I should really start this post off as a question – how do you maintain your zen while on tech support calls?!
Jk jk. I do have some tips to offer.
In this highly electronic, internet-based, technology-dependent world we find ourselves in, I bet everyone has had to call a tech support line at some point, right? And, I would bet my LIFE SAVINGS that the majority of us have had a frustrating experience on at least one of these calls.
Let’s be real: it’s really not an enjoyable experience most of the time (if you’ve ever had a truly phenomenal experience I would love to hear about it and know which company you were dealing with – I would honestly transfer my business to them based on the fact that they actually offer outstanding support).
A project I’ve been working on for one of my consulting clients the last month has required a fair amount of time spent calling various support lines to troubleshoot what has felt like non-stop roadblocks, so I am writing this fresh off HOURS (unfortunately) of experience dialling in for support.
I’ve been on hold for 2+ hours before I ever got to speak to an actual human being and not a recording. Only to have my call get cut off after all that time and for them to not call me back – even though they specifically asked for my # so they could call me back if we got cut off (this happened to me multiple times). I’ve been bounced from one employee to another, and another, and another and another… endlessly. I’ve re-told my story and explained my tech issues over and over to each of these people, starting from scratch every time. I’ve heard more often than I can even believe, “I’ve never seen anything like this before”, “I don’t understand why X is doing Y it shouldn’t be” (with no solutions to offer), and “It’s not us, it’s them” aka it’s not our app, it’s your wireless connection and then magically, vice versa, it’s not your wireless connection, it’s their app. I’ve called in enough times that I know the call centre employees’ script off by heart.
I’ve had people hang up on me, close down chat boxes while I was typing another question, promise to call me back ‘right away’ and never call, and tell me “This is happening as a result of a mistake on our end, but to fix it we’re going to need to charge you $150”.
All this to say that I’ve had my share of experience in this realm lately.
I’m absolutely not going to pretend that I’ve handled it all gracefully… I am going to go ahead and blame that on the sheer volume of calls I’ve had to make in a short period of time. I’d say for the first 5 hours of interactions with various support lines I was a 10/10 for maintaining my zen. The next 5 hours were not so pretty.
Full disclosure: I finally cracked this morning and was totally yelling at the top of my lungs after being bounced from one support area to another for 3 hours. Not my finest moment.
I’m going to go ahead and blame that on the cumulative frustration of so many calls and disappointing customer service experiences and the fact that I am so far from being perfect!
So, here are my tips for how to maintain your zen while on tech support calls:
(Disclaimer: may not be effective if more than 5 hours of calls are made within a 1 week period)
1.Remember that the person on the other end of the line is a human being, too.
Honestly you guys, I was so frustrated this morning on my last tech support call that I ended up screaming… but as yucky as being so frustrated felt, what was even yuckier was the YUCKINESS of yelling at another person and passing that bad energy back and forth. I always remind myself that whomever I am speaking to is just another person trying to do their job. And it CANNOT be an easy job – I’m sure it’s awful. You’re basically only interacting with people when they’re having a problem aka when they are likely frustrated, stressed out and not at their best. It was that person’s bad luck this morning that they were the 5th person I was explaining my situation to after hours of phone calls and I lost my cool.
I truly do my best to be courteous, patient and imagine how I would feel if someone was getting upset at me for something that may be out of my control.
2. Breathe. Breathe, breathe, breathe!
When you feel frustration building, bite your tongue and breathe deeply.
3. Snacks! Water!
If you have to be on the phone for hours, you might as well stay hydrated and definitely don’t let yourself get hangry, that is not going to help things. Get up and walk around too, move your energy, smudge your space, open a window and get some fresh air flowing!
4. Get the important info out right off the bat.
Skip the back and forth and start the call with your full name, account number / identification, and the best phone number they can reach you at in the event that you get cut off (hopefully they will actually call you back). Also, ask for their name and a reference / support ticket number to try and save yourself from having to explain yourself over and over if you end up speaking to someone new later on.
That’s all I’ve got! I’d love to hear your tips for maintaining your zen on support calls. Clearly, I could use more strategies :p