This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

Why you should use live chat, not phone, for technical difficulties on the web

Even in the best of systems, things go wrong. I've been designing for web since the '90s, and believe me, it's only as good as the humans who run it, and humans sometimes get things wrong. Whether it's confusion about passwords, or where to ftp a file, or about a million other things, sometimes you just gotta talk to someone.

And by talk, I don't mean on the phone. If you're still reaching for the telephone for tech support, you are making a serious mistake, and wasting a lot of time. Yes, companies still have real humans that you can talk to on the phone, but mostly it's for people who just want to "have someone to talk to, gul dern it!" And I feel sorry for those people, who are doing a job mostly to hear angry people vent.

Yes, I understand that you're angry, and frustrated, and need to vent. I'm sorry you feel that way. But that has nothing to do with trying to fix a technical problem. And when you're ready, and calmed down, this is how to do it:

• Open a Live Chat. If you've never done one before, it will feel kind of weird. It starts, of course, with a company having a chat line. No, you're not really "chatting", but you are writing back and forth with a live person. I always start with a simple hello, or I need help. When they respond, I write back, as precisely and concisely as I can, what I'm trying to fix. I do not vent, I do not rant, I do not tell them that I don't have time for this stuff.

• Write down important stuff, like ftp protocols, or user ids, or error messages. I open up a blank TextEdit file on my Mac and type stuff there, before I even begin the chat. Then when I need that information, I copy and paste. This works SOOO much better than trying to talk to someone - where you have to say "A as in apple..."

My website is hosted by Bluehost, and they're great. I've used them for over ten years now, and every once in a while I have to contact them. It has always been my fault, or my misunderstanding. And their live chat gets me "back in business" very quickly.

So put down the phone, take a deep breath, and open a live chat.