If you've ever run any type of online business, you've probably encountered a tech issue of one sort or another. Servers have glitches, plugins don't co-operate, maybe you forgot to renew your domain and everything's down. At some point you're going to have to contact tech support (whether you're the designer, the client or the person managing it all).
Want to know how to get the best (and quickest) ways to fix your issue?
Here are the exact steps I use to get great support:
1. If they provide a support number CALL, don't email.
It's much easier to walk through and diagnose problems though a phone call rather than email – plus you can typically resolve the issue faster. Live chat support also works well (but I still prefer the phone for quick problem solving). This is why I always recommend webhosts that have 24/7 phone support.
2. Be prepared BEFORE you call
Have your username/account number (and pin if needed) ready to go before you call in. Write down the questions you want to ask (or write down what might have happened to create the issue) – that way you are clear on what you need to ask.
If you have screenshots or other visual evidence to share, even better. The more prepared you are, the quicker the call will go (and the tech will thank you having your stuff together – many are evaluated on how long it takes them to answer and resolve issues – the faster they resolve it, the better it looks on their reports!)
3. Be super nice – tech support folks are just like you!
Say hi. Ask them their name and how their day is going. I can't tell you how much being polite will help you.
One of my summer college jobs involved phone sales support for a large clothing company. I got so used to angry calls about late packages and missing items that I didn't want to pick up the phone – I knew every call was going to be an issue.
But when someone took the time to ask me how my day was and treated me with kindness and respect, you can bet I was more motivated to help them.
I'm ALWAYS courteous when dealing with tech support – they hold the keys to fixing your issue. There's no need to yell, scream or shout at them – they're there to help you! And remember – you may need to call them back – and they usually keep incident notes in your file to help other tech support members. You don't want to be labelled as the "difficult screamer."
I find that tech support will go the extra mile when you treat them like a friend, rather than the enemy (just try this if you ever need to call the IRS – one woman spent 20 minutes tracking down a 7 year old $2000 refund for me – when she could have easily asked me to go to my local office or submit an email ticket.)
4. Keep track of who you talk to and when
Got a big problem? Document when you called, who you talked to and what they recommended. This way if you've got ongoing problems, you can document what happened when – and get tech support up to speed quickly. I'll often have my assistant email me her chat support logs for my document files.
5. Stuck and can't get ahold of tech support via email or phone?
Send them a tweet. The better hosting (and tech) companies have dedicated twitter accounts for support.
6. Say thank you – and mean it!
Delighted by their service? Write them a tweet or send an email! I'll often do this if the support has been exemplary – it reflects well on the tech person AND you might just get a bonus out of it (I've gotten bonus software, additional months of web hosting and even referral project requests just from saying thank you!).
Need a handy guide to your online accounts so you can be prepared when you call support?
Click here to download a simple worksheet for your online accounts.