In today’s business environment it is nearly impossible to avoid any tasks that involve dipping a toe in the digital world. Let’s face it, this is the reality of the Digital Age. No one is free from the 1’s and 0’s of software anymore.
With as often as we interact with software programs, one of them is bound to break eventually. Probably in the middle of that big, important thing you were working on. Then comes the call to IT Support. No one likes that call. But, if you want your problem fixed quickly and correctly, there are a few things you can be sure to have when you call IT to make the process of finding and solving your software problem as painless as possible.
I know, I know, I know… “Have you tried restarting your computer?” Is one of the most annoying phrases any IT Support Specialist can utter when you are waist-deep in malfunctioning systems, but there is a reason you’ve heard this phrase parroted over and over again: it really works.
No, it doesn’t always solve the problem but it oftentimes does. Why? Who cares, it’s fixed! The fact of the matter is, any IT solution is a good solution when you need something to work right now. If it makes you feel better, take note of the issue after it is resolved so that, if it crops up again and rebooting doesn’t help, you have more information to provide your Support Person.
Be sure to have a list of any and all error messages that may occur while you are dealing with your problem. IT Support is like playing doctor on computers. Every symptom is a potential clue to the cause of the problem. Except, in this case, your wrist doesn’t scream “I’m broken! I’m broken!”
Error messages might seem like gibberish, but they can be jam-packed full of information. Some are more helpful than others, admittedly, but all error messages should be noted and relayed to your Support Person to help give them a complete picture of the problem.
If you can take screenshots of issues you are experiencing with your software, then not providing them to your IT Support Specialist would be like not including a picture on your “Missing Dog” flyers. Every piece of additional information is helpful and pretty much every computer on the planet has the capability of taking a screenshot, so take one (or several)!
The old adage holds true: a picture is worth a thousand words.
A detailed description of the problem
That said, a thousand words of description might still be helpful to include with your Support Ticket. You should describe every step you took to reach the point where you found an error and every step you took after. There is such a thing as over-sharing, but it’s not a thing worth worrying about if you don’t know the difference between HTML and Shakespearian sonnets.
Your IT Person should be able to sort through the useful and useless information. At the end of the day, you want to do everything possible to put them in your shoes, at your desk, fiddling with your computer. These days most IT Support is handled remotely, so whatever you can do to help close that distance will expedite the process of finding a solution.
Software name and version #
No matter what the issue is, your Support Person has to be able to test it in the exact same environment that you are using. That means you can save yourself a little time by coming to the conversation with IT Support prepared with the name of the software you are using and which version it is. This ensures the Support Person is using exactly what you used and can help find the problem faster if it is associated with the software, its current version, or a recent update.
At the end of the day, the most important thing to do when going into an IT Support situation is to be kind and clear. If you don’t know, say you don’t know and be willing to have them walk you through the steps to find out. Above all, do not assume they can simply wave their magic wands and make your software problems go away. Every IT Support Person wishes they had a magic wand, but they don’t. All they have is a keyboard and some code. If it seems like magic, appreciate the amount of hard work it takes to give that impression.