Be nice to the tech support

August 14, 2007 10:54 PM

A Mac workstation

intuitives @ stock.xchng

Imagine this situation … you fall down in public and you couldn’t get up. You yell at the random stranger next to you to help you get up. The stranger helps you up and you yell at them for not helping you quicker. When the stranger tries to explain to you why you fell down in the first place, you feel insulted and yell at them some more. “I know how to WALK!”

It doesn’t seem very right, does it? Now imagine this happening more than a few times to a tech support person on a daily basis. I have dealt with irate customers but I don’t work in a call centre so the angry calls are thankfully few and far in between. Though I can tell you that if a customer started yelling at me on the phone, I’d immediately be in a defensive mode and tense up.

All of us have to call up companies from time to time to verify a problem or to lodge a complaint. It would make things easier if you didn’t call up wanting to unleash your anger on the poor soul who happened to pick up your call. Especially if the unlucky person had already dealt with more than a few angry calls that day. If you were polite and friendly, you’d be a refreshing change for them and they’d be more than happy to help you out. And when they’ve finished their job, say “thank you” – it doesn’t take much to brighten up someone’s day.

Or at the very least, you shouldn’t make the support person feel depressed and want to cry.

I’ve been a waiter and it has some similarities with providing tech support. Therefore I feel justified in what I’m about to say. Yes you are right, the person on the phone, or the people bringing food to your table are paid to be of service to you but that doesn’t give you the right to be rude to them especially when it’s something beyond their control. Even if it’s their fault, yelling at them and making a scene will only make it worse.

And so, a corollary to the “being nice to your tech support” rule is, “don’t f*ck with the person handling your food”. Go rent “Waiting” and you’d understand that line perfectly. 😈

15 thoughts on “Be nice to the tech support

  1. sourrain

    yeah but sometimes you cannot help it!


    1) the person on the phone speaks incomprehensible english

    2) unsolicicated sales/research calls

    3) tech support answering questions with ‘I don’t know’ and the tone of ‘I don’t care’

    4) and seriously, if companies like streamyx makes you wait for 1 hour on the line, its really just winding customers up to scold their poor staff! Solution? Do not work for them.

    But I will not ever be rude to waiters until my food’s served – harhar. I never return to places where waitpersons are rude – and I make sure not to tip horrible service. Which alot of people do out of obligation, encouraging horrible service

    I think im out of topic already..

    edited: Oh, and screaming at call centre people? I once stood in the middle of a field; 3 hours away from home and I had to report that I’ve lost my credit card. And the person on the other end had the nerve to insist that I give them my card number (now that I’ve lost it?)

    When I reexplained where I am, she told me that I can get my account number from my checkbook. Now,why would I want to bring a checkbook with me to a field?And if my bag was stolen, one would assume everything inside is GONE.

    So I exploded, and I had every right to. I knew how the system was like (heck, I audited that very function of that very bank before!) and I told her how she could get my information from the screen in front of her.

    And seriously, sometimes I feel that the people on the phone are just plain lazy and will not go the extra mile.

  2. TenthOfMarch

    I sent a camera to Sony for repairs a few months ago. I need it urgently and I told them that. When they were late, I had to make an effort to call them. Since they communicate with different departments using only email, I had to make a few phone calls before I get to the right department I wanted.

    The lady who answered the call sounded like she had a really bad day or something. The tone and attitude she used to talk to me was really bad. I tolerated for a while but she went overboard and I requested she pass the phone to her manager or someone because I wanted to complaint about her. That’s when she started to be nice. No complaints were made and my camera got back on time.

  3. blur ting

    Falling down and getting help… That’s a good analogy. I never thought of it that way.

    Yah, support team and service are all about people. Sometimes you meet the good ones other times you get the bad ones. Mostly the hotlines take forever to get through and by the time you do, you’re quite pissed off. But really, it may be due to the company’s inefficiency, yet we tend to lash out on the people.

  4. girlstar7

    I try to be nice to tech support people etc. cause I knwo they are just doing their job. However, I get VERY frustrated when I’m put on hold for long periods of time, which unfortunately means sometimes takign this frustration out on the poor tech support people! I know it’s bad, but it can be sooo frustrating when you’ve got things to do to sit there on hold forver and a day…

  5. mooiness Post author

    sourrain: ok you have a bad history with call centres. Some times it’s the fault of the company who want to cut costs: little training, hiring at lower wages, inadequate resources/staff. And call centre workers can choose not to work at a particular company, but not everyone has the luxury to be able to change jobs just like that.

    herman: too right.

    10/3: that is the right thing to do – if the person is rude or unhelpful, push it up the channel and ask for her supervisor. No point getting pissed off.

    blur ting: yeah – read the link I gave above about making a call centre person cry. If the company chooses to have too little ppl working, the fault is sometimes hard to place.

    girlstar7: the link I’ve given above explains it. The poor person could be overworked and stressed out all because the company chooses to lower costs by having less ppl on staff.

  6. sourrain

    I must reiterate that call centre & tech support in the States is superb. I returned a palm pilot & a laptop to two different companies, and a refund (brand new palm & laptop) was delivered within 2 weeks.No questions ask, all delivery charges covered by them.

    In the same note,after returning to KL, I could barely tolerate the level of service that was being dished out there.For about a year I could not return to restaurants(as in restaurants rather than hawkers & kopitiam) where good service was just expected. And the worst part about restaurants in KL? The people that run it do not care shit about service – when I complain or make suggestions to the managers they have a blank get-the-hell-out look on their face.

  7. mooiness Post author

    sourrain: I really do wonder about places that give bad service – why do they have this misconceived idea that we are privileged to be served by them, and hence we should be thankful for whatever crap they dish out to us?

  8. Indra

    when I first read the post, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve worked as a pizza boy before and yea, I have been word-abused before 😛 wasn’t a pleasant experience


    after reading some of the comments, there are actually some good points as well

    so in the end, I guess its up to both parties. For customer, try to be nice whenever you call a tech support.

    for tech support, I know this is easier to be said than done, but yea, try your best to answer every call with your best attitude 🙂


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