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Todd Henderson, GRC IT Help Desk - Customer Support
- Check device event logs, if possible (for example: Windows 10 'perfmon' or Apple event logs) for a "snapshot" of the current state of the device -- this log can provide additional context.
- Look for an error # or code - useful for tracking down an official support document.
- Try to go directly to the vendor / software provider's support documentation whenever possible.
- You will likely develop a sense of "reliable" or "credible" support sources as you deal with common issues, but this takes time and experience.
- When working with a user or client -- don't guess! Only suggest known solutions.
- Be patient with clients.
- Keep in mind that people rely on their computer for many key tasks at work and in their day-to-day lives. Anxiety/stress when something isn't working with a computer or device is normal.
What search tools do you use?
- Microsoft Knowledge Base
- Wikipedia - for definitions & terminology checks
- Google - to look up issues / error codes
- Be aware there is a lot of amateur information out on the web.
Jessica Chan, GRC IT Help Desk - Customer Support
- If possible, have the client send you / locate yourself any screenshots of issues, error messages, or other diagnostic information.
- The more specific, the better. System or device logs are helpful.
- If possible, obtain specific descriptions of when the issue happened (time/date) and for how long.
- Pay attention to context -- including OUTSIDE context.
- For example: Does the device have power? Is Amazon AWS experiencing a service outage and you are trying to access a cloud service? (AWS provided cloud storage for roughly 47% of the US market in 2018.)
- Notice patterns -- both in issues and reported solutions.
- Listen for the SCOPE of the question and CONTEXT CLUES -- does it include more than you might first realize?
- Keep in mind: Clients or less-technical-savvy users may lack vocabulary. You can listen for what can be described, and ask for more details: "You are seeing a blue screen-- OK. Does it have any text on it? What does it look like?"
Two examples of "blue screen":
- When working with clients -- Be aware you may want to adjust your language; not all clients will be comfortable with technical terms. Staying calm can also be very helpful!
- Know when to escalate / reach out for outside help.
- Especially when working in a Help Desk type of position, spending too long an issue can keep other clients waiting-- know who you can reach out to for support and/or what your other resources are and use them.