<br/>My computer on the call center's network that is running somewhere around 2400+ users at anyone time. That is Big. <br/>No matter what kind of equipment you have, there is always going to be a spike in the network and pulling up info could be slow for a little bit. <br/><br/>As for the info you gave the last guy. You phone call (read voice) came through the line. Words don't display on a head set. One day yes it will. Until then, remember we are trying to help. If you need to repeat yourself a few times then that is what you have to do. The guy answering the phone is trying to get you to the guy who answers the phone for the department you are trying to get to. <br/>
Poor excuses for a failing industry. I agree that america has it share of idiots. However, lackluster network performance is not the issue with Customer Service call center efficiency. The packets of information are rather small, and any industry with capabilities of 10T on cat 3 can handle thousands of transactions a second, and thats low end technology to say the least. If this is your industry, and not some transition job, GO TO JAPAN. See how they operate, and on older equipment (think Token Ring, AS/400 if you are old enough, probably not). It doesn't take a blind man to read the info on the call center industry in the US. It's pretty well known how crappy it is.
don't forget the DB queries that are being processed and the additional apps running on the network. Thousands of queries per hour = slow responses.<br/>
OK uber-user. I will make sure I charge you for everything I can when you call in. I really can't stand guys like you. If tech support is soooo crappy, and you are a master of network protocol, then you don't need my help. Please, don't call me.
This applies to all customer service issues. I don't think you specified exactly what crappy product you support, but it's probably something with horrid build quality that was made in china. You will understand one day when you get a real job and have a broken fridge, faulty kids toy, incompatible device with your OS that wasn't documented in the marketing material, or you buy something that was shipped broken, etc. remember, the customer originally purchased your product with confidence, and hence, he/she is where revenue and profit stems. One day when companies realize this affects bottom line instead of just shareholder revenue, this will come full circle. You can look at many industries and see where your philosophy has failed. Unfortunately Americans have become accustomed to shotty products and poor customer service, and has become the norm. I wont call you. I'll just stop buying your product and you will be laid off when a bigger company buys all your holdings.
And you will be the one we bill. I don't like you.
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.

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