Further, here's some advice for ringing an ISP's support line:

  1. Remember, the person you're about to talk to has probably been sitting it front of that computer wearing a headset for a good five-six hours already. Be nice to him/her. They are there to actually help you.
  2. Have your login name ready. If you have a case number, have that ready too. In most companies, the program used by the CSR's will not let them go anywhere unless they put your login name into that first screen. It's not the CSR's evil intentions to ask you for this stuff - in most cases they have to.
  3. Try ... try to explain your problem giving the helpdesk person as much information as possible. Instead of saying "... my computer won't connect to the net" say something along the lines of "... I'm running Windows 98 and it's giving me a 604 error every time I try to dial up". Seriously, you'll make their job much easier, and they will be more inclined to offer you genuine help.
  4. If at all possible, try and ring the appropriate department. If your mouse doesn't move, or there's no sound coming out of the speakers, there is very little point in ringing the internet helpdesk. Sure, they are capable of helping you, but also remember that there's usually a hardware support line. And please check that your speakers are plugged in ... that was the most common problem I encountered with people ringing me for help.
    There may be phone menu options, with you having to press an appropriate key for the department you want. Listen to them. Somebody put them there for a reason.
  5. As gahachino mentions above, there's little point in asking to talk to the supervisor straight away. Most likely this will result in you being put on hold, and the CSR's saying things like "Hey Aaron, I have this ****er on the line, can you tell him that he's a complete moron?" to their supervisor, and then you end up being put through. Obviously, not the prettiest scenario.
  6. In most phone-based customer support companies there's a phone-queue, and the number of incoming/answered/dropped calls is logged. The CSR's get in trouble if too many calls are dropped, or if the queue waiting time is too long. So after you've solved your problem, say goodbye and hang up. The helpdesk phone operator may not be as happy to talk to you about the weather in the Middle East as you think.
  7. Overall, be nice to the CSR's. They generally have a worse job than you do, and have to deal with annoying and abusive customers all day. Saying something like "Hey -insert CSR's name here-, I really appreciated your help. Have a nice day!" will sometimes make somebody's day. And it will also make you feel better, and chances of you being null-route'd by your ISP will be a lot slimmer :-)