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How to Talk to Tech Support
No matter how experienced you are with your computer and its programs, sooner or later, you’re going to call tech support.
Remember that what you say, and how you say it, are important factors in getting your problem solved quickly.
Here are some tips for efficient (and polite) interactions with tech staff.
1. Have the courtesy to do what should probably be obvious: Restart your computer. After restart, make sure you have no other programs opened, other than the one causing problems. Try to reproduce the problem.
2. Check for system and program upgrades and install them. Now try to reproduce the problem.
3. Write down what operating system you are using and the name of version of the software you are using. (“Windows” is not the answer to either question.)
4. Clarify in your mind exactly what the problem is. Lots of things might confuse you or concern you, but they are probably not the problem. You might think you know what the problem is, but try to state the symptoms first. Be prepared to state simply what the symptoms are.
On this point, remember that a simple statement is not the same as an empty statement. Do not contact tech support and say: It doesn’t work. That is not stating the problem. Do not attempt to make the tech support person play 20 questions with you before he can even get to the point of the call. You might find out that less-than-patient tech support persons can and will waste your time, too, and then nothing will be solved.
5. Remember that 99 percent of the time the problem is not with the computer or the program. The problem is most likely with the user. So, put your frustration aside, adopt a humble, business-like attitude, and treat your tech support person with respect.
6. Be open minded and patient. The support person likely will have several theories about solutions and will walk through them with you. Even if you have used the program or computer for years and never had this problem, try to be open to possible solutions the tech support person offers. You may have never, ever had a problem with your CD drive, but it is at least possible that today is the day you are having one.
7. Offer context when it seems relevant. If you just added new hardware to your computer, and your problem is with the computer, tell this to the tech support person. If you opened an email attachment, and now you are having problems, tell this to tech support.
8. Stow the attitude. Accusing support of dishonesty, incompetence or suspicious lineage, doesn’t solve the problem.