Blog, Mac Support, Windows Support 14.5.2012 Comments Off on Helpful Tips When Calling Tech Support

slidecd0b93cff46e49d086e56c089ea071fc1At one time or another, all of us have to deal with malfunctioning equipment or services, which means a call to the Helpdesk. For many of us, it can equate to a painful process involving long waits, frustrating attempts at using jargon we feel unfamiliar with, and solving the problem by trial-and-error. However, there are steps you can take before speaking to Helpdesk to simplify the procedure and make it painless for you.

Write down the error message (if one is shown). Many errors are timed and will vanish before you have time to call through to the Helpdesk. It is important to know exactly what the error said because in most cases this will accurately pinpoint the cause of the problem. Calling it the “screen thingy that went out” is not very helpful…

Include the exact Software application Version number when you call. Many applications have sub-version numbers and those numbers matter to the help desk. This problem may have be resolved in version x.0.2

Try to document the problem by printing the image on the screen, and let the helpdesk agent know you have the screen print.

Search for the error if you can. If you have an internet connection, search the error in a search engine such as Google. You might get the solution to your problem.

Shut down or reboot the computer. Leave it off for a minute or so, then reboot the computer. Restarting is a simple action that solves a lot of random problems, and may save you the trouble of calling the Helpdesk to begin with.

Check that you have the time. Most Helpdesks have ” just enough” staff. Always remember that it is not the operators’ fault; they’re working as hard as they can. If you can’t be seated in front of your computer for ten or fifteen minutes of troubleshooting, it might be best to put off calling until you can. It’s very rare for a helpdesk to solve a problem without your involvement.

Calm Down. The support staff is there to help you. It is very difficult to help when someone is irrational and angry. If you are upset, walk away and call once you have calmed down.

Be polite. If you’re a pleasant person to talk to, the operator is likely to spend longer on your issue instead of just going through the basics. And keep in mind that most Helpdesks record incoming calls – don’t make threats or use abusive language, because there will be a record of it. Besides it’s not the operator’s fault if it’s not working properly, they are trying to help you.

Be aware that many helpdesk/technical support centers require basic troubleshooting steps before moving on to the more “advanced” troubleshooting steps. This is not because they think the problem is basic or that you “Don’t know what you’re doing”. It’s because many problems that seem difficult can be resolved by simple means. It’s also because just because someone says they did something, it doesn’t necessarily mean they did it, or that they did it properly, or in the correct order. The first rule in any troubleshooting scenario is “Assume nothing” and the second is “Start simple, then go up.” Most basic troubleshooting measures take less than 5-10 minutes (at the longest) so just bear with the technician.

Hit CTRL-C (for “copy”) while the error dialog shows. That copies the displayed message into the clipboard, which you can then paste (CTRL-V) into a plain text file, or email to the support helpdesk.

It is also helpful, when emailing tech support, to include a ScreenShot of the error. Sometimes, it is difficult to describe it, or the error code is unable to be copied. You should have a “PrtScn” button on your keyboard, press that, then paste into your “Paint” program, save and email.

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