Well, it finally happened. Your computer has issues and it's time to call for help.
It happens to every computer user eventually - that dreaded call to tech support. This week, I will share some tips that can make that inevitable call to tech support go smoothly.
The first question that you have to ask yourself is: "Who are you going to call?" That answer depends on the issues you are having.
For instance, if you are having Internet connection issues, you may want to call your Internet provider (AT&T, Comcast, Road Runner, or whoever you are using to connect to the Internet).
If you are having hardware issues, such as problems accessing a printer or other device, you may need to contact support for that device.
For problems with your operating system (Windows won't load, etc.), a call to Microsoft's tech support may be in order.
If you are having problems with the computer itself (getting errors or beep codes as soon as you turn it on), you may want to call the manufacturer of the computer.
That's a lot of decisions to make even before making the call, but you need to be clear about the nature of the problem. Answering these questions beforehand will help clarify your issues before you make the call.
Also, don't forget the warranty.
Some devices may carry warranties that last years. It would be frustrating to fix or replace a device only to find out you could have had it fixed under warranty.
Once you're clear on whom to call and why, sit in front of the computer when you make the call. There is little that any phone support technician can do for you if you are not sitting in front of the machine. You have to be his "eyes and ears" so make sure that when you call for help, you are at your computer.
After spending some time on hold, (nothing I can help with there) you will finally get someone on the line. Remember: This person is new to your issue and has no idea what you have or have not tried yet. He's going to ask you questions and perhaps have you click some things.
Even if he is having you click something you have already clicked, comments such as, "I already tried that," don't help. He hasn't tried anything yet and needs to start somewhere.
Also keep in mind that even if your tech support person has a thick accent, he probably does this type of thing 40 hours a week and knows exactly what he's looking for.
When he asks you to click something and you don't immediately see it, don't instantly reply with, "I don't have that." Do a thorough scan of all of the icons in whatever screen you are looking in and make sure. Nine times out of 10, you'll find it.
Follow the directions the support person gives you, and try not to get distracted by all the other stuff that will pop up on the way. Stay focused on his or her instructions and you'll usually get through most issues quickly and without too much frustration.
Hopefully, you won't have to make that call, but when you do, having as much information in front of you will help. Things such as any specific error messages that may be popping up, what you were doing when the problem occurred and so on. This information is invaluable to the tech support person on the other end of the phone.
If you have a "quick question," that's great. Just remember that 99 percent of all tech support calls are just quick questions. It's the answer that can drag on for hours.
So, how did I come up with this week's subject matter?
Well, I've been doing remote computer support over the phone for more than 15 years and often spend up to 40 hours a week on the phone helping people walk through their computer issues. I still fix computers and over the years I found that the calls that go quickest are the ones where the caller is at least a little prepared, in front of the computer when they call and follow my instructions precisely without getting distracted along the way.
Sean McCarthy fixes computers. He can be reached at (888) 752-9049 or help@ComputeThisOnline.com (no hyphens).