After nearly 30 years of working in the industry on the business end of technology failure I can confidently attribute this inevitability to two things: humans and entropy. The first one is obvious – to err is human and the second cause is really more of a cop-out: technology, just like anything, is subject to a certain degree of decay. Sometimes it’s so gradual we don’t notice the slow decline, and occasionally it’s so sudden and random that it feels like a plot twist in a bad spy film. Regardless of the cause, getting it fixed means calling your IT professional. The more prepared you are for the call, the quicker the issue will be resolved. Assuming you’ve tried the things we’ve been training you to do before calling (turning the power on and off, checking your cable connections, etc.), getting prepped prior to the call will help your IT pro get to a resolution that much quicker.
Ten things you can do to get ready for the call
- Get a picture of the error or problem. Smartphone cameras are helpful with this if you can’t get a screenshot on your computer. Make sure it’s in focus and big enough to read any text on screen, then email or text it to us.
- Can’t get a picture? Write down the error message. The exact wording on error messages is VERY important.
- If you can reproduce it (without causing further damage), write down how you got the problem to occur. You can also record a short movie with that omnipresent smartphone.
- If you can’t reproduce it, write down what you were doing when it occurred. Details are important, so doing this as close to the event as possible will save the later struggle of trying to remember details that might be relevant.
- Have associated passwords handy. It’s OK if you don’t know the password – just let us know up front.
- If you’ve done something silly, foolish or dumb, come clean as soon as possible. True IT pros have seen it before and we are paid to be non-judgmental. You might get a lecture afterwards, but we are only trying to save you from future grief.
- If you can’t spend time with us to troubleshoot – let us know up front so we can schedule the work accordingly.
- We know it’s urgent but if you can sit back and really evaluate how urgent, it helps us prioritize your call.
- If possible, prepare yourself and your computer for our call: save and close unrelated work and applications. If you are likely to be interrupted, let us know up front so we can prep for that possibility.
- Take a deep breath and smile, even if you are ready to tear your hair out. We are here to help, and we can usually get to a resolution faster when everyone is calm.