The rules for dealing with tech support do not change if you're dealing with an outside provider rather than an in-house help desk, said Jeffrey Brooks of Peak 10, a data center that provides services to other companies.
Call centers sometimes get backed up and need to prioritize the most critical problems first, he said.
"Every secretary who can't get her solitaire to work thinks it's the end of the world," he said. "There is a certain sense of entitlement. People think they're paying for a service and can walk all over the people providing that service. It is the 80-20 rule; 80 percent of the calls come from the same 20 percent of the customers."
Brooks said if a customer gets belligerent toward one of his technicians, he will call that customer's boss to let her know about her employee's inappropriate behavior.
"I've called bosses to say it is inappropriate to call my guys and curse. Yelling always begets yelling," Brooks said. "It is sometimes the best policy to let someone's boss know what is going on. Most agree business is business and there is a proper way to behave."
Basic rules of etiquette apply in the office, regardless of the technology used to communicate, said Anna Post, resident business etiquette expert at the Emily Post Institute.
"You don't pick the people you work with. It is not like choosing friends or significant others," Post said. "Etiquette is a free tool available to everyone that helps us find common ground in tense situations. It is always best to take a few breaths and check your frustrations at the door. Stay calm, stay solution oriented."