Technical assistance from a hardware manufacturer, software publisher, internal help desk, educational institution or third-party support company. The most important thing to understand about getting help from tech support people is the amount of detail you need to supply them. This is a very precise business: a single, misplaced comma in a router's table once caused thousands of Internet customers to be down for days.
Be At the Computer
Unless you have a general question and not a specific problem, be sure you are sitting at the computer when you call the tech support line, and have the application running.
Write Down Exactly What It Says
Whenever you get an error message, be sure to write it down verbatim. "I don't remember exactly" is not going to work. In addition, support reps take hundreds of calls every week and may have little patience when users cannot describe their problem in sufficient detail. Have empathy for them as well, because they must have an unbelievable amount of patience to handle their jobs.
Intermittent problems are extremely difficult to diagnose and resolve. If you cannot recreate the problem on screen, there may be very little a support person can do to help. See help desk analyst
Types of Tech Support
Free support is generally by email, while phone support is either paid or free within a limited time after purchase. Support addresses and phone numbers are found on the vendor's website, and email responses may take from one to three days.
Premium support is typically paid annually in advance, and there is often a per-incident service. For a flat fee usually in the range of $35 to $75, the company agrees to solve a single problem over the phone no matter how long it takes. See how to find a good computer book