How to Communicate Successfully with Tech Support

Many Stenograph customers enjoy speaking with our Technical Support reps; they know that any rep they speak to will be able to quickly and efficiently resolve whatever problem they’re having. However, some people dread calling Tech Support; they anticipate being frustrated and misunderstood, and they don’t necessarily believe that the support rep they speak to will be able to help them. Why do people have such different experiences when both groups are speaking with the same Technical Support reps?

Typically, when most people pick up the phone to call tech support, they are experiencing a certain amount of stress and anxiety, which can make it more difficult for them to communicate clearly. They are focused on the result of the problem – being unable to get work done – rather than on communicating and thus solving the problem.

For example, one common issue is that someone may not use or know the correct terminology for the hardware, operating system, or software functions and actions they’re trying to describe, and using incorrect words can accidentally mislead the tech support rep. For example, someone might call and say, “my realtime macro isn’t working,” and then it turns out they were not using a macro at all; they were using a different type of realtime shortcut, such as an auto include or a Live Suggestion. Or, someone may question how to “download” or “upload” a file when what they need to do is “back up” or “restore.” This type of miscommunication makes it more difficult and time consuming for a tech support rep to provide you with the help you need, and more frustrating for you as you perceive yourself not being helped!

One solution for communication issues that Tech Support reps will often use is a program called “GoToAssist,” which enables the rep to share your computer screen and, with your permission, access your cursor and navigate through your system so they can see what you’re trying to describe.

Another way to improve communication is to follow these guidelines that will make your experience with Tech Support faster, easier, and much more satisfactory:

► Before you call, take a moment to write down (or type out) what problem you’re trying to solve. The act of putting it into words before you call should make it much easier to communicate accurately when you are speaking to the tech support rep.

► If the tech support rep asks you a question or uses a different term, or provides a response that you don’t understand, please ask for clarification or for more information. Don’t worry about “looking smart” or “sounding stupid” – the rep can’t intuit that you need additional assistance unless you tell them. There’s no need to apologize, and no assignment of blame when you’re asking for help. Just tell the rep what the situation is, and they will do their best to resolve the issue.

► I commonly hear and read the statement, “Someone else must have had this same problem.” That’s quite possible. However, if the tech support rep does not immediately understand your description of the problem, it doesn’t mean that no one else has ever reported it or that the tech support rep doesn’t know how to solve it. It simply means that the tech support rep is unfamiliar with your description. Perhaps the rep just hasn’t heard the issue described in the way you’re describing it. And of course, it is possible that you’re the first to experience an issue!

► The most important factor of a successful support call is patience. Unless the question is simple and straightforward, and the rep has heard the same or similar description before, the solution probably won’t be provided instantly. Just as your doctor needs to understand your symptoms and diagnose an illness before suggesting treatment, a tech support rep needs to troubleshoot and eliminate a variety of possible factors and causes until the source of the issue is identified and can be resolved.

Stenograph Technical Support can be reached at (800) 323-4247.

Cindi Lynch is the Training Program Manager at Stenograph. She can be reached at clynch@stenograph.com.

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