Tech Support: They’re People, Too

Written by Ant Pruitt

Tech support specialist are called to handle our tech problems, but how do we treat the people who are trying to help us?

aNewDomain — You just picked up a new laptop and tablet. You’re flying because you got them at such a great price. Eight gigs of RAM, 3.5 gigahertz processor, 15 hours battery life. The works! And then … it happens. The screen barely lights up. Your favorite app continues to spit up exception errors. Your beloved new tech devices are now a thorn in your side. What do you do? Who ya gonna call?

Tech support!

(Did you really think I was gonna go back to the 1980’s with that rhetorical question?)

Tech Support

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When tech fails, we call tech support. But do we really want to? No, not really. Why do we not want to call tech support? In most cases, we don’t want to call tech support because the hassle of troubleshooting the problem takes longer to resolve than we’d like. Or, worse our communication with the tech support specialist breaks down horribly which leads to — unimaginably — even more frustration. The frustration, in turn, morphs to anger and yelling instead of solving the problem. Yeah, all of that is going through your mind before you make the call making you apprehensive and on edge for the actual call. Which leads you to take out your anxiety on a person who clearly doesn’t deserve it. A tech support specialist.

Check this out, everyone. Tech support specialists are people just like you. Let’s treat them as such. I take this matter seriously. Why? Because in my past career I managed a team of tech support specialists. Yours truly has been on the receiving end of the phone calls from people needing tech support. And yes, I’ve been on the side of the call needing technical assistance. In short, I’ve walked in both shoes.

I hear horror stories about tech support all the time. The poorly-handled case involving Ryan Block and his Comcast internet service is a prime example. And we’ve been there in that very same Comcast debacle or it certainly seems so. But we shouldn’t make a call to tech support assuming it will be frustrating. It’s not always the case.

Here are some things to keep in mind when calling a tech support specialist:

The tech support specialist wants to help you

The job of the tech support specialist is to keep customers happy. Customer service comes first. The specialist is trained to take charge of the situation positively to resolve it. In short, they’re paid to help you.

The tech support specialist does have a script (and knows you know it)

One common complaint I hear from consumers in need of tech support is about the infamous “script.” In most cases, yes, there is a script. But it should be understood that the script is there to help the consumer. Support scripts are drafted and implemented based solely on tech support call statistics. Analyses are conducted on common problems, what causes these problems, how to resolve them and finally, what steps to take to prevent them. Therefore, a support specialist will follow the script based on the scenario. Sure, in some instances there may be a pause in the script or it may be worded somewhat differently by the specialist, but the key is the fundamental value of the script: what is the problem, what causes the problem, what fixes the problem, what can prevent the problem.

Yelling and berating the tech support specialist does not fix the issue

I get it. Your tech has wreaked havoc on your nerves. You’re thrilled to have to call tech support to fix the problem. You get my drift. What you don’t realize is that your anger leads you to think your declaration of “your product sucks!” is necessary and worth mentioning. Truth is, it’s not. It is much more efficient for you to present the problem you’re experiencing to the specialist. Be sure to answer the questions the specialist may have for you regarding the problem. Why? Because he is doing his job and following the playbook … er, uh … script as previously mentioned. He is going to do everything he can to make sure your problem is resolved. Because that’s what people do — they help other people.

The reality of the tech world is that your devices will not always be perfect. Screens will lock up, processes will fail to run, applications will crash. You will need some tech support eventually. More than likely, you’ll have to call into a tech support call center. Be mindful that you’ll be dealing with a person on the other end of the phone call. A person who believes in the product you own. A person who wants that product to work properly and get off the phone with an irate person on the other end. A person who wants to solve your problem. A person just like you.

For aNewDomain, I’m .

Featured Image: Courtesy of Esparta Palma via Flickr Creative Commons