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customers being ignored at a help deskHaving to contact customer service can suck. But customers can make this experience easier on themselves! Take it from the folks who are manning the service lines: these rules will help ensure you get your issues answered quickly and accurately.

0. Check the company FAQ/knowledgebase/help guide

Do you really want to wait for your issue to get solved? No, you want it solved now. Most companies have put many hours into their documentation, so take a glance at it and see if you can’t find an immediate answer. It’s less obnoxious than sitting on the phone with them.

1. Explain your issue in as much detail as possible

It may seem obvious to you what’s going on, but the person helping you may deal with many different issues per day. Walk through exactly what you did, what happened, and what you wanted to happen instead.

2. Include all pertinent data

Especially with the web, there are so many different things that can affect a product. Give your support rep full context: what system you’re on, what browser, what version of their product you’re using, what your account number is, etc…any information that they might need. Again, you’re saving yourself time in the end here.

3. Include a screenshot if possible

If you’re dealing with an online product, try to include a screenshot of the issue you’re seeing. Humans are very visual, and sometimes a screenshot can jog your rep’s memory and lead them directly to the problem and solution.


coffee cup in cd drive

4. Make your level of expertise clear

Customer support reps deal with a wide range of people each day, from Mensa members to folks who are using their CD drive as a cupholder. They will often assume the worst of you, so make it clear how much you know. Are you a beginning, intermediate, or advanced user of their product? Have you tried troubleshooting and reading their help guides, or did you contact them the moment you experienced an issue? All of this will help them give you better suggestions.

5. Be nice!

It’s incredibly frustrating to have something stop working, and many companies have terrible customer service. Try to take a deep breath and be nice, and you’ll probably get better support.

Tried all of the above and still getting a frustrating experience? Then it’s very possible the company you’re speaking to simply gives terrible customer support. Complain to the manager, write a negative review online, or tell them to start reading this blog!


Help photo courtesy of Rupert Ganzer.

Cartoon courtesy of Francisco Martinez.
Photo courtesy of voteprime.

Evan Hamilton

About Evan Hamilton