Helping Your Support Staff Help You

Anyone who uses a computer will, at some point, inadvertently cause themselves technical difficulty.  It may be that you clicked on an email attachment that infected your computer.  You may have visited a website you shouldn’t have and became infected with malware.  Maybe you spilled a can of Coke on your keyboard and it’s died.

Likelier than not, you will now choose one of two possible routes to solving the problem.  That choice will either increase your frustration until the issue is resolved, or it will enable a quicker recovery and get you back to business.

Choice #1: Embarrassed by the predicament, you tell your IT support person you:

  • Have no idea what happened, you came in this morning and found it like that.
  • You didn’t click on that link / attachment, and will take that to your grave.

Choice #2: Wanting the issue fixed as quickly as possible:

  • You walk the IT person through each step you remember taking before the problem occurred, regardless if you think it is related to the problem or not, and provide them with as much information as possible that can assist in the diagnostic process.

What every computer user must realize is that every action you take on a computer is logged.  One way or another, IT support will begin to reverse engineer the symptoms until they get to the root of the problem.  A professional technician will not judge an end user on the actions they may have taken to create the problem, but they will know if the end user’s claims are legitimate or not, and if they have to spend time unraveling the real problem, that’s time you spend without access to your IT systems.

Just like going to the doctor, it is to your own detriment to omit information, hide symptoms, or falsify your statements.  Of course, lying to your IT support person will not result in your physical demise, but it could very well result in a financial wound.

Providing your technician with as much honest detail as possible will be reflected in the amount of their time, and the organization’s money, that it takes to get you up and running.