Help Desk Tips

Whenever my mother has a problem with her computer, she calls me for help. For some unknown reason she doesn’t call her other children nor any of her grandchildren. But more important, she also never calls the Help Desk for the product she needs help with. Why?

She gave me a list of reasons - like not knowing what to ask for, fear that she won’t be able to answer their questions, and uncertainty about what that ‘thingamajiggy’ is actually called. Ultimately, it got down to the fact that she didn’t want to feel stupid.

As I tried to assure her that it’s the job of the technical support technician to ask the right questions to get to the heart of the problem, it occurred to me that perhaps she isn’t alone in her discomfort with calling a support line. So if it turns out that this describes you as well, here are a few tips to help make the experience a little less intimidating:

  • Begin by describing exactly what you are trying to accomplish. Ignore the terms and titles in the software itself and use your everyday words. For example, explain that you need to see a list of customers who donated last year but not this year, but you’re not seeing some names you expect to see. Let the technician guide the discussion to get the specific information they need to troubleshoot the problem.
  • If you begin by describing what you think the problem is, you could wind up spending a lot of time heading in the wrong direction. Instead, describe the symptoms, the actions you took, and the exact error problem which occurred. Let the technician ask for the additional details they need to diagnose the problem.
  • If you’re experiencing a problem but wait to call until you’ve reached the frustration boiling point, it could cause some communication tension and hinder your ability to resolve things quickly. Consider taking a break for a few minutes before you call, or better yet, call when things are still at a simmer.
  • Whenever a support technician responds to your question by directing you to the user assistance area, remember that their goal is to help empower you. We want to fill up your toolkit with as many resources as possible so that you always have the right tool to fix your problem. Sometimes it’s a do-it-yourself project, sometimes you need to call in a technician. Either way, we want you to have 360-degree support.

Remember that you and the Help Desk are on the same side of the issue: you both want the software application to work as smoothly as possible. Working together can help you get back to work and back to business.