How to generate an efficient support request

 Requesting support is sometimes tricky, especially in the heat of the moment when you have a critical issue. However, the more information you provide in your support request, the quicker it will be resolved. To coin a phrase 'Help me to help you!' Thanks Tom ...

 

- identify the problem accurately

- Use existing resources at hand to find the answer to your issue eg. FAQ, manual, forums, blogs, web searches, etc.

- use a start-to-end process to check each aspect of the problematic system and proceed logically

- do not make assumptions as to the cause of an issue; check every aspect

- who, what, when?

 

When sending a support email

  • - use meaningful, issue-specific subject lines
  • - make it easy to reply
  • - write in clear, grammatically correct, correctly spelled and concise language
  • - limit each request to one specific subject rather than asking numerous unrelated questions
  • - if a request for configuration changes, provide all information including IP addressing, login information and any other specifics
  • - explain the steps you took to reach the problematic outcome
  • - if you have error messages, send these in text or image format; if images, use jpg or png ( not MS Word or Excel)
  • - send questions and attachments in accessible and standard formats ( eg. PDF or text )
  • - be precise and informative about your issue
  • - describe the symptoms not your guesses
  • - describe your symptoms in chronological order
  • - provide documentation relating to your system
  • - courtesy never hurts, and always helps
  • - supply a solution if you've found one
  • - use proper email etiquette
    • don't use uppercase excessively
    • don't repeat
    • check your spelling/grammar
    • don't cc addresses that are not directly related to the email and other recipients ( use bcc )
    • use text email where possible ( instead of rich text or html )

 

More information:

COMPTIA A+ troubleshooting process

GCF Basic Troubleshooting

Spiceworks 4 steps to troubleshooting