HTD Tech Tip #2 – Be nice to your IT resource!

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support_cartoon Being nice to someone should go without saying. So why is it that people seem to forget this when they need technology help? Is it that people consider Tech Support to be a given, meaning IT help should be provided regardless of how it is asked for? I try to apply “being nice” to ANYONE who knows more about something than I do. This could be a plumber, a developer, a teacher and yes, the guy/gal who helps you with your technology needs. So why is it that so many people are rude on the phone when they talk to Tech Support? Is it because they are desperate? Or simply because they feel like those people “work for them” regardless of whether they do or not.

Here are some things you can do the next time you need the help from a technology-savvy person…and trust me, coming from the support-provider side, it really makes a difference:

  • Be polite – the people who you need help from are people too. Get mad at the automated machines that provide support, but not with the live person.
  • Be prepared – nothing is more annoying than when a person needing help hasn’t done a bit of leg-work prior to asking for help. If you even slightly appear that you have tried to resolve things yourself will get you higher marks with the Tech Support person. Be sure you can list out what you have or have not tried. It shows them that you are human too and not just demanding.
  • Listen & Learn – don’t think that because you have done your research that you know everything. You don’t. You can learn new ways at troubleshooting or even new tips and tricks to make you more of an expert “the next time”
  • Spend some time – don’t expect that your issue will be resolved immediately. It’s often difficult to troubleshoot things remotely or even on-site. A good support person will come at things from different angles. The first angle may not work, but other ones may.
  • Personalize it – while some support people may not want to chat (because they are concentrating or getting paid on the number of resolutions they can provide within a short time period), others may actually like breaking from the monotony. If on the phone, ask them where their call center is. I often find that talking about kids helps to make things a bit more personal.
  • Use Humor – getting someone to laugh or laughing with someone can really help. It puts you on a different level with them and they may be more willing to go the extra mile for you.
  • Reward them – if, but the luck of the draw, you find someone who DOES go the extra mile, do the same thing for them. This is often hard to do, but many support organizations have feedback mechanisms in place for you to comment on their work. If someone is really good, give them high marks or even write a letter to their manager. It will definitely make their day!
  • Escalations – if you are forced to escalate your case, try to keep your cool. This is many times, hard to do. I personally have been irate with people and their managers on the phone and done a bit of yelling. It doesn’t help (or if it does, it doesn’t often happen). If you escalate, be sure to tell the escalation manager that it had nothing to do with the lower level support person (unless it does, obviously). If you are rude or belligerent, it may be noted in your customer profile.
  • Offer to help – this works great with people who are on-site. First, you should ask if they want a drink or something. You can also see if there is some menial task that you can do (e.g., move a ladder, hold a flashlight, etc.). If you are “investing” in the solution, you will get better mileage.

These are just a few tips that you can employ when getting help. Many of these can be applied to any type of service so be sure to try this out across the board. I just tried it today, in fact, so we will see if my own tips hold true!

Do you have any others? Leave a comment on things that have worked for you!

HTD Says: Above all, when asking for someone’s help, be nice and courteous!

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Michael Sheehan (“HighTechDad”) is an avid technologist, writer, journalist, content marketer, blogger, tech influencer, social media pundit, loving husband and father of 3 beautiful girls living in the San Francisco Bay Area. This site covers technology, consumer electronics, Parent Tech, SmartHomes, cloud computing, gadgets, software, hardware, parenting “hacks,” and other tips & tricks.

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