We've all been there, you've got a deadline to meet and a critical piece of tech has failed on you. You send your support ticket into the support desk abyss and you sit there waiting for a response hour after hour. You're not sure if it's even been noticed and your temper’s boiling over as you look at the clock helplessly. Don’t suffer any more! Here's how to make sure your IT woes get dealt with as soon as possible when dealing with support teams.
Give the background
Context is everything so adding why, what and where this all happened is key. You may feel silly for saying that you also installed a new selfie editing application 2 hours before this happened or Jim from accounts was showing you this great game on your laptop earlier but despite how unrelated it seems it's still helpful and could be the needle in the haystack so put it down. Be concise though, no one likes a wall of text!
Help them replicate
Missing from most tasks but extremely valuable are the exact steps to reproduce a problem. Just as a doctor uses an x-ray to fix a broken bone, an IT professional needs to be able to see a problem to fix it. So make sure they're always included. Without them, you're at risk of getting that annoying "works for me" response from the techie down the hallway. Cut that time out by giving it to them on a plate. For example, you can’t print in word any more. Your steps would look like this:
- Open document
- Click ‘File’
- Click ‘Print’
- Select the ‘Office Printer’
- Click ‘Print’
Expected result: Document prints.
Actual result: The printer is in 1000 pieces as I’ve thrown it down the stairs.
Even if you believe there is one person on the other side that understands your internal acronym or shorthand for a system the chances are the first person to see it won't. We're all human beings and we want to get our workload done as soon as possible as our surveilling manager's eyes are looking for the weakest link. If the agent doesn't understand or even hesitates as to what's going on the next task in their vast list that makes sense will come first. Be specific and simple as you would describing how to use an industrial circular saw on a marble top to a 5-year-old, you can’t afford anything to be misunderstood!
Help them help you
Get in the habit of putting as much information on the initial ticket as possible even if you believe they should know this already. You wouldn’t call your regular plumbing firm and not tell them where you live and not which tap of the 16 isn't working because the chances are that the plumber sent has never even heard of you or your house. They wouldn’t be able to fix it despite you giving an exact description of the problem. This is the same for a support desk, especially large ones, so when you’re logging your error that you're getting when exporting your accounts this month make sure you include which web address your browsing to, the name of the account and the period the accounts are for. The agent will have the knowledge and the resource to get it done, they just need the tools.
Relate to people
There will be times you'll have to chase your issues up over the phone as even the most impressive military aircraft carriers have leaks but it's vital not to get angry with that person. Give the story behind your issue and get the person on the other end of the phone to relate to your problems. Once someone is invested in you, you'll be surprised what they'll do once they put the phone down and this motivation will roll on to the next problem you raise.
No one will walk over hot coals for you after a verbal slap over the phone. No one likes things breaking but nothing is invincible, even the revered Nokia 3310 can't survive a hydraulic press, but support teams will do everything they can to get you back to that happy place of man and machine harmony. You just need to help them on the way.