Good Technical Support

April 30, 2015



Written for Canadian Community News by Mike Sterling

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When you attempt to use technical support on a product either online or by phone, we all wish for the best, but brace for an ordeal. 

Recently I had an interaction with a company.  I was seeking some technical help.  Their system was so simple.  I have to ask myself why don't others do exactly the same thing?

Here is how it worked:

I made the usual phone call.  I was greeted by a modest list of options, but not too lon.  I opted for support in the form of a human being.

I waited, but not too long.  I was greeted by a support person.  She listened and asked a couple of questions.  I realized she could not help me.  But, miracle of miracles, so did she.

She said:  "I'll have to refer you to level 2 support."  I thought, Oh here we go another transfer and then a dead line.  I'll have to start over again. 

No, a new voice came on and I quickly explained my problem and he faster yet gave me a solution.  The solution was correct.

So, you ask, what's the big deal with this?  Isn't it supposed to work that way?

The big deal is that they have a hierarchy of support.  Level zero is on the net with FAQs user manual and a troubleshooting page.

Level 1 is a human being who can solve let's say 80% of the problems.  Then there is this level 2 person, who is the expert.

What's smart about this simple system is that they utilize the skill levels to help the customer and to train.  It's much faster for them and their customers.

The level 2 person is not overburdened by trivia and the level 1 person learns by turning over the problem to level 2, but staying on the line gaining training on the spot.  Very good!

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On another subject don't assume you know a password even if it is written down longhand either by you or somebody else.  Even our own writing can be difficult to decode over time.

Many times we get people to give us passwords that might look like this;


What could be wrong with that?  Seems clear enough

I'll write it another way to show you.  Anything inside the parentheses is for clarity.  Here goes:

Lpb(lower case B not 6)6(six)DX0(zero)45

You see, depending upon who is writing characters and numbers our perceptions can not match what is correct.

We are not talking about computer transmission of the password.  We are dealing with handwriting.  It's not reliable.


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Thursday, April 30, 2015