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Tech Support Ethics Question


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This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of GoToAssist. All opinions are 100% mine.

It’s super simple to help someone with their computer issues remotely. What happens, though, if you’re in the middle of a tech support session using GoToAssist Express, and you can’t solve the problem they’re having? Do you charge for the time you have already put in?

Unless this issue was addressed in a written contract, then no – you shouldn’t charge the customer for that time. Why not, you ask? That user is going to trust you to fix their problems. Let’s say you believed you could fix their problem remotely. It’s a matter of good faith, trust and their belief in your ability to solve what ails their computer. Even if you’re an hour or two into the issue, and there’s seemingly no way out, it’s not something you should charge them for.

As a professional, it’s your job to have the answers. If you don’t, then you need to make your best effort to find them. If you’re an hour into a job and you’re stumped, step away and do some research, or call on a trusted colleague. It’s okay to admit you don’t know the solution. The person on the other end will respect you far more for admitting you don’t know everything than they would if you tried to flub your way through.

It’s okay for you to say the problem can’t be solved. But it’s not okay for you to bill the client for that time. It’s not fair, unless the client has agreed in writing ahead of time that this was acceptable. How would you feel if you took your car to a mechanic. The mechanic tells you that they have no idea what is wrong or what it will take to fix the car, but they give you a dollar amount to get the job done anyway? You would be furious!

Ethically speaking, unless you’ve defined how a procedure would go and how much time you would spend on it (in addition to the cost), it’s best to admit you don’t know. Either step away, admitting you cannot fix it, or suggest an alternative. Let them know you can give up, do additional research, or give them a referral to someone else. Don’t just try to get money from them and leave them hanging.

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