4 Tech Support Hacks
Perhaps you remember playing “phone” with a friend when you were a little kid; you know, two tin cans with a string attached between them, you go in two separate rooms and try to get a message back and for the to each other? Well, sometimes talking to tech support can make you feel like that little kid again, trying to get a message across to someone with nothing but two cans and a string.
Of course, when it’s your business on the line instead of just wasting a rainy afternoon, there is nothing fun about it. We’ve all been there, more than we care to admit, so we wanted to share 4 Tech Support Hacks to help out next time you need one of those potentially frustrating, pesky support sessions.
Regardless of whether you choose to reach this assistance by phone, chat, or email, it helps to know some of the best ways to go about it in order to get the best results. Though service providers spend a good deal of time and money training their support personnel, for one reason or another one may find it occasionally difficult to get the gist of their problem or question across to the person on the other end of the line, and get the answers or help they need.
After many years of working with various service providers, and literally countless hours on the phone or chat with various support agents, we have noticed that these methods work quite well to yield the best results. At the very least they will go a long way towards a less stressful, more productive support session. So without further ado, here we go!
1. Be organized. Speaking with tech support is a lot like ordering fast food. What do we mean by that? Well, when you pull up to the drive through, you should have your order ready. At the drive thru, things will go a lot smoother if you have your order already lined out in your head, and you don’t throw any potentially misleading or confusing information in there. Your order should go something like this: “Two # 3’s (Bacon Cheeseburger) one with everything, a large onion ring, and a large coke, the other without onions, with large fries, and a diet sprite. Also, a number 5 (Chicken Sandwich), grilled, with large tater tots, and a small cherry slushy.” Something to that extent anyway.
Communicating with tech support will go best if you use this same strategy; know what questions you will be asking and/or specifically what you need. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point to avoid misunderstandings and confusion. If you must explain a previous discussion, be sure to reference the prior ticket # first thing, and/or describe that event in the most efficient, orderly manner as possible.
It is best to type up a key point list and have it ready when you contact tech support. If you are contacting them via chat support, you can simply copy and paste your pre-determined questions/information into the chat box to save time. That being said, speaking to tech support via chat is a lot like talking over a CB radio. You tend to get the speediest results when you keep correspondence short, sweet, and to the point.
Our second tip may be a bit more difficult to pull off, especially if things start to get tough, but it helps to keep both parties in a more positive mood, and gives you a better chance of working well with your support agent.
2. Be polite. Always take the time to say “please” and “thank you”. It can be amazing how far a few “Ty’s” can go towards a better support experience. Though they aren’t allowed to voice their frustration, support agents are people too, and when things get difficult they can get less responsive to your needs, perhaps without even knowing it. Simple niceties keep things civil, and let them know you appreciate their help. For particularly in depth, lengthy support sessions where you can tell the agent is trying their hardest, step up the “thank you” or “Ty” when you notice you are getting a bit frustrated to “thanks so much”, perhaps even a smiley, anticipating that if you are getting frazzled, tech support probably is too.
“Being polite can have profound effects on the outcome of your support experience, or any experience for that matter.”
We have had many occasions where we were on a chat with tech support for hours; we were getting tired and frustrated…they were getting tired and frustrated, but we noticed that every time we included a simple “thanks so much, we really appreciate your help” and a smiley at the end of a short, to the point message, it reinvigorated the agent surprisingly well. They stuck with us and helped to solve our problem, even though we were both really tired of the subject. (Keep in mind, we are talking about support agents that were hanging in there, obviously making a big effort to fix our my issue. If you get an agent that doesn’t seem to be too interested in helping out, or keeps going around in circles – proceed to the next tip and save yourself the trouble!)
Our third tip will save lots of time and frustration if you have tried both tips above, they aren’t working, and you are getting nowhere. Perhaps the agent is having a bad day, or perhaps you simply are not working well together. Then too, let’s face it, no matter how well they screen, train, and groom their agents, it is possible to get ahold of one that just isn’t cut out for that line of work. Either way, if you are having a bad support experience save yourself the stress!
3. Don’t waste your time. If things are not going well, say thank you, that you will review the information they have given you, then hang up, or close the chat. Take a few moments to recompose yourself, go over this your support question or need in your head, then contact support again. Unless your service provider is a small company with only a few tech support agents, you will likely reach an entirely different person this time and have a chance to start fresh. Repeat tips one and two.
This next tip is one you can use for any circumstance, not just speaking with tech support. An online presence takes a lot of hard work, and things can get pretty tough from time to time. When things get really out of hand, and you feel like you are ready to start pulling your hair out….
4. Take a few moments to yourself and RELAX! Attacking a problem while frustrated generally only results in a waste of time, often causes a lot of mistakes which will need fixing, and maybe even cost you money! Why cause yourself more problems? If you are completely at the end of your rope, it will come across in your work, but also in your conversation whether you realize it or not, and quickly irritate the support agent as well. Not a good way to have a fruitful tech support experience, or any other good experience with another person for that matter. Get away from your project or problem for a few minutes, walk away from your computer. Water your plant, grab a glass of water (or a cup of coffee), pet your dog, listen to your favorite song, read a few pages of your favorite book, practice your favorite Yoga pose, walk on your tread mill, throw a few punches at your punching bag; whatever you need to do to get your mind away from the subject at hand and get some clarity. You don’t need to take the day off, or waste a whole afternoon, just get out of your head for a few minutes. Once your heart rate has slowed, and you are calm and collected, then go back and tackle that problem!
“Getting away from the issue at hand for just a few moments can often yield the best results.”
This last tip we practice religiously regardless of the issue, and we get great results with it almost every time. We find that getting away from the issue at hand for just a few moments usually results in me coming right back to it, and seemingly magically finding a solution. Sometimes when you go over and over things, you just cannot see the solution that is right in front of you. Clearing your mind and calming down may allow you the clarity you need to see the fix for your problem, or converse in a manner that will result in getting that solution you so desperately need.
The next time you find yourself in need of a support technician, try these 4 Tech Support Hacks out; though there is no guaranteed method to getting excellent results every time, you will find these help to reduce stress at the very least, and give you a better chance at getting the results you hoped for.
4 Tech Support Hacks