Shall we contact Tech Support?

Why do we need tech support?

There are dozens of specialized forums, online documentation pages, how to and “mini” how to articles, all-knowing contacts and search engines out there. Why then would a company or an end-user need to pay technical support to a vendor? Customers can do some reading and research a little and know anything about everything.

It’s about time…

Let’s start with time and its value. No matter how acquainted you are with forums and search results, you will never be as fast as a tech support engineer who instantly connects an error message to a solution. Most of the issues users run into are known to them (they’ve seen it many times before or, if it is a critical new incident, a few dozens emails from people in another time zone have already given them details).

...and correctness

You are also guaranteed you get the latest reply for each question you might ask. Forums, third party or maintained by the company, can have the next best reply or they can be old generation already. Moreover, testers and developers who are always the best source of information are within reach. Thus it would be wise to keep the email address and phone number of the technical support department close by. When it comes to installing, configuring and troubleshooting their product, no one can help you faster than those doing these very same actions each day, every day.

When do we need it?

There are three main types of situations in which you should contact technical supporters:

Installation and Configuration

Firstly, support is needed when installing and configuring the product. Issues that occur during this first stage of product use should always be considered of critical importance. An incorrect setting inherited from the default configuration, can lead to subsequent errors that could easily be overcome by dropping an email asking for technical assistance.

You are probably not under time pressure when installing programs, but the quantity of research that has to be done without benefiting from specialized help might be a little bit too much.

Functionality issues

The second situation is represented by functionality issues that might occur. When a program does not start or your computer freezes and crashes, you need assistance fast. Few people, in such cases, would rely on hours of online research, when the troubleshooting method is a simple routine for technical support representatives. They usually know all type of errors, incompatibilities or other incidents that might occur. In this case, an email stating the product version, the encountered error and some more details about your system are usually enough.

Unexpected events

In such cases, quite rare, tech support is the only department able to help you. As the situation is relatively new, forums and friends will never have the information you need. Moreover, the faster you contact them, the faster they can have testers and developers working on a solution. You would probably look for a technical support program that works around the clock and has an average response time that suites your needs.

What to choose from?

The most common support channels are email, chat or phone based. To choose from these, you should take into account the response time. If it is a minor issue that you do not want solved right away due to lack of time or other reasons, you can choose to send an email and check the instructions sent as a reply at a later time.

If you need the issue solved faster, the right choice is to call the support number or contact them through a chat window. If solving your incident requires further logs, files or tools being transferred, then you will probably continue the troubleshooting via email.

Stay local or go global?

Most companies that sell their products all over the world offer two types of support: assistance provided by the company’s headquarters and support provided locally, through partners or local offices.

Contacting the local support office has its benefits, as it can be faster, cheaper (if you pay for the phone call you make, for example) and is usually provided in the local language. However, if the product is in a different language or the user is foreign, they might turn into disadvantages as translation mistakes can occur. Moreover, support lines might not be available round the clock locally, as they are usually limited to office hours. Another impediment may be the support level: local offices usually offer basic support and their personnel are not as experienced as the headquarters’ technical staff.

The main support office, established at the company’s headquarters, offers the largest number of experts. These representatives also provide the fastest solution, as they are in direct contact with the testing and developing teams. Companies usually provide headquarters support services 24/7 on all channels they offer (mail, phone, etc). However, limited language coverage can be an impediment.

What to ask of a techie?

Usually, customers cannot choose their supporter (unless their support package includes a dedicated expert or group of experts). However, all supporters in direct contact with the company’s customers should have some very important skills. First of all, the technical part should never be a blur for them. But apart from being experienced in dealing with the technical aspect of the issue, they also need soft skills related to being a customer support professional: they should be able to empathize with the customer, they should be fast, but accurate and they should be patient and adapt their speech in order to be easily understood.

Is there something I should do?

Most of the times, the customer’s attitude can speed up the solution. It is important to be focused on solving the issue and to be open to providing what is asked of you. Here are a few tips to get what you want faster:
  • Provide all product logs and or/operating system logs if required. Most users are reluctant when it comes to providing reports and data about their system and installed application. However, such data are always used only for testing/troubleshooting purposes and are never made public
  • Be precise about the issue: when it occurred, how many times, were there other applications running;
  • Be in front of the computer in question or close to it. If you receive an instant solution, you should be able to test it. If it is not the right one, you can then get and test a second one just as fast.
Regardless of the situation, you should also keep in mind that the technical support person is there to help you. Their assistance is a benefit, but often one that you have paid for (separately or as part of the product price). Therefore, if any answer is unclear or too technical, feel free to ask for more details or further assistance.

At AXIGEN, we aim to offer the best possible technical assistance to all our users. Therefore the AXIGEN Technical Support Program is offered for all AXIGEN products not only after purchase, but also while trialing and testing the product. We offer several support programs, designed for each type of customer. For more information on the support program, please read this article available on our site.