Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Live Chat a Great Option for Tech Support

I am very pleased with my experiences with live chat support, and after a multitude of times being left in phone hold limbo, I prefer this method of communication when trying to solve a technical problem. The Earthlink chat support system has always been of help to me.

In dealing with AT&T/Cingular Wireless, it has been more of a mixed bag. Though I have found help there, I have had to in the past thank the support personnel, log off, then log on again to obtain someone whose communication style better suits mine.

Helpful hint. If the support person you’re chatting with is frustrating you, say thank you and goodbye and connect right back up again. The new support person may be better able to help you.

Let’s look at the two chat clients and pick the good and the bad.

First Earthlink:
I was looking for information over the weekend and was puttering around their online help system. After a few minutes of poking around, a dialog popped up and asked me if I needed live help. This is akin to struggling in the electronics department and having a helpful representative of the store ask you if you need assistance. I did, and in moments I was chatting live with someone far more knowledgeable about networking than myself.

Two things that I really like about the discussion, is that you are automatically writing down the necessary information that you can then refer back to during the troubleshooting. I also like that a record of the conversation is reviewed for service improvements.

Now Cingular:
This is a different chat service than I have used before. I would prefer individual attention as opposed to the swarm of comments that scroll by. I feel like I am being forced to ask directions on a busy New York street and am straining to hear the information I’ve asked for.

I do think it is interesting that they list out all the agents online at that time and also give a wait estimate. To much of a phone hold time reminder, but it does seem useful.

There are chat support services in a multitude of instances. Tacoma Community College provides chat support between faculty and students for their online classes, as an example.

Side note. Earthlink recommends Netscape as a browser as opposed to Firefox.
“Please note: Our email and chat forms currently work best with Internet Explorer and Netscape. If you are using a different browser and experiencing difficulties, please open this page in a new window using Internet Explorer or Netscape to complete your request.”

Seems like the website is a little due for a page update.

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