The current tech support landscape functions on the principle of no gain without pain.
Customers issue a flurry of phone choices before they get help. If you do get a human, here is how to have the best interaction with tech support:
1. Before you call: 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. Be prepared to clearly describe what the symptoms are. 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.
5. Remember that 99 percent of the time, the problem is with the user. So put your frustration aside and adopt a humble, business-like attitude.
6. Be open-minded and patient. The support person likely will have several theories about solutions and will walk through them with you.
7. Offer context when it seems relevant.
8. Search for solutions to your problem online first. You will probably find some. In fact, it’s often easier to get an answer from a search engine than it is to find the answer on company support pages. Try: Smith Company (problem description).