It seems that the most painful thing about owning a PC is getting help when something goes wrong. Many phone support techs come across to the user as impatient and condescending. Very often, the user is left with the impression that the support tech doesn’t understand the problem, let alone the solution! So where can the user turn to get the best solution for the problem at hand? Don’t fret – help is here – in the form of this article!
The intent of this article is to present the average PC user with some guidelines for getting the best computer help possible. The guidelines offered here will apply equally to the various forms of help with little difference. If critical differences do exist, I will do my best to point them out for you.
Types of Tech Support
Basically, there are four types of computer tech support available to the user. All but one of these methods require the user to communicate with one or more other individuals. The remaining method requires the user to research a solution independently, using various available resources. What follows below is a brief explanation of the four support methods available.
Method 1 – User ResearchObtaining tech support via this method basically means that the user will have to find a solution without the direct assistance or input of a support person. Typically, the user will seek answers in various prepared resources, including online troubleshooting guides, online tutorials, and other published materials (manuals, reference books, newsletters, etc.). This method can be time consuming, but it can also be very educational for the user. The biggest drawback to this problem is that the user must know where to look in order to find any answers.
Method 2 – Telephone SupportThis method is probably the most widely used, but it is often the least effective. This is due in part to the time spent waiting for help, as well as the increasing frequency of per-incident or per-call charges for help. In addition, many phone help desks are staffed by folks with little or no real-world experience in the areas for which they are providing support! More on this later, but for now let’s just say that most companies consider tech support to be a necessary evil, and not a revenue-producing segment of their operation.
Method 3 – Face-to-Face SupportIn this type of support situation, the user is relating one-on-one with the support tech, in a live face-to-face environment. The user has either brought the problem equipment to the tech, or the tech is making an on-site visit to effect a solution. Many folks feel that this is the best support situation, but it too has its drawbacks. We will discuss them in more depth later as well. The reason that this method is so well liked is its immediacy.
Method 4 – Community SupportCommunity support is tech support provided by a group of people. Such groups can be made up of fellow users as well as professional support personnel. As with all of the other methods, this one also has benefits and drawbacks, but many users have come to find that the benefits far outweigh any drawbacks. The PC Q&A Computer Forum is an example of community support.