When my clients have me come in to solve a problem for them, it frequently involves calling technical support or customer service. People HATE calling and ending up in the on-hold limbo. I am an expert at these kinds of calls. Let me give you some tips on how to turn a painful situation into a productive endeavor.
- Make sure you have AT LEAST a half hour of uninterrupted time to devote to waiting plus the time it takes to solve the problem.
- Wear a headset so that you can continue to type and work while you are on hold. This really makes the time fly. If they offer you the option to hold with no music, you don’t need me to tell you to take advantage of that. I frequently forget that I’m on hold until I hear someone say hello in my ear. Surprisingly, you can get a lot done while forgetting what’s really going on.
- Have all of your notes out and ready to go. If possible, write down the issues/problems/questions to speed up the process and make sure you don’t forget anything. This also prevents further calls.
- On that same note, have yourself logged into the website or account. Not having your password available is the biggest sucker of time. Get it out BEFORE you call.
- If you are upset while making the call, remember that the person that answers is likely not the person who made a mistake (if that’s why you’re calling) and try not to take it out on them. If need be, let them know you are upset and that you don’t want to unload on the wrong person and it would be a good idea if they sent you along to a manager.
- Let’s say there are some basic steps you’ve already taken to try and solve your problem but they didn’t work. Inform the customer service agent of those steps and what the outcome is. I’ve saved hours by letting them know, “YES, the computer is plugged in.” (80% of the time the problem is solved at the power source i.e. plug it in!).
- Contact the vendor using social media.
Number 7 is magic, I’m telling you. Have you tried to find a phone number to contact customer service recently? They are burying that information (or simply not providing it at all) because it isn’t cost effective to have reps on the line with customers anymore. Heck, it was never cost effective but it’s REALLY not anymore.
Don’t believe me? Test it out for yourself. I’ve tested Paypal, Vertical Response, Hootsuite, Comcast and Involver to name a few. Yes, they are all involved in technology but did you hear about airlines booking flights for people via Twitter during the recent snowstorms on the East Coast? Every time I’ve asked for help or complained via Twitter (and Facebook for that matter), I’ve had a speedy response from customer service that helped me solve my problem. I also feel like I got better service than via phone. I think it’s because of the layers we have to work through to even reach a person makes me feel distanced from the individual that’s helping me. With social media, that distance is minimized. If you have an Xbox, you might want to reach out to Microsoft on Twitter as they are monitoring activity to make platform and technology changes.
Be prepared, reach out in multiple ways, and you can slay the beast that is technical support. Oh! And they can hear you when they turn off their microphone, so don’t talk smack.
I absolutely love the new internet. There I said it. I love the design asthetic, the rounded buttons and the three dimensional depth. All the sexy colors and no more Flash intros! Augmented reality and QR codes are already in your local stores. I really like being able to socialize without having to get dolled up. I can stalk people and keep tabs on the friends that I feel guilty about not spending more time with. I can be a voyeur and stare at others without running the risk of them noticing (not like in public). I own my own business and run it from the office in my bedroom. I have ecommerce and HTML on my website without having paid a dime to a developer or designer. I can accept payments via credit card without a traditional credit card terminal. I have a fax number but don’t have a physical machine. I can shoot video or audio, edit, upload and broadcast without a studio. Use freemium open sources software to schedule, create documents, and run my sites. My conference room is the locally owned coffeeshop with great wifi. And don’t get me started on my palmtop computer (other people call it a smartphone). I didn’t need a laptop until I started professionally speaking. I only bought it so that I could bring my own gear to events loaded and ready to go for my presentations. I don’t NEED a laptop. My trusty iMac and iPhone have done me wonders. I have an iPad but mine fits in my pocket.
Cable TV? What’s that? My inexpensive (I mean REALLY inexpensive) laptop is a glorified DVD player and is treated as such. Step 1 Netflix + Hulu = all the TV I need. All I need now is the cord to hook it up to my lonely and huge flatscreen TV. Since regular cable went away, it doesn’t get used that much. Sometimes it becomes the stereo (iPhone + Pandora + cord + TV = a big dance party). I invested in some standard equipment and pay a decent monthly rate for my broadband modem. Though I might just explode if the digital transfer and modem speeds were to match up to other advanced countries. My point in all this is look at how much one can do with limited resources. I’m wondering when people will figure out that we are doing so much MORE with less. I know that those overbuilt commercial buildings will remain empty. Why? Because if I can run my creative empire from a coffeeshop or my kitchen table, why would I go back to the old model? Mumbling, grumbling, change, lack of privacy, bah humbug. Did I mention how awesome Google and IMDB (Internet Movie Database) are at settling bets? My life + the internet, it only gets sweeter.