Six Tips For Better Software Support

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ISix Tips For Better Software Support
November 01, 2017 Steve Huskey Jump to Comments
Six Tips For Better Software Support

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 software.
    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.

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