Keys to Troubleshooting and Technical Support

Often times people take technical support for granted.  They just expect it to happen.  I call, you fix my problem.  They don’t think about or expect there to be so much to it.  In the world of computers and software today, systems are complex and intertwined.  This can make troubleshooting and problem resolution highly challenging.

Today’s IT Support specialists work with multiple OS, network and infrastructure, and other software suits all working together, if everything is working correctly, to support a customer’s needs.  But what happens when something goes wrong? How do support professionals find the solution to so many potential problems and their causes?  The key is getting all the right information!

So how do we get the right information to solve complex problems?  It’s easy, we ask questions! Here are the typical questions a support professional should be asking to ascertain the impact of the problem and thus its priority as well as the pertinent information to begin solving the problem:

  • Who experienced the issue? Key to understanding where much of the problem information will come from.
  • Who is the primary contact for this issue? This tells support who from the customer side will manage the follow up and resolution.
  • When was this issue first noticed? Begins the timeline, helps to know where we need to start looking.
  • What system/process/functional area is affected? Helps identify impacted systems and may help in discovering where the problem lies.
  • How many users are directly Impacted? Helps determine scope of problem and priority.
  • Did this work before and if so when was last time it worked? Helps establish whether a change caused the problem.
  • What changes if any have occurred to your system/process/personnel since the last time it worked? Helps narrow what could be impacting the problem.
  • Detailed description of the problem… Vital to understanding the problem itself and getting to a resolution quickly.

All of these are critical to understanding and ultimately correcting the problem.  So next time you call a support team, be patient and understand their questions have purpose and will yield results!

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