Tips for solving IT problems quickly

Tips for solving IT problems quickly

Graeme Wilson November 20, 2014 Managed Services, Sentrian One

Who, What, How: Get the facts for faster support response

When your email won’t open, or the printer seems permanently offline, it’s tempting to pick up the phone and scream for help straight away.  Taking a few moments to collect all the information a Service Desk Engineer will need to identify and solve your issue can actually save you time in the long run.

First up, let’s talk about when to ask for help.  Sometimes it’s pretty obvious – when there’s repeatedly an error message on screen stopping you from completing your task.  Other times you might not even consider it an issue at all – you might have noticed that your computer seems to run slowly from time to time or that your fan is almost always noisy.  Although they’re not show-stoppers, flagging anything out of the ordinary sooner rather than later can stop small issues from growing into big issues down the track.  It can also allow “preventative maintenance” to be scheduled well in advance, rather than waiting until it sparks a high priority incident.

So, now that you’ve decided to log a support call, here’s an overview of what we’ll ask you for on the Service Desk.

Who are you?

Did you know we have about 120 “Johns” in our client database?  And nearly the same number of “Pauls” and more than a few “Georges” (no "Ringos" though).  

Before getting into the details of your issue, please speak clearly when giving us your first and last names and the organisation you work for.  If your company operates over a number of sites, please let us know which office you are working in.

The person you speak with when logging the call won’t necessarily be the engineer who sets to work to resolve your issue.  We’ll need to get current contact details for you, and preferably not email if that’s the reason for your call!

What’s the problem?

Be as short and specific as possible in describing what the issue is.  “This PC sucks” (as tempting as that may be) is not as helpful in identifying and solving the cause of your issue as something like “My PC is running really slow when working on files from the server”.

How can you tell?

This is where we can get into the details of the issue you are experiencing.  Some of the questions we might ask you include:

  • When did this issue start happening?
  • Is this the first time, or has it happened before?
  • Is it only you experiencing this issue? Does it affect everyone in the organisation, or a definable group of people?
  • How does this issue impact on your business?  If this is a high priority then make sure we know.
  • What have you tried already (if anything) to address the issue?
  • Is there anything you can think of that might have caused this issue?  Come on, be honest.  If you opened a strange attachment in your email, or connected your laptop to a public hotspot, this would be really helpful information to have.
  • Have any third-parties installed or updated software on your system?
  • Is this the only issue you are experiencing?  Even issues that seem unrelated may point to a common cause.
  • If there’s an error message, do you have a screen shot of it?  This can be really helpful….but a screen shot on its own without any context for the issue?….not so much.


If your issue is urgent – call us on 1300 791 678 any time.  If it’s not so urgent, you might find that emailing your issue to gives you the time to fully consider all the questions raised here and help us to help you resolve the issue as quickly as possible.


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