7 Tips for Getting Better Customer Support

When you need help with an online application, a customer support representative can be your best friend. Your expectation is to have speedy help and a solution that works. But, did you know that you can greatly improve the service you get?  You might be thinking:  “This is where they tell me to be more courteous.”  Sure, that’s always greatly appreciated, but I’m actually referring to providing information in your help request that will make fixing your problem faster.

Here’s information that will help customer service agents help you:

1. Include the web address of the problem page

This will save the support agent from having to look through all your pages for the right page and prevent any misunderstandings about which page is the problem. To get the web address, you will want to copy (highlight and press CTRL+C) and paste (press CTRL+V) the web address into your request for help. Usually it starts with http.

The web address of a page is near the top of your browser window
The web address of a page is near the top of your browser window

2. Include your login name

This information may help the support agent verify you are the owner of the website. Although they may have a way to look up your login name through your web address, it’s just another way to save them time so they can help you more quickly. On CityMax.com, you don’t need to include your login name if you have logged into your site and clicked on the SUPPORT link at the top.

3. Describe step-by-step what happened

Specifically, what actions did you do just prior to the problem occurring?  What did you click on? Were there any options that you selected? Make it possible for the support agent to do the exact same steps as you to recreate the issue so they can see it firsthand.

4. Explain what you did to try and fix the problem

In some cases, you may have extra information that will help the support agent.  You do not have to test your problem thoroughly, but it may be helpful to know the following information:  Does this problem happen on more than just this one page? Has this problem occurred before? Did you change anything on the page recently before the problem occurred on it? Did you try to delete your cache or cookies or restart your computer (more on this in my next blog post)?

5. Copy and paste in any error messages

If an error message comes up whether directly in your web page or pops up from your computer, copy and paste exactly what it says into your message to your support agent.

6. Indicate which web browser you’re using

Web browsers are what you use to access the Internet. The most common ones are:  Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari. They do not operate the same and on the programming side sometimes require special snippets of code to deal with different tasks. In addition to telling the support agent which one you’re using, the version of your browser also matters. Every now and then, a browser will be updated with new capabilities and improvements and they’ll go up a version from say 2.0 to 3.0. You can find out which versions you’re on by going to http://www.thismachine.info. As soon as you go there, it will automatically tell you your browser and version number.

7. Attach a picture

In some cases, a picture of what’s on your screen may be helpful. To do this on a PC, while the problem page is showing on your screen, press SHIFT+PrtScn to take a screenshot of everything that you see. Then, open Microsoft Word (also ok on Graphics programs) and paste (CTRL+V) in your screenshot.  Save and include the file in your request for help. On a MAC, press COMMAND+SHIFT+3 and this will save the screenshot as an image file on your computer.

Here’s an example of a support request with just the right amount of details:


I uploaded an image (tourist.jpg in my Tours Folder) without any problems, but when I posted it on page http://www.newyorktours.citymax.com/about_us.html, it looks distorted. I tried resizing it to 400 x 300 but the image looks stretched out. I left the image up there for you to take a look at it.

I didn’t have problems resizing and posting another image this way at http://www.newyorktours.citymax.com/testimonials.html (tourgroup.jpg in my Tours Folder).

login:  newyorktours
browser:  IE 7.0


As a former customer support agent and manager, my goal is to make sure you get timely help and walk away a happy customer. Hopefully these tips will help you get better and faster customer support.

In my next post, I’ll go over some common fixes so you may not need a customer support agent at all.

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