Or: How Not To Be a Dick to Techs.
One of the things that makes me who I am is my nearly seven years of experience in the soul-crushing, gut-wrenching field of technical support. I went to the Dark Side (graveyard shift) back in 2010 and have since stayed there. I love being a night owl because I don’t have to interact with the general populace as much as the daywalkers do (I can already tell I’m going to be one of those old farts who walk softly, carry a big stick, and yell at kids to get off my lawn). That’s not to say I don’t speak with people; the main defining trait of my job consists of helping customers reconnect to the Interwebs or de-louse their PCs.
During my time in this position I have come to the conclusion that there are three types of people in the world:
- Those who are patient and open and listen well to instructions.
- Those who are now and will always be idiots and assholes.
- Old people.
My team and I have compiled a list of things you need to know about calling tech support, and how to avoid being lumped into the second category.
Have your account information ready when you call. Almost every technical support department will track your account by your phone number. If you don’t know your phone number (the only reason for which this is acceptable is if you’ve just received it) then have your first billing statement in-hand when you call. Your phone number, billing account number, or other identifying information will be present. This will save you time, will save us frustration, and make the whole exchange begin pleasantly and efficiently.
We are not your enemy. We know that you’re frustrated, angry—livid even—about your internet service or computer not working. We get that. Here’s the rub: We did not cause the problems. Your fourteen-year-old son more than likely went to the wrong porn site. That’s why you have a virus. We are here to fix what your family screwed up. Screaming every obscenity in the book at us over the phone for half an hour to rile yourself up and then screaming at us more because we haven’t fixed your issue yet does not a productive troubleshooting session make. Stop. Breathe. Tell us the problem as clearly and concisely as you are capable, FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS, and let us do our jobs. Don’t question the method. It’s what we’re trained and paid for.
You are not “Computer Illiterate”. This is the wrong phrase to use. It pisses most of us off. This is such a massive pet peeve that every time I hear someone say this phrase it makes me want to set kittens on fire. You can say that you aren’t computer savvy, that you are by no means a computer person, but please, for the love of everything holy left in this forsaken world, PLEASE don’t EVER utter the phrase “I’m computer illiterate” to your technician. You sound like even more of a pants-on-head retard for not even using the correct adjective. Also, flaming kittens. Think of the kittens.
No, we don’t have a magical button that fixes your internet. If we did, we would use it. Trust me. We don’t want to talk to you any more than you want to talk with us. No, the supervisors don’t have a magical button either. Most of the time they will tell you the EXACT SAME THING the level one technician just told you except they will say it in a more authoritative voice.
Everyone is entitled to have an “Off” day. Technicians are not robots. We are human, just like you. And occasionally shit goes down poorly for us either in the office or in our personal lives which inevitably can carry over to our performance at work. Be polite, but if a tech sounds like they are having a shitty day, mention it to them. You’d be surprised at how quickly we realize we’re being an asshole to you and get our act together.
The government is not out to get you, so stop insisting that you’re being hacked by the FBI, CIA, your ex, or the neighbor with whom you’ve had a feud for the past twenty years. Unless you’ve given your passwords to somebody (change them!), you’re an international spy, or you’re a terrorist the likelihood that anyone gives a damn about what’s on your computer is slim to none, and slim just left. Relinquish your membership card to the Tin Foil Hat Brigade. Honestly, you’re not that important.
The exception to this rule: Keyloggers, viruses, browser hijacks, etc. have been known to steal passwords and credit card information. Run thorough virus scans periodically and keep your virus definitions up-to-date to detect and remove these threats. There are plenty of FREE, quality antivirus programs out there. Please note that even if you have antivirus software viruses can still get through. If a new, big infection hits the Net it will take some time before antivirus software is updated with the means by which to remove it. It’s the unfortunate nature of the Internet and the risk we take as citizens of the Information Age.
Your internet speed package may not be to blame for your slow computer. Typically, if you call due to the quality of your internet speed a technician will run some speed tests and troubleshoot accordingly. Don’t jump to the conclusion that it’s the ISP’s fault. Several factors can go into this slowness. Most commonly:
- You have a virus or your computer needs a tune up. Computers are a lot like cars. They don’t require an oil change, but temporary files, cookies, and general junk can accumulate and bog down the PC. Periodically running a disk defrag, disk cleanup, and clearing your cookies/cache/internet history can and will speed up your browser. Some ISPs offer advanced support services as part of their tech support package. They can vary in price range. More often than not the techs behind these services know exactly what they are doing and you will be pleased with the results.
- Your computer is old. If you are still running windows 98, NT, XP or, to some extent, Vista: You have a problem. As much as I loved Windows XP, the operating system is out-dated. It’s time to upgrade. An older computer also means old hardware, insufficient RAM (which is more of a contributor to a slow computer than you might imagine), and overall inferior technology.
- If your computer is wireless then make sure you’re within wireless range and are using the right router. Some houses flat our gobble up wireless signal like it’s going out of style. Your house may be one of those.
If we recognize your name, we hate you. There are certain people, believe it or not, who call the tech support line multiple times a day. Every. Single. Day. We hate you on principle. There is no reason whatsoever you should have to call us that many times. If your file of notes is longer than the bible or as heavy as the Code of Hammurabi then there is something fundamentally wrong with you. You’re the sort of person who needs to step away from your computer, or take a community college course on Computers for Dummies, or find a friend, or find a therapist, or get laid. We don’t exist as a call center to entertain you when you’re lonely. There are 1-900 numbers for that. Stop it.
Please ask for a supervisor if you thought your technician went above and beyond the call of duty to fix your problem. Supervisors deal with complaints 99% of the time. It’s nice to be able to give a technician who does an amazing job kudos on their employee file. This helps boost morale, increase salaries, and encourage us to continue being the best technicians we can be.
Most people are good people. Some are self-entitled asshats. All-in-all I am happy doing what I do. I’m happy to get a paycheck. I love my co-workers and I love helping people. If I didn’t I wouldn’t be in the customer service business.
My question to you: What do you love and hate about your job and why? Comment and join the conversation!