This post is intended to be a very cold, hard, lesson for all I.T. technicians. First, read the two scenarios listed below. See if you can find the problems with each of these stories…

Scenario #1:

A customer calls the help desk because they are getting an error screen on their computer, from a web application launched from a web browser, and needs assistance. The help desk technician told the customer to clear out the web browser’s cache and reboot the computer then try again. The customer complied with the instructions but the issue was not resolved, the warning message appeared again. The help desk technician finished completing the trouble ticket then promptly escalated it to the next level of support informing the customer that someone would call them back. When a technician in the next level support team reviewed the notes in the ticket, the only thing present was a note that said, “Standard troubleshooting procedures did not resolve the issue. Escalating ticket. Please contact customer.” There are no other notes or documentation attached to the ticket.

Scenario #2:

A customer calls the help desk because their email application will not send or receive email messages, and they are requesting assistance. When clicking on the Send\Receive button in the email application, an error appears onscreen. The customer informed the technician that they have already restarted the email application twice and the issue is still happening. The customer is not experiencing any other problems with their computer or with any other application. The help desk technician told the customer to close the email application again. The technician then told the customer to run an anti-virus scan as they believed the problem could be related to a virus. The help desk technician then finished completing the trouble ticket then promptly escalated it to the next level of support informing the customer that someone will contact them shortly.

So… did you see the problems in each story? If I was able to lay into one of the technicians behind each of these stories, here are five things that I would say:

1: You wasted not only your time and the customer’s, but also the next level of support.

2: Thanks to the customer having to wait longer to fix the problem, as well as having a technician go through the troubleshooting process all over again, the customer is probably upset more than before. Ever been thrown to the wolves before? You just did that to the next person to contact the customer.

3: A screenshot of the errors are not attached to either ticket, let alone a description of the error. Read #1 again.

4: What “standard troubleshooting process” did you perform? The information in the ticket is completely useless. Read #2 again.

5 You didn’t learn anything about the problem. Learning means enhancing and improving your skillset. The way you worked on this ticket tells me that you simply don’t care.

Can you understand my frustrations here? It is incidents like this that give “I.T. People” a bad name. This type of ‘troubleshooting’ done by a technician is a fast track to termination. I know that good technicians are hard to come by, but even one person with a level head should have been able to properly diagnose, and possibly fix, each problem within 5 minutes. So, with everything being said here are some guidelines that every technician needs to follow:

  • If it isn’t in the ticket, it never happened.
  • Screenshots are golden. Get screenshots of errors whenever possible and document the error message at a minimum.
  • Google is your friend. There is a wealth of information on the web. Searching the TEXT of any error screen will provide some type of search result.
  • Fixing problems actually increases your skillset and knowledge.
  • The customer usually makes money for the company, and I.T. technicians cost the company money. Don’t waste the customer’s time or your time.

As always, leave your comments below if you have anything to add.