As hard as it may be to believe sometimes (and despite what we as technical people may sometimes think) we, as IT support providers, don’t always know everything. Is it ego? Is it a fear of appearing ignorant or incompetent in front of a valuable customer? The honest answer is it’s probably a little of both.
The problem is that we sometimes let our technical brain get in the way and start solving what we think the problem is before clearly identifying it. After all, we’ve fixed issues similar to this dozens of times and in an effort to boost our customer’s confidence in us, we assure them of this very fact.
Take a look at this clip from a famous sketch from the Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson and Jack Webb.
Now, as hysterical and alliterative as this clip is, it perfectly illustrates what your IT provider, should be doing in every interaction. We have to put ourselves in the shoes of Jack Webb’s character (Joe Friday) and ask the right questions. Working with incomplete information and unanswered questions leads to assumptions. It is our job to get all the necessary facts before we can begin to analyze and solve a problem.
That’s where you come in. We know if you’re putting in a service ticket, it’s probably not just to say hi. You’re likely experiencing a tech issue that’s annoying at best – but potentially keeping you from doing your job. To do our job most effectively (and as quickly) as possible, we need something from you: information - and the more we have, the better.
When you're putting in a service ticket with your IT company, these are the questions to ask yourself:
- Who? Who is this happening to? Is it just you as an individual or an entire department? Is it just computers of a certain kind (Windows or Mac) or with a certain application installed?
- What? What exactly is the problem? What were you doing when the problem appeared? If possible, can you recreate the problem or is it intermittent? What steps have you taken since the problem started? What, if anything, changed before this problem started?
- Where? Are you in the office or are you working form a remote location? Is this problem happening on your main computer or your phone or tablet? Are you on a wired or wireless connection?
- When? When did the problem start? Has this problem happened before?
Some of the questions you genuinely may be unable to answer and that’s ok. The more details we have, the better equipped we are to begin tackling the problem at hand. We strive to be so familiar with your environment that the slightest clue can point us in the right direction. And that leads us into…
IT providers love screenshots. It’s a great way for us to get information that otherwise may be difficult to convey (like exact details about where the problem is happening or what kind of error message you’re getting).
One great tool that Microsoft now includes as part of Windows is the Snipping Tool, which you can use to take and annotate screenshots (directions how can be found here) to show exactly where your problem is occuring.
To maximize your support, send these screenshots to your IT company, along with the the answers to the questions about. Having all of this information from the get-go should make it easier, and faster, to solve your issues and get you working again.
If you’re a current customer of ours, you can send your screenshot as an attachment in your request created in Direct Connect. If you don’t have a login, aren’t sure how to get logged in or need help getting set up on Direct Connect, let us know and we'll help you get set up!
To really, truly get the most our of your relationship with your IT team, though, make them a partner up front. We as a company want to help you solve problems before they happen, so you have fewer service tickets to begin with. This means being a partner with you for growth and helping you plan as an organization to further your productivity and keep your data safe.