You rely on outside people and services to run your business so receiving help is inevitable. To avoid miscommunication and the frustration that follows, here are seven tips for improving the communication and getting better results faster.
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It takes two to communicate. While we don’t have complete control of the other side of our communication, we can improve how we communicate to improve how we are understood to close the communication gap between us and the person we’re working with.
Here are 7 tips for receiving better support by improving our communication with the people and services you depend on to make your business efficient, productive and secure:
1. Get to the point
Be as succinct as possible. Provide the facts. This will eliminate any confusion.
The best method for getting to the point is pictures. If at all possible, provide images or screenshots.
I encourage clients to take pictures or videos with their phones and email, text, or upload them to their support team. Recently, a client emailed me a video of a flickering monitor. They have reported the issue a couple times, but every time we investigated it, the monitor was working fine. Seeing the problem in action saved both us and them from further frustration and the problem was solved.
Another method for capturing images of error messages or other program anomalies is to take a screenshot. To do so on Windows, press the Windows key and the Print Screen key on your keyboard at the same time. This will copy the image to the “clipboard” where you can then paste the image into an email or a document that you can send to your support team. You can also use the free Windows Snipping Tool to “Copy and Paste” the image.
2. Be Available
Be available to answer any questions. Resolving issues can take time. If you are unable to reach a technician or need to follow up with a technician at a later time, schedule an appointment. Let them know you’re availability
3. Be patient
When you call a support team, they are doing a couple of activities:
- Documenting the call and his activities for future reference. This is so that if the issue or request isn’t completed during the call, another technician can review the case and pick up where the other left off.
- Finding a solution to the matter at hand.
There are situations that are challenging to resolve and take time. Here are some additional tips for those situations.
- Get an ETA for when someone will be getting back to you.
- Understand who to call, if someone isn’t back to you in the timeframe earlier provided.
- Document the decisions and/or any action items necessary for follow up (The template will help with that)
4. Use your natural language
It’s the support team’s responsibility to understand your business and how you work, including business terminology. The support team will ask questions if they need clarification.
This is also an opportunity for them to understand what you do and how your company does its work. The more they understand you the better support you will receive and faster issues or projects will be delivered.
5. One issue at a time
Introducing multiple topics will distract both yours and the technician’s attention from the original matter. This may seem to contradict my next point to ask questions. However, asking questions related to the current issue, is different than introducing new, unrelated issues.
I have done this many times and it has always led to a disappointing outcome. Now, whenever is feel myself begin my question with “While I have you on the phone….”, I stop and make a note to ask later, after this task has been completed. It keeps everyone on point and focused.
6. You are an expert
You are the expert for your business (how it works, the objectives, the people, and process flows). You know more about your job, area of focus, or part of the business than any support technician will.
It may be foreign to you, but as an expert, you need to understand as much of what the technology person is doing, so ask questions. Ask a lot of questions. Ask questions like the following:
- What does [insert tech term here] mean?
- Will the workflows, people or other programs be adversely affected?
- How will the issue, fix, or change affect your business?
- If an issue, what triggered the issue?
- How could the issue have been avoided in the first place?
I’ve been known to side track a technician or consultant from their original task because I ask a lot of questions. I’ve since learned to be patient and wait until the task is completed before asking. However, the devil is in the details and understanding those details is critical to making your job easier and your business a success.
7. Use a template
Between the questions you’re asked or being overwhelmed by pressure of the situation, having a template will help you keep focused and the technology person on task. The format is simple:
- Help desk contact number or email:
- Your company account number or id
- Describe the problem or situation
- Urgency of the matter
- Describe what you are trying to accomplish
- If appropriate, describe what you were doing just before the issue occurred
- Capture the Case/Ticket Number
- What is the follow up action, if any
While it can be frustrating to work with technology people, these seven tips will help you consistently provide better communication so you’re able to get the best results from the people and services your business relies on and keep your business operating at its best.
What additional advice or warnings do you have for working with a technology person desk?
Let me know your thoughts.