All technicians at some point will need to call and speak with a manufacturer’s technical support adviser. I have made many calls to these advisers throughout my career and learned how to best get the information I needed from them.

First, be aware that while sometimes you will get to speak with an adviser right away, you may not always connect to a live person on the phone the first time you call. Depending on the call volume on the day and time you’re calling, you may need to leave your contact information and wait for a return phone call. So, plan ahead and be ready for a possible delay in getting the information you need.

When you do get to speak with a technical adviser, be prepared for the conversation by having as much information as possible available for them. The more information you have, the more thoroughly they can assist you. I have found it best to write down all of the pertinent information, so, when asked, I can provide accurate and reliable information. Your memory may not be as good as you think, and you do not want to guess or fudge the information you provide. This means you will need to do your job before calling for assistance.

You should always have the system’s model and serial number ready. Depending on your questions, any pertinent system parameters, such as any operating pressures, temperatures, voltages, and current measurements. For example, if you’re working on a refrigeration problem for an ice machine, you would record all of the system’s refrigerant pressures and temperatures, the various superheat and subcooling values, and any other necessary information. Some technicians use a preprinted worksheet to record this information. This allows them to analyze the entire system and not miss vital information that can lead to finding the problem. It also allows them to more thoroughly review the issue with the adviser. The technician will not need to recall the information from memory incorrectly and give the wrong information, which may mask the true problem. It also eliminates the technician from stating, “the superheat is good,” “the amperage draw is normal,” or “I have checked that.” The advisers are generally looking for real numbers, so be ready and have them available.

The attitude of the technical adviser is also very important when it comes to having a good experience with getting support. The technical adviser should be patient with callers and not intimidate the technician calling for help. They should not always assume the technician calling is incompetent and belittle them. There is no worse feeling when asking for help than being made to feel stupid or ashamed. Having called many manufacturers and spoken with many advisers over the years, I can attest to some being quite rude and intimidating. It does not make for a very engaging phone call or lead to much help in getting the support you need.  

Technical support is definitely a two-way street. Technical advisers should be engaging and welcoming, and technicians should be ready with the information needed to have a successful discussion about the problem. Cooperation by both parties can lead to a respectful conversation with successful results.  

Publication date: 10/2/2017