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Secrets of Calling Tech Support

Ok, show of hands, how many of you like calling one of those 1-800 tech support numbers? That’s what I thought.

Well, I have some secrets that will get you farther faster with those guys:

1. Make sure you are calling the right number. Sometimes a company will want to force you to use email or some online form to turn in a problem. Finding numbers can be tough, though. Make sure you bookmark the website, It gives you tricks to talking to a person and avoid the automated voice menu systems of large companies, not to mention the actual phone numbers of their support group.

2. If you start to get frustrated with a tech, ask this one question: “What would you do if you were me?” You will be amazed how much faster you find a solution. Trust me…

3. Understand the math. The productivity of most telephone support staff are measured by the number of daily calls they take. Typically, “success” is measured at about 70. If you factor in lunch and breaks, the only way these employees can make their goal is to limit their calls to around 6.5 minutes each! In other words, get to the point or they will start trying to get rid of you.

4. Level One Tech Support will rarely solve the problem. They are typically NOT trained, except to guide you through a few scripted solutions to most problems. In fact, very few of these people have ANY kind of technical background. If you realize the person you are talking to is unable to help, ask for a level two tech.

5. If the person on the other end of the phone has very poor English skills, you can always ask for a native speaker. Believe it or not, most companies, even the foreign firms, have a level of tech support manned by higher-paid English speakers.

The best advice I can give, however, is this: These people are human with real lives and lots of stress at work. I know you are frustrated at whatever is causing your tech issue, but don’t take it out on the minimum-wage-earning person on the other end of the phone. They just want to help you and get to the next call….

I welcome your comments below!


Eric Spellmann continues to be one of the highest rated speakers at our national America’s SBDC conferences. His unique view that small business websites should “do” something pushes against the standard “online pamphlet” view of most web design companies. He believes your customer’s websites should be driving qualified leads and sales on a weekly basis. Eric speaks at a number of other national and state conferences nationwide, but enjoys running one of the most successful web design companies in the country. He truly believes in the SBDC mission as it helped him start his own company many years ago. To contact him, visit his website at

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