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How to Get the Most Out of Your Tech Support Calls, Part Four: The Importance of Listening

This article is the fourth article in a series entitled “How to Get the Most out of Your Tech Support Calls,” and aims to provide information to help you have the best conversation you can with your technicians, so that you can get your problem solved right the first time. Click here to read Part One, Part Two, or Part Three of the series.

Active Listening

Image Credit: kkimpel

Imagine this. It’s still Monday afternoon. While you still can’t open that important report, you’ve performed your self-troubleshooting steps, have gathered the appropriate information, and have clearly communicated with the technician.

However, talking to tech support isn’t just about being good at giving information, you also need to be good at receiving information too. Your technician is there to help you, they want to help you, that’s their job, but in order for them to do their job, they need you to be an active part of the conversation. This means listening to what they are telling you, and following the instructions to a tee, and asking questions when you don’t understand.

Active Listening

One of the most important skills for talking to tech support is being able to be a good, active listener. To do this, simply repeat back, or paraphrase what the tech told you.

“Okay, so I right clicked on Computer, went to Properties, and now I’m in the Device Manger.”

Feeding information back to your technician this way

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shows that you listen, and also helps your tech understand exactly where you ware, what you’re looking at, and how you got there.

No Conclusions, No Second Guessing

Equally as important, is not second guessing your technician. It is okay to ask questions, and to help gain a better understanding of what they are telling you, but don’t just assume that you know what they are going to tell you.

Once you receive instructions, follow them, inform the tech of the progress, and when the task is complete, wait for additional information. Don’t jump ahead and try to fix or do something else while you’re waiting, you’ll only end up frustrating yourself and possibly confusing your technician.

Mastering these easy listening skills, along with the good communication skills, will go a long way in bettering your tech support conversations so that they are more productive the first time, reducing your need for additional support calls.

So, what if the tech can’t help, or what if you need to follow up afterwards? Stay tuned for the next, and final, installment of How to Get The Most Out of Your Tech Support Calls, Part Five: Alternate Resolutions and Follow Up.


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you get the most out of your tech support calls. Email: julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website:www.mybusinesswriter.com.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Tech Support Calls, Part Three: Clear Communication

This article is the third article in a series entitled “How to Get the Most out of Your Tech Support Calls,” and aims to provide information to help you have the best conversation you can with your technicians, so that you can get your problem solved right the first time. Click here to read Part One, or Part Two of the series.

Tech Support

Image Credit: MC4 Army

Imagine this. It’s still Monday afternoon, and your important report still won’t open. You’ve performed your self-troubleshooting steps, and gathered all the important information you need. Now it’s time to pick up the phone and call tech support.

But, before you just hop on the phone and try to explain your problem, make sure you are in the right state of mind. Here are some tips to help you clearly communicate, so that your problem is sure to be resolved the first time around.

A Quite Atmosphere

If possible, try to be in a quiet, non-distracting area before you call. This could be as simple as closing your office door, or setting up a do-not-disturb sign before you get on the phone. Regardless, you want to make sure you are in an environment where you aren’t distracted, and where you and the tech can easily hear one another.

Don’t Get Emotional

Just as you should calm yourself before you get on the phone, make sure you stay calm throughout the phone call. In many instances, getting upset is counterproductive; not only will you probably upset the tech trying to resolve your problem, but you’ll probably also forget any important information because you’re more focused on your emotions.

Don’t Call for Someone Else

Whatever you do, try to refrain from making support calls for other people, even the boss, unless the person is able to sit with you while you’re on the phone with the technician.

Making calls like this is often difficult, frustrating, and time consuming, because you don’t have all the information needed for tech support to get an accurate picture of the image.

Additionally, the technician will inevitably ask you a question that only that other person will know, and if they aren’t there, the only thing you’ll be able to do is tell the tech you’ll have to find out and call them back.

If you absolutely have to call for someone else, make sure that person is onsite and available, preferably sitting right next to you, when you call. This way, you can ask questions and particulars, and won’t have to play the guessing game.

However, clear communication also includes good listening skills. Stay tuned for How to Get the Most Out of Your Tech Support Calls, Part Four: The Importance of Listening.


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you get the most out of your tech support calls. Email: julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website:www.mybusinesswriter.com.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Tech Support Calls, Part Two: Gathering Information Before You Call

This article is the second article in a series entitled “How to Get the Most out of Your Tech Support Calls,” and aims to provide information to help you have the best conversation you can with your technicians, so that you can get your problem solved right the first time. Click here to read the first article in the series, How to Get the Most out of Your Tech Support Calls: Part One, Basic Self-Troubleshooting.

Information

Image Credit: heathbrandon

Imagine this. It’s still Monday afternoon, and you still can’t open that important report you need to finish. You’ve already tried your self-troubleshooting steps, which didn’t really help, so you’ve determined that you really do need to call tech support.

However, it’s still not time to pick up the phone. Before you even think about talking to anyone, you should spend a few moments gathering your thoughts, and other important information, so that you don’t have to go digging for it later when you actually have the tech on the line.

Here are some items you should gather (depending on your particular problem) before you call support.

Model and Serial Numbers

Gather any model numbers, serial numbers, service tags, or any other special codes that you may have to give to tech support or type into the phone system before you’re connected.

Determine System Version

Whether you’re talking about your operating system, browser, or another piece of software, know which version you’re using. Problems are often version specific, and having this information can help guide your tech to locating the right solution.

Know Your Error Messages

Is your problem producing a particular error message? If yes, take a screen shot (pressing print screen and pasting the image into Word or an email often works well), or write down the message, so that you can tell the tech the exact wording of the error.

Having the exact message on hand isn’t simply a nicety, it’s a requirement. Many times error messages contain codes or other pieces of information which identify the exact problem, and having this information on hand can not only help your tech know which way to proceed, but it will also save you a lot of time on the phone.

What Surrounds the Problem?

Before you call, it helps to think about and formulate your issue, so that you know how to communicate the problem to the technician.

When did your problem start? Did it just start happening today, or has it been happening for a week, and you’re just now getting around to calling?

Did anything else happen around the same time your problem occurred? Sometimes issues are interrelated, even if you don’t realize it, so try to think about all the things that happen at the same time as the issue – like not being

able to print when your email program is not responding. It is these little pieces of information that help ensure entire problem is fixed, not just one small portion.

What Troubleshooting Have You Already Done?

Aside from explaining the problem to the technician, you should also tell them what troubleshooting you have already done. This serves two purposes. First, it saves you time by not having you repeat steps you’ve already taken to resolve the problem. Secondly, it can also help the tech further understand the problem.

Create a Plan

While you’re gathering your information, make a brief list of the points you want to discuss with the tech, including the items listed above. Remember to also write down any other issues or questions you would like to discuss. Having a plan like this will allow you to get the most out of your tech support call, and will save you from having to call again because you forgot to bring up an important point the first time around.

Once you have performed these information gathering steps, it is finally time to call tech support and have your problem resolved. Looking for tips for actually talking to tech support? Stay tuned for How to Get the Most Out of Your Tech Support Calls, Part Three: Clear Communication.


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you get the most out of your tech support calls. Email: julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website:www.mybusinesswriter.com.