Guide to Successfully Work With Tech Support

Almost everybody who ever needed to deal with a phone issue, an internet connection errors or a new system that does not work as expected had to deal with tech support. These are support teams that are supposed to solve problems for you when you have a technical issue. But almost every time I speak to somebody about tech support, I hear complaints and frustration. The horror stories seem to be very common. Therefore, let me help you out with this little guide on how to successfully work with tech support.


Consider These Basics When You Work With Tech Support

First, I would like to point your attention to your thinking: If you go into a conversation with a negative feeling, the other side can feel this. This will influence the entire conversation. Therefore, please keep in mind that you are talking to people. The person you are speaking to usually is not the cause of your problem. They are just trying to help you.

When dealing with tech support, I have seen the entire spectrum: from bloody beginner that knew less than me to completely frustrated staff members that just want the day to pass by to enthusiastic and really ambitious employees that really want to find the best solution and are eager to help.

Since you never know upfront with who you will be speaking, I recommend entering every conversation in a positive tone and with the strong belief that the other party will be able to help you.

If in doubt, put yourself in that person’s shoes. They are spending all day trying to solve problems, system errors and complaints. Not all issues can be fixed immediately by these support people. Some things require additional investigation by separate experts. Trust me, the support staff would really appreciate if a caller shows some understanding.


Three Tips When You Work With Tech Support

1) Provide all required information

Take some notes before you contact the tech support. Be clear what you want to achieve before opening a request. Be aware that the support operator has no idea what happened until you tell them. So, be precise: What were you trying to do? What exactly happened? How can the operator replicate the case? This means, which steps exactly did you take? Don’t skip any steps! Sometimes one step that you skipped makes all the difference in the solution. Any screenshots you can provide are helpful. Be aware that if the other person doesn’t understand what you want, you need to explain it better. It is not required to speak tech language. You can simply say where you clicked or what you see. The operator will be able to follow you.

2) Do not accept vague answers

Yes, sometimes a solution cannot be given immediately. A more detailed analysis cannot always be done right at the place. But you can expect next steps and a rough timeline on when you will hear back. You are not the first asking questions that cannot be answered right away – there is always an internal procedure.

Don’t accept an answer that makes no sense to you. If it sounds strange, usually something is off. It may be that the operator does not know the precise answer or did not understand the provided information himself. If you think “Huh?”, ask again. If you think that there must be a way to do it and the operator says “no”, ask for alternatives. What is possible? How are other requests like this handled? Is there another level of support that can provide more information?


Support levels

What you need to know is that most technical support centers have several levels of support:

  • Level 1 support: This is the first line of support. These operators are trained to answer the most frequently asked questions like forgotten passwords, how to navigate or typical technical issues that are very common. This is where you end up when you call the general support hotlines.
  • Level 2 support: This is where more detailed analyses are done by product experts. This department can be split by product category in case the company is bigger. These operators are not always client facing. Sometimes they call back, sometimes they forward the results of the analysis back to the first level support.
  • Level 3 support: This is often the product team itself and the developers. Normal clients usually have no access to these resources, but they are the ones who really know whether something works or not. Knowing that these people exist, already helps a lot. You can request to get your question forwarded to these experts if the support you are talking with is unable to help. Especially when things don’t sound feasible, it should be verified. Even though level 2 experts have a lot of knowledge, they also don’t know everything.

Understand with which level you are operating. Mostly, you speak to level 1 operators. They are not qualified to answer super special questions. They almost always have to double-check details.


3) Follow-up and be persistent

Since not every question can be answered immediately, you will sometimes be asked to wait for the response. While this is in general nothing unusual, it depends heavily on the operator how well they follow-up. I have been dealing with several operators that never got back to me. Always ask for when you can expect feedback. Put a reminder in your calendar. If you hear nothing back by this date, send a reminder and ask for an update.

If possible, save a transcript of the conversation for your own reference. Because if the first operator – for whatever reason – is not available, you can forward the entire conversation you already had to the new operator. Then you don’t have to explain everything again. Ideally, you get the direct contact of the operator you spoke to like an email address, at least their name. When you follow-up with the support staff, reference the previous conversation and ideally the operator.

Many companies work with ticket systems. The ticket ID will serve as a central point of contact.

If an operator closed your ticket without having found a solution, don’t be shy to ask to re-open the ticket and request further clarification. If there is no reaction on your request, open a new ticket and refer the old ticket number once more.


And a little creativity never hurts either…

If you get absolutely no response, try different channels. Sometimes providers have Facebook groups or communities where you can ask questions. Sometimes, they have a pre-sales support where you can schedule meetings. Even though these employees are not support employees, they often are able to help and push your request. If they offer different channels like email support, chat support or phone support, try different channels. Just don’t quit!


And with these tips, you should be ready to jump into any conversation with a tech support.

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