BEP 238 – Telephoning: Tech Support English (1)

Telephone Tech Support English

Welcome back to Business English Pod for today’s lesson on handling a tech support telephone call in English.

We’ve all been in this situation: The phone rings. Someone’s got a problem. They need our help to fix it. So we work through the issue with the person, trying to figure out exactly what’s happening, what the person wants to do, and how to help them do it.

But it’s not easy, especially on the phone, because we can’t see what the other person sees. And when someone has a problem, they’re usually frustrated about it, which can make our job even more difficult. So we need to stay calm and positive, keep a clear head, talk through the issue and find a solution that works. This situation is not unique to tech support. Everyone has to be able to help solve problems over the phone.

Today we’ll look at several techniques that can help you deal with these kinds of situation successfully. We’ll start by asking open-ended questions, confirming what the user is trying to do, and asking what they see as they try to do it. Then we’ll try requesting the user to do something as well as putting our instructions in simple terms. And finally we’ll practice asking someone to wait while we check something.

In the dialog, you’ll hear a conversation between Stacey and Nick. Stacey is a lawyer in the U.S. who’s having some trouble transferring files to her company’s server in the U.K. Nick is the British tech support agent trying to help Stacey solve her problem.

Listening Questions

1. At the start of the conversation, what question does Nick use to get Stacey to describe the situation?
2. Why does Nick ask Stacey to try opening the file?
3. What does Nick ask Stacey to do to help him check whether the problem is fixed?

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