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Tech Support Here’s a Thought

TECH SUPPORT. HERE’S A THOUGHT

You’ve done your research and found that hot item to make your friends jealous. Of course you read the user reviews on it. Right? Since that would be one of the best ways to discover any flaws in a product or company policy. [Like no refunds or exchange for exact item only.] Even a web search for blogs and forums may seem like a lot of trouble but could save you a fortune in Tylenol.

Tech Republic is one example. Once you’re registered and submitted your query, it will automatically email you once a response has been given or there is new information relating to your subject. There are actually some fairly high tech professional and knowledgeable people there sharing their time and know how. These sites and others like them are deep wells of free experience for your perusal.

Decision’s made. Card’s been charged. Product shipped. And we wait for that RUSH delivery. After tracking your item and arranging your schedule to meet the truck, it arrives, you install it, click

Hmmm. Don’t panic. Find the instructions and any diagrams if there are any, and take the time to actually read the manual.

You double, then triple check all connections and drivers and settings and still, nothing but paperweight. The first thing is to get all your info written down and ready with pen and paper handy. Set up your fax ahead of time, because the last thing you’ll want to do now is have to call back.

Now you’re mad and rightfully so, you call up the support number and wade and wait through all the options to finally ferret out a live person who doesn’t try to hand you off to another dept. This would be a great time to maintain a cool, but firm professional attitude. Nothing to it right?

“Please listen because our menu has changed”

How many times have you wondered how long back it’s been since that change? This is your first clue that you’ve been introduced to the maze.

Ask yourself. If you had their job, listening to, answering to, and having to be polite to irate people for eight hours straight, five days a week, would you stick to your ethics? While your at it, ask yourself how long you’d be willing to keep that job. Think about it, a butt chewing would almost be a break because you know there is only one person to deal with. You’re literally getting it from both ends.

Of course that still doesn’t excuse unprofessional behavior or bad business practices. It’s still the job you were paid to do and how good or bad it is, is part of the deal you agreed to for your job. To see it from both ends is to better understand what you’re dealing with.

The next suggestion, and I wish I’d thought of it, is when going through these menu options and waiting for the next available one, choose espaniol. These operators are almost always bilingual and have a shorter wait time.

The real deal is most companies have classes to teach their employees how to handle you and people’ to design these protocols and flowcharts, just to safeguard their interest and maybe even frustrate you into giving up. And they won’t admit it, but frustration is the key for this situation. For them that is. They already have your money and would like nothing better then for you to not go away mad, but just go away. Actually strike that first part. “We’ve got your money! You’ve got junk!”

For example they try to cast doubt on your ability to properly install or use said item or trick you into admitting damage or warrantee voiding. They’re civil and polite but reading from a script like a telemarketer.

When they give you an RMA# make sure they take the time to fully explain the details and verify his or her name and extension to be reached at. Confusion on your part would be another reason for them to lose’ your shipment without admitting any fault. Be friendly, civil, and subtle. You don’t have to be obvious or threaten them to put the thought in their head.

Anytime you’re sending a part back to the manufacturer it’s good idea to identify whether or not the part that returns is actually a new replacement or simply your old part in new packaging. A quick pic of some fine detail of the part or checking that serial number you had to write down several times will help you verify that.

RMA returns always want you to utilize a paid form of trackable shipping. While this makes perfect sense, since you don’t want them to say What package? We don’t know what you’re talking about.’ It’s also another reminder that you’re laying out more money that you will never get back, in order to obtain a working version of the item you originally purchased. Breathe, easy does it. You’re halfway there.

More waiting, depending on what shipping you bought. Sometimes the company will offer to ship the replacement once they get a tracking number from your shipper. Nice if it works that way and your nightmare is probably over once it shows up. More likely, is that they will take your’ time waiting for your part, which they will then take their time checking out’ said part. After which, they’ll use [Unless you pay for different.] the cheapest and slowest form of shipping available to get it back to you.

Finally, after you’ve met all of their qualifications, and waited like a good little boy or girl, and you get the next item off the shelf or worse, the same one that may or may not be repaired. [While this is wrong even if it has been fixed, and you paid for a new item, not a fixed one that you had to wait several weeks for. Your only other options are lawsuit, or to forget about the whole thing.]

Part received. Part works. Stop.

Part received. Part does not work. Go to next line.

Now the part is still not working and if they can’t apologize and send you a new one, [frustrating isn’t it?] they might offer you a refund which will take three to five days or more to show up in your account. Minus all those shipping charges and any time wasted.

Now let’s skip ahead and say you’ve reached the end of this process and the end of your rope, and the company is adamantly refusing to budge on their position. Remember those blogs and web searches I mentioned earlier? If you found a few people with a similar product complaint, now would be a good time to email those souls and see if they still feel the same way. An organized response from say ten different people about the same item at the same time would be like an itch to that same company. Twenty a rash. You get the idea. You just became a cohesive group that would then be recognized in the media if necessary. This would also help if you went to your final step with a lawyer.

Companies hate class action suits as much as bad press.

This can all add up to a lot of work or it could just come together for you. It depends on how you sell it to your group. Most would be willing to organize with the complaints but not make any appearances so you’ll have to do the leg work.

I personally, would love to see an organization who could organize and represent people solely for this purpose. And while there is the Better Business Bureau, and a few others, changing their status in a rating system that the average consumer never sees is not as attention getting as an article in the paper or a segment on television. It’s been my personal experience that getting any results out of official channels takes a lot of legwork and that corporations [I presume.] have inserted a lot of stop gap measures to slow that process down or stop it completely. At the very least to cost you more money than you’re willing to spend.

I’m of course speaking about a near worse case scenario that can be avoided most of the time by demonstrating a competent and thorough attitude. You don’t have to threaten anyone to put a thought in their head. And like a picture is worth a thousand words, an imagination can be worth a million.

Remember, be friendly, civil, polite, and try very hard not to be smug.

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