Get Help Quick: How To Submit Support Tickets To Help Desks

Here at AngellEye, we received a support ticket the other day. Here is what it said:

“I installed the plugin. It didn’t work.”

I know, right? This ticket is almost completely useless to our customer support team because it says virtually nothing about the source of the problem, or how it can be fixed. Support tickets like this generally generate a lengthy back-and-forth between IT support teams and the affected user, as the support team tries to elicit even the most basic information about the issue. 

This is a frustrating process for everyone involved, and not least because submitting good support tickets is not that hard. In this guide, we’ll look at some basic techniques that allow you to write better support tickets, and ultimately get your issue sorted out more quickly.

1) Before You Send a Support Ticket

The first and most critical step when it comes to submitting a support ticket is to work out if you need to submit one in the first place. 

Let me let you into a little secret. Most IT support pros do two things when it comes to solving your problem. They turn your device off, then on again. If that doesn’t work, they ask Google for a solution. So before you contact them, make sure you’ve at least completed these steps. 

The truth is that if you are using a popular system with an active user community, somebody has probably encountered your problem before. Even doing some basic research on the way that AngellEye works via our articles like, an introduction to PayPal or how to reduce the risk of PayPal account holds, solves most of the issues that our users experience.

2) Replicate The Issue

Secondly, you should try to replicate the problem you have encountered. It’s difficult to fix a problem that has mysteriously disappeared or one that only occurs infrequently. 

Replicating the issue can be more difficult than it sounds, though. As research firm BlueTree.ai points out in its explanation of SaaS business models, a lot of businesses today rely on a vast array of third-party software solutions, and this can make diagnosing a problem difficult. Similarly, as networks are becoming more complex they are also getting more difficult to manage, and a problem in just one part of your network infrastructure can have knock-on effects on seemingly unconnected devices.

The key, therefore, is to try and replicate the problem across as many devices, operating systems, locations, and situations as possible. This helps isolate the source of the problem.

3) Provide The Correct Details

Once you are sure that you need to send a support desk ticket and have tried all the reasonable steps to fix the issue yourself, you can begin to write your helpdesk ticket.

Here’s the secret: the helpdesk doesn’t need all the details about your problem, just the relevant ones. You should specify when and where the problem occurred, and explain what you were trying to do when it came up.

There are also some basic pieces of information that should always be on your ticket:

  • The device you are using (iPhone, PC, etc.)
  • The operating system you are using
  • The browser type you are using, and the version

Beyond this, there are some critical details that are easy to find and greatly helps the helpdesk team. 

  • If your problem generates any error codes, copy and paste these into your helpdesk tickets. Error codes are designed for exactly this purpose and are a shortcut to a quick and accurate diagnosis.
  • Depending on the system you are using, you can also pull log files and send these as an attachment to your helpdesk ticket. This helps IT support staff see exactly the state of your systems when the error occurred, and allows them to replicate the problem.

4)  Go Further

There are also a number of other pieces of information that you can include with your helpdesk ticket that helps your problem get solved more quickly.

  • In many cases, screenshots that illustrate the issue you are having is of great help to IT support staff. Screenshots are also a far quicker way of communicating what your specific issue is, and can save you a lot of time in describing exactly what your error looks like.
  • Another incredibly useful addition to your helpdesk support tickets can be video demos of you encountering the problem. There are plenty of free, easy-to-use video recording solutions out there, and attaching a video to your ticket lets support staff see exactly what the problem is.

In addition to speeding up the resolution of your problem, including this extra information also has another benefit: the support staff likes you, and therefore, prioritizes your ticket over those where they have to chase users for extra information.

5) Be Honest

Last but definitely not least, be honest. In many cases, users feel guilty that they have “broken” a system through their own unfamiliarity with it, and are therefore reticent to share all of the details about how they have been using it.

Holding back in this way can be a real problem for the speedy resolution of IT issues. If your system broke because you were trying to install an untrusted plugin, put that on your ticket. If you think the problem is that you’ve been compromised by online scams, the IT support desk can help protect you from it. 

You Are Not Alone

Ultimately, you should see your IT support staff as partners. Rather than expecting them to know everything about how you are using your systems, you should explicitly tell them what has happened. Rather than feeling that you’ve broken their software, you should see yourself as an advanced tester of it. 

Writing helpdesk support tickets correctly, in short, allows you to communicate effectively with your IT support, and to work together to fix the problem.

Ludovic Rembert: "Ludovic Rembert is a security analyst, researcher, and founder of PrivacyCanada.net. He spent his career (before semi-retirement) as a network security engineer working in both industry and academia, and more recently has begun freelance writing on a variety of technical topics.”
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