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Help Line

Tired of getting the brushoff from your vendors' tech support lines?

What computer user hasn't been faced with a major technical problem? Say your word processor keeps crashing since you upgraded to Windows 95, and you're on a tight deadline. So you call your vendor's technical support hotline--and get a busy signal for an hour. When you finally get through, you're put on hold for 45 minutes more. At last, you reach a real person--who tells you: "I'm not able to solve that problem now. Can I get back to you?" To add insult to injury, you've paid for the call.

While most vendors' technical support is somewhat better than this fictional scenario, it's not uncommon for vendors to make you wait on hold for significant periods, not provide toll-free numbers, and not have the answers you need.

Luckily, you have another option. You can get support online from the Web and from major online services, particularly CompuServe. These online support services vary from a few technical documents you can download to company technical support personnel who are often more knowledgeable than those who answer the telephone support hotlines.

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This article was originally published in the February 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Help Line.

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