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How to Get Assistance From Tech Support When You’re Confused

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From now on, referred to as “Tech Support,” this service is what a business offers in response to a customer who has an issue with one of its products. Although computers are the main topic of discussion here, the ideas presented apply to a wide range of goods and services, from faulty electronics and home equipment to magazine subscriptions and cable providers.

What’s causing today’s tech assistance to fall short of expectations? Knowing the answer to this query will not alter the situation, but it may help you feel better about it. Money, in a sense, is the reason.

Offering technical assistance is not free. In case you haven’t heard, the economy is experiencing problems, making most businesses extremely frugal with their spending. It stinks more every time a company tries to save money by decreasing the quantity or quality of tech assistance. “But stop!” you exclaim. Doesn’t it cost more for a business to lose a customer due to inadequate technical support?

It could, but it could also not. Most of these businesses employ sophisticated formulas to calculate the number of customers lost due to subpar technical support, the expense of providing that support, and the number of new customers that could be acquired with the same budget allocated to advertising. If the scales tip slightly favor ads, you can predict the company’s next move. It’s also worth noting that many businesses fail to see the big picture, prioritizing short-term gains over long-term ones because they are now accountable to shareholders, and their jobs rely on short-term results rather than long-term ones.

How do various computer businesses fare in the realm of tech support? Consumer Reports, Forrester Research, and LAPTOP Magazine agree that Apple provides the finest customer service and has the most satisfied users. Dell and HP were the worst culprits, with the other companies being slightly less awful.

When Do I Get Help?

How do you handle a damaged or malfunctioning computer (or other product)? What should you do now? I should give credit where it’s due, so here is the source I relied heavily on for this article. Although I have done extensive study and combined that with some hard-earned life experience [looking at you, Dell], I found that Consumerist.com, a website operated by Consumer Reports, was this column’s most valuable source of information. This is a fantastic resource for consumer rights advocates. I wish I could take credit for many of these concepts, but chances are good that they were borrowed. Because we both want consumers to be well-informed and confident, I don’t believe they’d mind if I shared this with others.

The first step is to try more conventional means. Before resorting to extreme measures, you should give the existing customer support mechanisms a fair shot at resolving the issue. An insect can be squashed with a finger, not a sledgehammer.

Before you begin, there are a few fundamentals to bear in mind:

As a first step, document everything. Keep all receipts, warranty documentation, and other documents related to your purchases. You should be able to verify the date and store from which you acquired an object. Make sure to document everything that occurs while working with technical assistance. Keep track of when you phoned, who you spoke with, what was said, and what was said to you. You should be aware of recent events and be prepared to describe them.

Use the correct terms when you can, as part (B). No one expects you to know everything, but when at all feasible, please use the proper terms. One of my men gave me that piece of information. If you can precisely explain the issue and the outcome you seek, you and the other party will save much time and energy. You may waste a few minutes chasing your tail if someone reports that their hard disk is broken when they mean their DVD player.

C) I should have made this my first point, but it bears repeating. Try to maintain a pleasant demeanor, if not outright friendliness. Nothing you say or do will help, especially anger, sarcasm, profanity, personal assaults, loudness, etc. It’s likely to make things worse. Your ability to keep from erupting and spewing molten lava will be tested by the people and circumstances you meet. The temporary relief from blowing your top may not be worth the long-term consequences. Whether you’re talking to someone in Austin, Texas, or Mumbai, India, know that they’re human being doing their best to do a difficult and thankless job, often with little training, compensation, or support from their superiors. You need them to be allies, not foes.

Therefore, you will remain level-headed and vigilant while on the phone. If the initial tech support agent cannot resolve your issue, you should request to talk with a manager. This is referred to as “escalating” the problem.

If the manager is unable or unwilling to assist you, acknowledge them, end the call, and try again. Sometimes it’s a roll of the dice, like a Lotto Quick Select. Perhaps your luck would improve if you tried calling again and speaking to someone different.

This process could be tedious and unpleasant. The Muzak could be playing the same music over and over again. Grab a journal or book, stay hydrated, bring a snack, and maintain calm to avoid becoming a challenging piece of meat in a crockpot.

Please welcome…the EECB, my little friend.

After exhausting more traditional customer support avenues without success, you may resort to the EECB as a last resort. Although I’ve been using a form of this strategy for years, I credit the term, refinement, and codification of the system to Consumerist.com.

The acronym “EECB” refers to an Executive Email Carpet Bomb. The goal is to share your experience with many of the company’s top brass. The intended results are often achieved when all recipients of the complaint letter know that others also received the letter.

First, craft a stellar statement of complaint. It needs to be precisely what it says and how you say it. Just be clear about what it is that you want. Put the problem in terms of its impact on the company’s bottom line. Spellcheck and include your address and phone number if they have any questions.

Always start with the truth and end with the resolution you want. Do your best to furnish duplicates of all documentation, serial numbers, invoices, etc.

The second step is to look up the standard style for business emails. Press releases are available through the company website or a simple Google search. Check the PR representative’s email address. Firstname.Lastname@Company.com, correct? FirstletteroffirstnameLastname@company.com? Get it down on paper and figure it out.

STEP THREE: Compile a directory of the company’s upper management. Typically, you can find this data on the business’s website. Try searching for “corporate officers” or “corporate governance.” A subset of these managers can be found by searching “management” on Google Finance.

Some services have completed some of the research for you. You can look up the corporate email format and the names of some of the corporate officers at http://www.emailnamefinder.com by entering a business name. You can find email addresses and sample messages on Consumerist.com, also a great resource. You can use the website’s search function to find details about particular businesses, such as whether or not any EECBs have been successfully implemented.

FOURTH STEP: Make an email list by combining the names from Step 3 with the structure from Step 2.

FIFTH STEP: Forward your protest email to the addresses you compiled in STEP 4.

The sixth step is to wait for a reply.

Even though the EECB isn’t foolproof, it’s often used to solve problems that would otherwise be unsolvable.

Larry Spinak, a computer expert and tutor based in Los Angeles, California, founded his company, CompuNerds, in 1999.

2009 – No reproduction allowed.

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