By | January 3, 2003

The key to getting help from technical support is to realize that tech support is working under a conflict of interest. Tech support representatives really want to help their customers, yet they are also under orders to not replace hardware unless absolutely necessary. In many call centers, a tech support rep’s performance is evaluated by how many times he or she was able to resolve a call without replacing hardware.

So you will often find tech support reps that ask you to try
absolutely everything under the sun before they agree to replace equipment. They are trying to help you out, but they are also trying to make sure they get their 35-cent raise at the end of the year.

There are a few keys to getting a tech support rep on your side:

  • Never, ever start out your phonecall with, “I need a new XXXX”
    (where XXXX is any piece of hardware). This puts the rep on the
    defensive; he or she will do whatever they can to prove to you that you
    actually do NOT need XXXX.
  • Be calm and courteous, no matter how irritated you feel.
  • Be as complete and concise as possible. Be descriptive, and give
    error messages if possible. Nothing makes a rep’s job harder than
    saying, “My computer isn’t working.” Instead, say something along the
    lines of: “My computer will not boot. It says, ‘STOP:
  • * Do not argue with the rep. There’s nothing more self-defeating than
    calling someone for help, and then not accepting it. Avoid saying
    things like, “why should I do that?” or “I don’t think that’s going to
    fix the problem”.

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