PC Technician's Guide to Providing Telephone Support
Many PC Technician's support a customer service or support desk where they receive
calls for support from customers. Troubleshooting PC problems over a telephone is
a difficult task because you don't have the customer's computer screen in front of
you and you have to rely on the customer to operate the keyboard and mouse. This
requires excellent communication skills and lots of patience.
1. The first thing you should do when you pickup the telephone is to identify your
organization and yourself. When I worked for Motorola, every time the phone rang
I picked it up and immediately stated; "Motorola - Steve Bucaro speaking". I don't
understand why many people answer a telephone with silence, leaving the caller
wondering if they reached the correct number or if the call even got through.
2. Hopefully, the caller will also identify them self before blurting out their
problem, but don't be surprised if the first thing they say is something like
"my computer won't boot ...". Then you must inform them that before you can get
into their problem you need certain information for your support form. Ask for and
record their name, telephone number, and the organization they represent.
3. Before getting into their problem, determine how they'll pay for this support
call. You should be familiar with your company's service policies. You might
require them to supply a product license, warranty, or service plan number. If
they'll be charged for the call, be absolutely sure that they understand how
the charge will be billed, by incident or by hourly rate.
4. Then ask the customer to describe the problem. Get the history of the problem,
when did the problem first occurred? What changes were made just previous to the
appearance of the problem? Take notes about what the customer says and what you
instruct the customer do. Create a written or electronic record of the service session.
Don't forget to check the basics like cable connections and configuration settings.
As you're working with the customer, look for clues about the customer's technical
ability. This will help you decide how technical you can be when working with the customer.
If the customer has little computer knowledge, explain everything you want to
them to do in simple detail. Avoid using computer jargon and technical language.
Follow along on your computer and repeatedly ask the customer what they see
on their computer screen to verify that they've done it correctly. Don't ask the
customer to something, without having a backup, that might cause damage to the
computer if not done properly.
• At some point you may determine that the customer is just not
knowledgeable enough to work with you to solve the problem over the telephone. Then
you need to tactfully inquire if a person more knowledgeable about computers is
available to help them, or if they'll need an on-site service call.
Sometimes a customer wants to show off their computer knowledge. They may try
to take charge of the call and start trying things with out letting you know
what they're doing. Sometimes they withhold information about the problem to cover
up mistakes they've made that caused the problem. Slow the customer down by
telling them that you need to use a step-by-step troubleshooting procedure
and document everything as you go along.
• When you ask a show off to perform a certain task, they may inform
you that they've already tried that. Ask them if they could do it again along with
you so that you can follow your procedure and record it in your incident report.