4 Tips for Dealing with Tech Support

  1. Make sure that you write down your ticket number and document who you talked to
  2. Understand that they may know about their product, but not how their product works with other products
  3. Recognize that it will take much longer than you expect
  4. If at first you don’t succeed, you will likely have to try again

See my experience below.

Last week, I had three tech support experiences.  I worked with AT&T, my small web company, and Apple.  I was not really sure what to expect.  With AT&T, since it is basically the combination of SW Bell and Bell South,   was skeptical.  My small web site company, I had dealt with in the past.  They are normally pretty responsive.  Apple, I had heard was very good.

First, I had AT&T.  I was trying to get a high speed modem installed.  I pulled out the CD, and within about 10 minutes, it was clear that self install, was not going to be without help.   I called the number and got India.  Rarely a good thing.  However, my tech support guy Sam (wonder what his real name is) was very good.  He walked me through setting up the modem and then setting up the router.  When the call was dropped, he actually called back.   Wow, I was impressed.  It took an hour and half, but it worked.

Then, I called my local website person.  Now this is a company that I am paying $27 per month for web hosting.  I do it because their support is normally first rate.  I wanted to really understand the choices and options between Pop email and iMap.   I had gone to the adin area and seen the options.  However, with an iPhone, I didn’t know which one would serve me best.  After some reasonable discussion, neither did the tech support person.   I had stretched her beyond her level of knowledge.  I came to the conclusion that just because they offer it, it does not mean they understand it.

Lastly, I came upon Apple support.  I had downloaded a user manual for the iPhone and had found it hard to find anything.  I had a question that seemed simple to me. “ How to put videos on to the iPhone.”  The Apple experience was pretty strange.  First, the tech support person explained to me that the iTunes icon on my iPhone, had nothing to do with iTunes on my computer.    If I wanted to put videos on my iPhone, I had to use the iPod feature.  Then, I was asking how to put things into iTunes on my PC.  I was getting an error message.  When the tech support person researched the error, it seemed like all he did was go into Google and try to find and answer..  After a while, I think he gave up and just disconnected me.

Then, I had to go back through Apple support, get escalated to a product specialist, and had to spend at least an hour with her.  While she was available, we worked really hard to discover that iTunes took certain formats, and if you can’t get to those formats, then it won’t work.  The tech support person suggested some ideas, but had no solutions.

In conclusion, to my surprise,  AT&T ranked best, then my local website company, then Apple.  That being said, they all tried, but my recommendation, to anyone when using tech support is… use the rule of 3.  Everything will take 3 times longer, and be 3 times more complex.

P.S.  I am surprised for as long as the iPhone has been around, for the most part tech support, even Apple is pretty ignorant.

P.P.S.  I had another run with AT&T since the network when down 3 days later.  The support was very good, but it was too bad it happened.  This time I went from Nevada to Texas to Chicago.

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2 Responses to “4 Tips for Dealing with Tech Support”

  1. Patrick (G) Says:

    hmm,
    asking technical support about the difference between POP and IMAP is akin to going to an auto parts store and asking about the difference between synthetic and conventional oil.
    Any discussion about the difference beyond the superficial is likely to be (a) above their pay grade and (b) inconsequential to you.

    As for your Apple Tech Support adventure. Your question is not nearly as straightforward as it seems. Are you talking about videos on VHS tapes, camcorder tapes, DVDs, from a digital camera, already in a computer format (if so which?), or web videos from, say, Youtube?

    Itunes (on the computer) will understand how to handle a subset of all possible video formats, but that’s not really it’s main job. You can get other software that can convert to-and-from more video formats – and most of that software have options that make generating Ipod-ready video relatively straightforward. If your video is coming from DVDs, you might need to circumvent the so-called copy-protection measures. For video tapes you will likely need a hardware device and video-editing software (sometimes sold together) in order to connect your VCR to a computer so you can capture the video.

  2. Suggestions on how to deal with Tech Support « Chicago Mac/PC Support Says:

    […] on how to deal with Tech Support He makes some great points.  Click here to […]


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