Written by Beth Downey

Let’s face it, nobody wants to call tech support. NOBODY. The mere thought of it used to crank my anxiety up to eleven. After years of managing other people’s web properties, I’ve gotten fairly comfortable with speaking with the folks on the other end of the line or chat window. Over time I’ve gotten pretty damn good at it, and here’s how:


Treat the Person like a Person from the Start

With the advent of the internet and the immersion of electronic devices into our daily lives throughout the last 25 years, we’ve gotten accustomed to automation, chat windows, phone trees and robotic voices on the other ends of the phone lines or other communication devices. But when we’re interfacing with a man or woman who answers calls all day on behalf of a tech entity, we can forget that there’s a living breathing human on the receiving end.

Here’s an example of how I begin a support call:

Support: “Hello, thanks for calling [tech support for XYZ hosting]. This is Michael, How can I help you?”

Me: “Hi Michael, this is Beth – I’m the web developer for myclientswebsitename.com. I’ve got a client with some issues and I’m hoping you can help me out.”

By addressing this person by name, I’ve already let them know that I’m paying attention. I don’t launch into my problem in the first sentence. I tell them I’m acting on behalf of a customer and let them know I’m trusting him/her with getting me to a solution.


Get to the Point

Nobody has time to share and care. They know you have an issue you can’t solve alone, otherwise you’d have solved the problem yourself.

This is an actual issue I’ve addressed in a tech support chat with a hosting company:

“Here’s my dilemma: my client says he set up the SSL certificate, but I’m not seeing it as active. And the previous support person directed me to a URL with instructions that don’t seem to correlate to the actual place I’m supposed to take the steps to correct this. Can you direct me to the right place and walk me through the process?”

The awesome support guy then apologized, said they didn’t use CPanel as such for the level of hosting my client had in place and took the time to walk me though the proper steps to implement the SSL certificate I was seeking.


Use Your Manners

It’s okay to be frustrated; It’s not okay to take it out on another person. When I’m frustrated, I say something like this:

“I have to admit, I’m really kind of frustrated here. I tried to do X, but that didn’t work. Then I tried Y. Is there something I’m missing here?” 

Rather than launching in with “Your product sucks and I’m pissed,” you’ll allow the tech folks to have empathy/sympathy for you. They’ll want to help, I guarantee, because each and every time I’ve calmly explained I’ve tried to solve my own problem while encountering frustration, I’ve gotten superior service.

And when the person with support offers to implement a process for you and they need your approval, or they simply ask “Can I put you on hold?,” say “Yes, please.”


Nobody wants to deal with tech support, neither you nor I, not even the person answering the call. You’ll set yourself apart from 90% of the customers they talk to every day if you treat him or her like a person, get to the point and use your manners.