By Steve Huskey, Associate Manager, Professional Services
"I don't think
you'll ever have a perfect world because we humans are prone to error, and so
we're always in search of an upgrade."
~ Henry Rollins
In a perfect world, the temperature is always 72 degrees, it
only rains when you're asleep, all the traffic lights are green, and your
software never crashes. But - newsflash!
- you and I don't live in a perfect world.
Sometimes it rains, sometimes we get caught at a red light, and
sometimes, software crashes. I can't
help much with weather or traffic lights, but I do have some suggestions for
how to help Customer Support help you when you have a software issue.
Research your issue.
Chances are, if it's happened to you, it's happened to someone else
before. Check the KnowledgeBase, the
training materials, and the Users' Guides to see if you can find any
information to help with your issue.
This can be especially useful if you receive a message you're unfamiliar
with or just need to know how to do a specific action.
Be specific & give lots of details.
Here is an example of an unhelpful Support conversation.
Customer: I'm having a problem with my
Me: OK, I can help. What's the problem?
Customer: It isn't working.
Unfortunately, we need a little more to go on.
Are you getting an error or some other message? What specifically is going wrong? Exactly
what did you do before the problem occurred?
The more relevant details you can provide, the more likely we will be
able to duplicate and then correct the issue.
A picture is worth a 1000 words.
Along the same lines, if you can provide pictures of error messages or other
relevant windows, that is always helpful.
It isn't always easy to remember and then tell us what the message said
-- and sometimes one word can make a difference. If you can send a picture, that removes some
of the variability and makes it more likely we are chasing the right issue.
Make it reproducible.
"If it only happens once, it ain't a problem." We likely won't be able to fix an issue we
(or you) can't duplicate. And even if we
try, if we can't duplicate the problem, we can't ever know for sure that
anything we did corrected it -- even if it goes away for a while. There is probably a certain set of keystrokes
or sequence of windows that you go through when you get the error vs. when you
don’t get the error. See if you can
retrace your steps when the error occurs and it's fresh in your mind. I know
it’s a pain to have to interrupt your work flow to trouble shoot a software
problem, but that’s about the only way we’ll be able to fix it.
Use an accurate severity code.
If everything is critical, then nothing is critical. If your system is completely down or if there
is a critical business impact, then by all means we need to mark that issue as
critical. If a word is misspelled on a
message or on a window, that is usually not as critical. Of course, if you don't know for sure, use
the Severity code you deem fit -- we'll take that into consideration as we
review the issue.
Give an e-mail address where you can be reached.
Even if you call in and leave a message, please leave an e-mail address where
you can be reached. There may be a
KnowledgeBase article or some other answer we can provide by e-mail. If we have your e-mail address, that can save
a step when it comes time to get the response to you.
Sometimes, things go worgn . . . er, wrong. When they do and you need to contact the
Customer Support Center, keep these tips in mind. They can speed up the support process and
help us help you.