Get faster solutions during frustrating times

Russ Levanway, CEO, Tektegrity

This month I’m passing along some tips and hints about how customers can contribute to successful technical support experiences, courtesy of TekTegrity Service Manager Jeff Yuhas.

Eliminate the obvious.

Before you call, check the easy things. Yes, sometimes the real problem really is something like, “Oops! We unplugged my external drive to plug in the vacuum!” So take a peek for anything obvious. Extra cords lying around? A cordless mouse or keyboard that needs a battery? Is your power strip on?

One common piece of advice is to reboot your machine and see if that fixes the problem. That’s often a great idea. But don’t start turning things off and on randomly. Don’t reboot things that other people rely on, such as a router or modem. And most importantly, DON’T REBOOT THE SERVER! If you suspect a server problem and you don’t wear a wizard’s hat, get help from your network administrator or support tech.

Call a friend.

When you do need to make a call for support, the best thing to remember is that you and your support tech are on the same team. You both want to find a solution as quickly and efficiently as possible. Here are some ways to contribute to a smooth and satisfying experience.

Make sure you’re near the machine and able to devote your full attention to the call.

Note the problem you’re having so you can describe it accurately. Are you getting an error message? Take a screen shot or jot it down.

Share your symptoms, not your diagnosis. A before and after scenario is helpful. “Usually, when I do X, Y happens. Today, when I do X, Z happens.” A tech follows specific procedures to avoid a misdiagnosis and prevent costly errors.

If you’ve already tried something on your own, be willing to try it again, following the tech’s directions. The way you do it and the way your tech does it can be slightly different, or maybe your tech wants to monitor something as you do it.

Be ready for questions. How many times this has happened? Is it happening to others in your office? Have you called about this before? Have there been any changes to your network since your last call? Your answers can save a lot of troubleshooting time.

Full disclosure.

Could the new application you installed be the culprit?  Make sure to let us know of new, recent changes that were made to your system.  Sometimes, this may be the valuable clue your support team needs to find the solution.

Be open to change.

Sometimes your IT pros will make suggestions to help prevent future problems. If they recommend new equipment or another provider for related services, don’t assume there’s an ulterior motive. Getting a new piece of hardware or relying on an established network of providers who work well together can minimize downtime and increase efficiency.

Russ Levanway is the CEO of TekTegrity, an IT Managed Services Provider serving the Central Coast and Central Valley. The organization’s Total Systems Management™ (TSM) service model provides preventative IT support at fixed monthly fee levels. For more information, visit