Get Better Tech Support… By Thinking Like a News Reporter!

Business news and a coffeeWhen we provide tech support, our goal is always to resolve your issues as quickly as possible.  Of course, when we work with clients who know how to communicate effectively, it can dramatically reduce the amount of time it takes to solve their problems.

If you’re not that familiar with computers, you might not feel comfortable talking about your technical issues. The good news is that you don’t need to be a tech expert to speak our language! Whether you’re sending a ticket by email or talking on the phone, you can get great results by using some of the same tricks that good news reporters do tell important new stories.  Here are some quick tips that can help.

#1. Put the most important information first

A good news story always starts with a brief headline that gets right to the point. Likewise, when you report a problem to your IT service provider, you should start the same way; by outlining the problem first.

If you’re submitting a ticket by email, for example, include the problem in the subject line of the message.  If you’re leaving a voice mail, give a description of the problem right off the bat instead of waiting for a call back.   Try to start with a simple sentence that outlines the main point of your story before getting into  more detail; by cutting straight to the heart of the matter right from the start, you’ve already “prepped” the technician to better understand the rest of the story.

#2. Avoid bias

Journalists believe that it’s their job to report the facts — not their own feelings.  They know that emotional language can interfere with effective communication and hurt their credibility as a news source.  That kind of objectivity can also be useful when you’re reporting on an IT issue.

Computer problems can be frustrating. Many people think that expressing anger will help to convey the urgency of their support issue and encourage tech support to fix it faster.  On the contrary, a good technician will understand that everyone is upset when they call in for support, whether they express it or not, and prioritize his response based on need — the same way a doctor  needs to prioritize patients in the ER.

The best way to get your technician’s top priority is to calmly explain what kind of impact the issue will have on your business.  When you provide them with the facts of the case, they’ll be able to develop a clear time frame for resolution and ensure that your issue is prioritized correctly.

#3. Add all the relevant details

When writing a news story, a good journalist is always mindful of the fact that their audience may only be hearing about a particular issue for the first time.  As such, they will always provide supporting information to bring the reader up to speed on current events.

Your IT service provider deals with a high volume of calls every day, so it’s pretty confusing to get a ticket that says, “It’s broken!”  As a result, they’ll need to dig through old records or spend time going back and forth with you before they can start problem solving.  To get the fastest response to your issue, make sure that any message you leave for tech support contains these six points: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How.  Avoid lengthy paragraphs of text — just a few key points is all it takes to give them the context they need.

 #4. Add a picture!

Sometimes, it helps to send along a picture of your issue.  This is particularly useful when you encounter any error messages; instead of going through the painstaking process of typing out the whole message, you can simply take a quick snapshot of your screen and then send it along to tech support for reference.

If you’ve never tried taking a screenshot before, we recommend giving it a try:

1) Hit the Print Screen button to save a snap shot of your screen

2) Open up a blank email message

3) Press Ctrl+V to paste the image into your message