Tech Support: How to Draw the LineBy Deborah Rothberg | Posted 2006-05-09 Email Print
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Is a difficult client ringing your phone off the hook? Try some advice from Slashdot readers on how to deal with users with excessive support demands.A poster on Ask Slashdot on May 8 requested advice on how to reduce or turn down requests for technical support requests, especially from users who aren't necessarily clients.
The resulting responses421 and countingresponses ranged from predictably snarky ("Implement a long-winded touch-tone system that doesn't work that's what works for my bank anyway") to some practical recommendations that could be enlisted by any IT professional overwhelmed by a client's demands.
"The only way to get rid of the support people was to start raising the rates so they would find someone else. I don't know what you charge now, but start upping it fast. Increments of 25 [percent are] a good way to wean people off stupid calls," loftwyr wrote.
"Give 'em some reasonable number of requests, and after that charge them $55-65 per incident," blackcoot wrote.
"You might try pointing them 'gently' toward other resources," wrote eonlabs.
"There's nothing wrong with dumping a customer, but the correct way to do it is to 1) Be truthful with them, and 2) If possible, refer them to another professional who can help them It's also a good opportunity to throw a colleague some work," TheMCP wrote.
"Recommend [to] end users [that they] buy professional systems I found the best way to deter friends and family was by giving them recommendations to buy expensive 'complete' systems with support contracts. Everyone is looking for a FREEBE or a 'deal.' As soon as I recommended people to buy Mac with 'Apple care' or Dell systems with support contracts they stopped calling," ryanw said.
"I always charge everyone," wrote spacecowboy420. "Now maybe I only charge a 12 pack or dinner or some trivial token, but they always know that my services are not free."
"The bottom line, however, is that you need to learn to say 'no.' It really is OK to not give out free customer support to people, even if they're friends or family," said Reality Master 101.
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