Helping Your Help Desk Help You

by Jennifer Totilo, Management Team Coordinator, The TNS Group

Despite the average person’s growing knowledge of technical information, many workers still rely heavily on their company’s help desk to resolve any and all computer related issues that arise during the work day. It only requires an error message to pop up during an important presentation for people to realize the necessity of having a help desk at their beck and call. Now, if you have a help desk that is off-site (a.k.a. a client service desk), the ability for you to explain your issues is a bit more difficult than bringing your non-functioning computer over to them and pleading for their assistance. You may have to send an email or call them with your issue, but what information would be beneficial to provide? What details does your help desk need to get the problem resolved as quickly as possible?

Below are some questions that end-users should answer when reporting an issue. This ensures that the help desk has all of the necessary details.

What are you experiencing versus the expected outcome? What system is it occurring on?
This is where you start providing the details. What is the exact issue that is occurring that is preventing you from working on the task at hand, and what is the task that you are trying to accomplish? Also, what is the system that the issue is occurring on? Is the issue occurring while you are on your laptop, on your PC, or on your mobile device?

When did it start and how often does it occur?
It is vital for your help desk team to know when the issue started occurring, and the frequency in which it occurs. Information like this can pinpoint the source of the problem and assist with finding a solution. The source of the issue may be a simple update that can easily be reversed and have things back to working order in no time.

Where are you experiencing the issue?
If you find that you are able to access your email at work, but not at your home, your help desk will have a different repertoire of solutions that should be able to fix the issue, as opposed to email working at home rather than work, or not working in either location.

Is there a screen shot you can send in?
If you get an error message that pops up, quickly take a screen shot of the image. It is far easier for yourself and the help desk team to see the pop-up, versus you trying to recall the message that arose. If an error pops up on your PC, press the PrtSc button (or Alt + PrtSc), should you use a MAC press Command-shift-3. You should be able to capture the message and email it over to your help desk for resolution.

How quickly does this need to be resolved?
Your help desk knows that any issue preventing you from doing work is something that needs to be resolved, but if you can, try to realistically set the urgency of this request so they can handle it accordingly. If you have to give a presentation in 15 minutes and your computer is not functioning at all, let them know and they will try to accommodate. However, if it is something like you can’t print to one specific printer but have access to others, could it wait a little while?

When will you be available to talk?
One of the biggest issues help desks encounter is end-users that are unavailable. This means the help desk cannot resolve the issue. They may have a solution that will fix all the issues, but unless you are at your desk to grant them remote access or to be a remote pair of hands, they probably cannot do anything. By providing your availability to speak and your contact information, you can make it easier to ensure your problem will be resolved quickly.