Here are some of the worst ways:
- “Hey, this software is giving me errors! Fix it ASAP!”
Comment: What errors? Which software? Don’t think that the tech guy is in your head.
- “Open this URL: xxxxxxxxxxxxx. Go to A. Then do B. Then click on the green triangle. Then login as XXX/YYY. Try to add ZZZ as a friend. See what’s happening!”
Comment: Why the heck didn’t you just tell me that you were seeing an error?
- “The feature XYZ is not working!!!”
Comment: What exactly is not working? Is it giving an error? Is the screen going blank? How did you understand it’s not working?
- “I’m doing this and that and then the program does that and this”.
Comment: So… why are you telling me this? Is there something wrong in what have happened and if yes, what is wrong?
- “I saw the code, you are using XYZ (recursion, global variable, function instead of class or whatever he thinks is wrong). This is not the right way, I have a friend in Oracle and they are using ZYX!”
Comment: just because the guys in Oracle use something, it doesn’t mean it’s good for your case.
Here is the right way to ask for tech help when there is a problem:
“I have a problem with XYZ. It should do A, but it does B. Here is how to reproduce:… (if asked)”
Or to elaborate a little bit: start with the problem. Don’t tell me to go somewhere and do this or that but tell me what exactly is wrong and why do you think it’s wrong. If there has been an error, copy it and send it to me. If the program is showing a blank screen, tell me it’s a blank screen. If the function is returning wrong result, tell me that and let me know what you think is the right result. Don’t just tell me “it doesn’t work”. This makes the tech support mad and doesn’t bring any useful information. If asked, be ready to explain how to reproduce the error.
Following this pattern you will get your problem solved quickly. Often the tech guys can fix a problem in a minute if you give them the SQL error you have seen on the screen and can lose hours trying to figure out what eventually you could have done so it resulted in some error.
Filed under: Technology Made Simple