How to Avoid Giving
Meaningful Tech Support

by Joel GAzis-SAx

These rules are issued because there are some tech support people who do not know the true meaning of tech support. Tech support means financial support for the people who already have technical knowledge. It is erroneous to believe that it has anything to do with assisting clients. The following list demonstrates ways to ensure uniformity of service to those technicians being supported by ISPs, software publishers, hardware manufacturers, and others marketing a product.
  1. Assume that everyone who calls tech support is stupid.
  2. Don't read or listen carefully. Light upon a couple of key words and give an answer which speaks to the most common questions, not the one being asked.
  3. Blame all communication problems on the caller. You, after all, were hired for your superior people-handling skills and technical knowledge. Reading/listening comprehension is not required.
  4. Remember that the human beings are only to be found in tech support. Clients are never human.
  5. Direct the client to the FAQ. Don't tell the client where the FAQ can be found.
  6. If the client finds the FAQ and the question isn't in the FAQ, insist that it is.
  7. If the client can prove that the question isn't in the FAQ, insist that wasn't the question you were asked in the first place.
  8. Keep the amount of time you spend answering tech support questions to a minimum. Short, evasive answers are always better than long, accurate ones.
  9. Do not ever reveal that there are things you do not know. Do not seek help with a client's problem from other tech support staffers or engineers. If you cannot answer a question, see Rule 16.
  10. Tell the client that you can't answer the question because you don't have all the necessary information. Tell them to look in the FAQ for the information they need to provide.
  11. If the client provides all the necessary information, write back (being careful not to include a copy of the clients message) and tell the client that you cannot answer the question because he/she didn't provide the requested information.
  12. If a client cannot understand what you are saying, don't rephrase it or try to figure out where the misunderstanding is coming from.
  13. If the client shows signs of frustration, tell them that they are being rude. Hang up immediately.
  14. Tell the client that you are not allowed to assist with that sort of problem.
  15. Tell the client that you answer a million calls every day and you don't have time to investigate the problem.
  16. When all else fails, simply don't give an answer.

Rules for Meaningful Tech Support

  1. Listen carefully.
  2. Ask questions.
  3. Give an accurate answer.

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This page written by Joel GAzis-SAx
Copyright 1999 by Joel GAzis-SAx
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