Ten Commandments of Tech Support Callers
Maybe I have way too much common sense but calling Tech Support when you don't have the error message is like going to the doctor and saying "I have a pain" and when he asks "where?" you answer "In my body, somewhere". 'Nuff said.
Why anyone in their right mind would keep hitting their head against the wall is beyond me. Personally, I walk away from the PC and do something else for a while if I'm not sure what the problem is. Likewise, before I even consider installing hardware or "major" software (like an operating system), I make sure I'm calm, cool and collected.
You know, swearing like a sailor or threatening the tech will not get your system fixed any faster. In fact, the tech may be so "shaken" by your tirade he may "inadvertently" give you the wrong instruction for your problem ("sir, I believe doing the following will solve your problem: exit out to the DOS prompt and type c:\fdisk").
Although we in Tech Support will probably chuckle for the first few minutes if you call in drunk, after that we tend to get annoyed. Playing games or "chatting" on the Internet are fine while intoxicated; running System Editor or the Registry Editor are not. Luckily for you, most decent techs will handle the situation by suggesting you call back later, when you've had about five less beers!
Please do NOT call five minutes before leaving for work, or on your "coffee break". Calling us from work when your PC is crashed at home is futile; we can't begin to investigate the cause unless you're right there looking at the PC. Also, unless you're a true techno-whiz, our instructions will do nothing more than confuse you anyway. Last, have the PC on and ready to go BEFORE dialing the 800#, most of us are on some type of time constraint and waiting for your 386SX to boot up is highly annoying.
I'll make this as simple as possible. Please go back and read commandment #II at the following site:http://seerialmom.homestead.com/files/10com.html . Besides that, we in tech support tend to assume you know nothing and 9 times out of 10 you prove us right.
If I had a nickel for every "System Administrator" or "Network Administrator" who called, I'd do a hostile takeover of Microsoft. Likewise, I nor any of my fellow techs are impressed when you proceed to give us your lofty title of Dr. anything. Come to think of it, the most obnoxious calls I've had came from these supposedly "intelligent" jerks.
Did you ever play "Simon Says" as a kid? Well, tech support is just like that and Simon will get very nasty with you if you close programs or windows he needs you to have open or click on things that have nothing to do with what we're trying to help you fix. Likewise, do NOT reset your PC just because you've got an "hourglass"; there are other ways to stop the program without trashing your operating system. If you'd quit jumping the gun we'll gladly tell you how to do it.
When calling tech support, it's a good idea to know exactly what you've installed in the days prior to the problem occurring, even if you think it's not related. We especially need to know if you've installed any "utility" type program (can you say "First Aid"?). I realize these magic "utility" programs that promise to fix whatever ailments may beset your PC sound like a dream come true, but the reality is that more often than not, they cause more problems than they actually fix.
10.Thou shalt remove any or all distractions, for they will surely prevent ye from receiving the divine assistance ye art seeking!
Please don't call us when you're in the middle of an argument with your spouse, or when your two-year old is screaming at the top of his lungs. Also, turn down your TV or stereo and definitely do NOT call while you're having a party. One more thing; do not call us if your wife just said she's leaving you, your mind will definitely be someplace else, eh?
©1998 seerialmom enterprises
Now I realize most of these commandments sound harsh, but the reality of it is that if you do follow them, you'll eventually gain the confidence to tackle anything your PC throws at you, and your frustration level will decrease. Not to mention the true pleasure the tech will have working with you, if you do need to call. Plus, you may even get real brave and attempt to add new pieces to your PC. I know this from experience because, I, too, was a "newbie" a few years ago. I do NOT have any degrees in Computer Science, nor have I taken any courses in the subject (my major was Psychology). I did, however, buy a floor model IBM 486SX to start with, found that for my needs it wasn't adequately equipped, and slowly but surely (and with the help of some well written installation manuals), installed my upgrades. Sure I made mistakes (like when I deleted my "video" directory because I knew I wasn't going to watch movies on my PC and I needed the hard drive space; I'm sure the techs at IBM chuckled over that one). It was one success at a time. I soon realized that it wasn't that scary after all, and now I build my own systems and do tech support for a living.
If you'd care to, you can find out more about me through my alter-ego,Seerialmom.
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