How to Get Real Help From Tech Support

Electronic devices can save time and money; however, they also malfunction from time to time, like any other machine. When this happens, you can do some help desk research and/or call tech support. Working with tech support successfully requires you to prepare before speaking to them and offer as much information as you can. People who call tech support are often frustrated and want someone else to take over. This is not always possible, so you must understand their limitations and find shortcuts to manage your time. Find out how to get real help from tech support.


  1. 1
    Diffuse frustration before contacting tech support. Computer crashes and error messages often arrive at inopportune times, which can result in anger and anxiety. Go for a walk, make yourself a cup of tea or use another method to allow you to return to the problem with a fresh perspective. During the process, it's integral to keep your computer turned off so internal processes have the opportunity to cool down.
  2. 2
    Try simple troubleshooting methods before calling. Sometimes simple snafus cause issues we didn't really mean - hitting a wrong button, jarring the desk, and even opening several files in succession when our memory can't handle it. The following are good to try before calling tech support:
    • Check to ensure that everything is plugged in correctly. Although this may seem obvious, cords can easily be pulled out of walls or the back of computers without noticing. If your screen has gone dead, this is the first place to check. You may also check your cords for burns, and check your surge protector to make sure that too much isn't plugged in.
    • Inspect your PC for debris around the fan, circuit board and other areas. Although PCs are mechanically built to last a decade, it is highly common for a system to slow down over the years. For any number of reasons, computers can start to erode from within, and cause your motherboard to errantly send commands to BIOS.
    • Try restarting. On a Windows PC, you can reboot into safe mode. Sometimes a force quit can fix the problem, although you risk losing data. You can also hold down the power button for roughly 3-5 seconds to 'kill' the computer if frozen. Wait 30 seconds, then reboot. Save the information if possible.
    • Look for a help menu on your program toolbar. Use the search function to try to find the information about your issue. Many common problems are listed in the help section. Following these written instructions, if they are available, is likely to save time.
    • Check to see if other people on your network are having the same problem. It may be a problem with network connectivity or a company-wide program. Check with a colleague, your company's tech department or your own Internet connectivity. Visit your internet service provider's website to see if any known outages or intermittent connection issues are happening.
  3. 3
    Gather your system information. Your account number, serial number, computer model, software version, warranty information and error information are the first things that your tech support representative is going to ask for. It will save you time on the phone if you have already gathered on a pad of paper in front of you.
    • You can find information on your computer by clicking on the top or bottom toolbar. There is often an option to click "About this Computer" or "System Information." For applications, you can look for a "Get Info" or "Software Information" option when you right click on the application or look in the top toolbar.
  4. 4
    Find the best number to call. If you search on a company's website or materials, you are likely to find a general number that will require you to punch in many choices on an automated menu. Before calling, look up your organization on, and they will suggest more specific numbers that will save time.
    • GetHuman will also tell you if the company has a live chat option or a call back option, so you don't have to wait on hold. These may also save you time during your troubleshooting.
    • Another service website, called, will help you find the number and then call it for you. You input your phone number and they call you when a tech support person is on the line.
  5. 5
    Wait to call until you have some time to devote to the conversation. Many calls to tech support can take up to an hour, with hold times and problem solving. Do not call if you need to step into a meeting or leave your office. A la carte tech support personnel like iTok actually give you dedicated numbers to call which allows you to bypass tech support; ConnectWise operates the same way. Some technical support consultants are taking advantage of computer owners by either keeping them on hold, giving them useless information while on the phone or simply not calling back as promised; this is why setting aside an appointment would work best for you.
  6. 6
    Set up a tech support appointment, if possible. Many companies help you to avoid wait times by setting a convenient time for both parties. In many cases, the person may learn from your appointment request what the problem is, and they will be able to have the necessary information handy.
  7. 7
    Use automated message shortcuts to get to a tech support representative faster.
    • Press "0" instead of any of the other options. Sometimes you can do this right away or while the automated message is still speaking.
    • Press the Spanish speaking option. These operators are often less busy than the English speaking operators. They are usually bilingual as well. You can try this option to decrease the wait time before a tech support person is available.
    • Avoid pressing a number as directed by the automated menu. This tells the operator that you do not have a touch tone phone, and may direct you immediately to a representative.
  8. 8
    Ask for a call back number and a ticket number. When you reach tech support, you want to ensure that there will be notes on your conversation. If the problem arises in the future, other representatives will be able to access what has been done so far through either your phone records with the company, or the ticket that was assigned during your initial call.
  9. 9
    Prepare to work with the representative to find the answer. Although many of us want to call up and say "Please fix it," that is not a reasonable thing to expect. You can assume that your tech support agent will ask you to try a number of things and report back on what is happening.
  10. 10
    Be specific. Articulate the problem that you need fixed and what is different from normal device operation. A call to tech support may be an opportunity to learn more about your device, and you will save time by avoiding general statements like "It just doesn't work."
  11. 11
    Be patient. Fixing a device from a remote location is more time consuming than doing it in person. Expect long pauses and do your best to be ready for the next step.
  12. 12
    Be courteous. Tech support people understand that you may be angry or frustrated, and they are trained to handle it. However, avoid being mean or making personal attacks, because you are likely to have the call ended without a solution to your problem.
  13. 13
    Set up a time to follow up on the problem. If you need to leave the call prematurely, make sure you know what you should do next to solve the problem. Ask for advice on where to go next if the person is unable to help you.


  • As the owner of a PC, it is not uncommon in the least to encounter an IT issue that is beyond your control and therefore seek tech support from an expert in the industry; don't just shoot for affordability.
  • Because there are a plethora of PC problems that can require expert tech support and know-how, don't be afraid to document your issues on paper, and read them to the support personnel. This could save you both time.
  • The most common problem with any slow computer is in the form of a virus. Whether it’s a Trojan Horse, a worm, Malware or Spyware, these common pests can bombard your system quickly, and frequently. Try to describe the problem to tech support as it happens; this will help diagnose any problems.
  • Always choose your tech support based off popular demand, and avoid the Microsoft phone call scams where someone 'claims' they can remotely assist you when, in essence, all they'll do is sell software to you.

Things You'll Need

  • Help menu
  • System restart
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Serial number
  • Device model
  • Warranty information
  • search
  • Case number
  • Call back number
  • Tech support appointment

Article Info

Categories: Maintenance and Repair