For a business to run smoothly in this digitally-driven era, quality IT support is essential. However, if you ask the average manager or employee, they’ll tell you that the quality of a company’s IT support lies solely in the hands of the technicians and IT consultants.
The truth is that you and your team also have the power to improve the level of support you receive. This is true regardless of whether you have an in-house IT department or outsource your helpdesk support to a Managed Service Provider (MSP) like Invotec.
It’s all well and good to have a dedicated team of experts on-hand to provide solutions to your tech-based problems. But if your team doesn’t know when to call on their expertise or how best to approach them, then you’ll be failing to leverage the full potential of your IT environment.
How to Talk IT Support
To ensure you and your employees are getting the most out of the tech experts in your life, we’ve developed these six simple tips for communicating efficiently and effectively with your IT support team.
1. Follow correct ticket logging etiquette
With crucial business processes on the line, it’s essential for IT consultants to use a kind of triage when approaching their daily tasks. If an entire system is down, this issue obviously needs to be prioritised over the fact that Greg in accounts is having trouble updating his email signature. For this reason, non-urgent problems should generally be submitted in writing via your ticket portal or app. On the flip side, any issue that is interrupting your ability to work warrants a phone call.
Within any given team, you will generally find people who always submit tickets via the app, even if it’s urgent, and others who always call, even if the problem is minor. This can interfere with your IT support team’s ability to effectively prioritise their work and could lead to delays in addressing urgent issues. So, be sure to train new hires (and remind existing staff) on correct ticket logging etiquette.
2. Provide all the relevant details up-front
Vague or incomplete tickets cause a lot of wasted time in IT departments – time that could be better spent on perfecting your systems and preventing issues before they arise. The same goes for phone calls made when you aren’t fully prepared with all the relevant details.
To avoid this costly waste of resources, make sure everyone in your team knows the following essential ingredients for a complete ticket:
3. Basic details and contact information
While it may seem obvious, basics like the employee’s full name, department, and contact details are often forgotten. Aside from these core details, it’s also crucial to include the precise details of the program, app, or hardware in which the problem is occuring. Don’t forget to include the date and time of the incident.
What’s the context?
With the basics covered, it’s time to explain what you were trying to do and what went wrong. Did anything else happen before, during, or after the issue arose? Did you get the blue screen of death, click on a link in an email, or see a virus warning?
If this is an issue you or your colleagues have experienced before, provide details of previous events.
Screenshots can get you a faster resolution
Screenshots are an easy and effective way to show IT support what you’re experiencing. So if you can capture some that demonstrate the issue you’re having, attach them to your ticket. This is particularly helpful if you’re getting an error message, as it will allow you to convey the precise message you’re seeing on your screen.
Have there been any developments?
Be sure to cover any developments you’re aware of. Has the problem changed over time? Perhaps a program was freezing occasionally, but now it’s not letting you open it at all. If there’s been a timeline of events, cover it as succinctly as you can.
Have you done anything to troubleshoot the problem?
While you don’t want to write a three-page report covering every aspect of the incident, don’t be shy about covering anything you think is relevant, including any steps you took to try to resolve the issue yourself.
Failing to cover all these details in your ticket will mean your IT workers have to contact you to obtain the missing information. This can impact both your productivity and theirs while also delaying the resolution of your issue.
3. Consider your environment when calling IT support
With many companies making the shift to a hybrid workforce, calls to IT can come from home offices, cafés, coworking spaces, and sometimes, halfway across the world. Whether you’re making a call to your company’s in-house IT department or an outsourced IT support team, it’s crucial to ensure that you’re in a suitable place to communicate clearly.
The noise of cafés or busy offices can be amplified over the phone, and we all know the frustration of trying to understand someone who has terrible phone reception.
4. Be available after sending a ticket
If your need isn’t urgent and you’ve logged a ticket rather than calling IT support, it’s still possible that they’ll need to contact you. The technician may have some questions to ask you, or they may want to have you check that the solution they’ve provided is working on your end.
For this reason, it’s important to keep your notifications on, accept incoming calls, and keep an eye on your email or ticket portal. This will ensure your IT consultant is able to resolve the issue quickly and efficiently.
5. Follow-up etiquette
Whether you call an IT consultant or submit a ticket, you should be given some kind of reference number. This is true whether you’re working with the IT crew down the hall or an MSP across town. Ticket management systems are central to the delivery of effective IT support, and they’re just as important for users as they are for technicians. So, always have your reference number handy and quote it when following up on a ticket.
There’s no set time frame you must wait before following up. However, if the problem is persisting or worsening, don’t hesitate to get in touch. You may also wish to follow up if there are any new developments on your end or if new information arises that may shed light on the IT issue.
If you work with an enterprise-level MSP, you should be able to track the progress being made on your ticket in their service portal. This is an excellent time-saver as it means you can avoid making unnecessary phone calls. Of course, if your IT department doesn’t offer such a feature or you feel the issue requires more urgent attention than it’s receiving, there’s nothing wrong with requesting an update.
6. Do your best to keep your cool
Tech troubles are frustrating at the best of times, but in the wake of the pandemic, researchers have found that we’re even more susceptible to getting majorly stressed out by IT issues. This makes sense considering our devices were our lifelines, our income sources, and our only connection to the outside world during lockdowns.
Given these findings, it’s important to be patient when dealing with IT dramas. The technician supporting you didn’t design the technology that’s causing you grief, and sometimes, it takes a few different tactics for them to land on the right solution. They want to find a speedy and effective resolution as much as you do, so consider yourselves on the same team and do your best to avoid unleashing your frustration on them.
If you’re interested in outsourcing your business IT needs to an MSP that can provide 24/7 support, contact Invotec today. Calling 1300 468 683 will get you straight through to one of our friendly IT experts who will be happy to take you through your options.