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Posted by Eric Klimuk on Nov 21, 2017 5:34:24 PM
Eric Klimuk
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Technical support software/hardware troubleshooting 101

Troubleshooting hardware or software can be hard, but there are a few tips that will go a long way to finding the solution and deliver great customer service.

Never make assumptions

Assuming a problem is one thing or another is a sure way to get into trouble. Agents typically hear about a particular behavior and assume its problem X or problem Y without validating that its actually that issue. This causes a lot of headaches for both the agent and the customer.  No customer wants to try solutions blindly over and over, it’s more guessing than troubleshooting. Before sending a solution to the customer, validate the issue then respond, your customers and case metrics will thank you for it.  

Knowledge base articles only help if they are relevant

I see lots of agents send knowledge base articles that are not relevant. Knowledge base articles are great for self help, but if a customer got to you, you still need to troubleshoot and find the issue before sending anything to the customer.

Internally; knowledge base articles are a great help, but I also see the issue where agents get lazy and use knowledge base articles to troubleshoot. Knowledge base articles should give you ideas and re-affirm your thoughts, but not lead your troubleshooting.

Ask the right questions

Troubleshooting is always about asking the right questions.  When encountering any new issue, I find it crucial to ask the following questions:

- When did this behavior start?
- For how long has this behavior been occurring?
- Have you made any changes to your systems? Network?
- Have you upgraded anything recently?

Gather everything you need

In order to properly find the issue, information gathering is key before making any comments on a solution.  I find the following items are crucial (if relevant):

- Get any relevant log files from the product or system
- Get the complete error messages complete with their context
- Get a read out of the version of the hardware / product i.e. firmware X or software package Y.101

The more information you gather the better you are equipped to find the right solution.

Reproduce the problem

After you have narrowed down the issue, make sure you can reproduce the problem (if relevant). This is to ensure you understand the behavior the customer is experiencing, why it is happening, and allows you to test the solution before sending it to the customer.

Tags: customerexperience, knowledgebase, customerservice, supportbench, helpdesk, troubleshooting, technicalsupport, softwaresupport, hardwaresupport