Five Common Misconceptions of Tech Support

By | September 19, 2011

If you’ve ever worked in tech support, chances are you’ll often come across people seeking assistance with problems who will, when served by you or a colleague, act or treat you in a manner that indicates they’ve not got the slightest grasp of what it is you can do for them, whether remotely or in person. Here’s a few that crop up frequently:

1) They have often not tried the simplest solution: you’d be surprised at how often tech support staff have their education rendered completely pointless by the number of times they’ve said “turn it off, and turn it on again.” It’s worth noting that whether your internet is slow when you need your email or want to play Party Poker, or your phone is lagging badly, the device may just need to start up fresh.

2) They will often assume that you are being condescending: this really isn’t true! A lot of people enjoy working in tech support and like helping others – this is proven by them continuing to hold down their jobs. It’s baffling to realize how often people think the advice in #1 is an insult, when it’s simply just a tried-and-tested first solution.

3) They do not realize a lot of tech support staff must follow a script: at least at first, anyway. The reason we’re given a troubleshooting script when working at a lower level is because it’s easier to narrow down the problem by asking a set of pre-defined questions that can be displayed as a solution flow-chart. Faster for us, faster for you. Stick with it, we’re not being pedantic and annoying.

4) They are very impatient: we understand as well as you do that a tech problem that takes a while to solve can be really frustrating – it prevents you from doing what you’d rather be doing, and it also prevents us from moving on to the next person. We do enjoy solving problems, however, so please bear in mind that we’re working as hard and fast as we can.

5) They assume we’re thick-skinned: you have to be, in this job, but it wouldn’t kill some people to be a little more gentle. Swearing and interrupting doesn’t help us do our jobs, and it means we can’t actually solve the problem, because you’re providing profanity rather than the specifics of the problem you’re having.

We tech support experts are gentle folk, and whatever field I find myself working in, I’m always grateful I had roles in tech support to teach me problem-solving and communications skills, as well as how to keep cool under extreme pressure. Next time someone solves your router issue for you, surprise them – say thank you!

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