(Gawkwire.com) – It has been quite some time since the last time we poured through hundreds of technical manuals and support texts and interviewed dozens of senior support staff. We even managed to have a fairly lengthy if not somewhat dangerous conversation with the Bastard Operator from Hell. Consider these rules as an extension of the original found in Ping! Zine’s issue 19. So sit back, get comfy, and try to keep your blood pressure under control. Support techs take notes, all else avert your gaze from the powerful words of wisdom contained herein.
Truth is relative. Best to Give Users Explanations they can Deal with.
Bad Way:

Tech: There is a way to do that, but I don’t think you’re literate enough to follow my instructions, nor do I have the patience required to walk you through.

Tech: Sorry, I don’t know any way for you to do that.
If you give a list to a user, give "quick-out" options at the beginning and end

Tech: What type of account are you using Mini, Mano, Macho, Grande, or Beni?

User: Uhhhh… Beni

Tech: I’m sorry, Beni was discontinued you probably need to upgrade.
Reading instructions to the user works. When their reading them it doesn’t.

Tech: <After spending 10 minutes reading straight from the manual> And what’s it doing now?

User: It’s working!!! I wonder why it didn’t work when I did it.

Tech: No idea.
Pregnant pauses or holding can be useful and give added credence

User: When will you change/add unlimited bandwidth to your plans?

Tech: Let me check on that for you. <Places caller on hold and finishes a few chapters of their book.>

Tech: It’s tentatively scheduled to be coming out in the future, but it’s rather low on the list of priorities so it might be a while.
Don’t try to force your knowledge on someone

Tech: Which control panel are you using?

User: Internet Explorer.

Tech: Hmm, are you using cPanel or Plesk.

User: I just told you I use Internet Explorer to access my site admin.

Tech: Internet Explorer is a browser not a control panel.

User: Well, I am using it. Can I talk to your supervisor; it’s obvious you don’t know your job.
Always annunciate properly:

Tech: ok you are going to want to access the Windows Error Reporting screen.

Customer: Air reporting? How is that going to help me?

Tech: Er-ror reporting.

Customer: Arrow reporting? I think I am really confused.

Tech: I think I am too.
There are some words, perfectly normal words, that should be avoided… like type:

Tech: Ok I want you to type A colon then press enter.

Customer: A c-o-l-o-n t-h…

Tech: Sir just press the A key on your keyboard then press and hold the shift key while pressing the key left of the L and then press the Enter key.

Customer: Well why didn’t you say press A: and hit enter in the first place!
Writer’s Bio: David Dunlap is celebrating his 10th year as both a Web host industry analyst and commentator. Prior to his active writing career, David was a network and communications technician for four years for the U.S. government. He currently is the Editor-in-Chief for www.WebHostMagazine.com.

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