Tech Support: How to Draw the Line

By Deborah Rothberg  |  Posted 2006-05-09 Print this article Print

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.

Click here to read more about the conflicts and miscommunications that can arise between users and IT help providers.

The resulting responses—421 and counting—responses 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.

  • Set a deadline as to when your tech support will terminate, and stick to it.

    "[Tell them] 'I can support you for two more weeks, and then that's it.' This is important. Tie the deadline to some milestone so that he won't push you to change it: 'I start my night classes in two weeks, so that's why I can't do this any more after two weeks.' (It is irrelevant whether this is the true reason; you just don't want the client to say, 'Aww, how 'bout 3 weeks? How 'bout 4?')" wrote a poster under the name KWTm.

  • Increase your rates until your clients value your time as much as you do.
  • "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.

  • Send the client elsewhere, either to a colleague or to buy a care package from a software company.
  • "You might try pointing them 'gently' toward other resources," wrote eonlabs.

    Read the full story on eWEEK.com: Tech Support: How to Draw the Line


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