Be efficient at getting help

Asking for help is easy, isn’t it?

You just come out and say what you’re asking about, don’t you? Well yes and no. While this article is tailored to asking for technical help, some aspects may apply in other fields.

Do your research.

By this, I mean don’t aimlessly ask if you haven’t at least searched for an answer on your own. There’s a TON of information on the web that can help. There’s also a ton of misleading information, see our article on this by clicking here. In any case, most people love to see that someone tried before asking for help. It brings value to you! Of course, if you’re paying for a service such as ours, you kinda pay for us to do the research for you, so that company excluded. 🙂

Be Specific. Be Articulate.

I’m pretty sure we’ve all had this happen to us at some point. Someone sends a generic email with no subject, and asks for help in a very vague manner where you need to ask for clarification. If you’re asking for support, be as detailed as possible. We need to know the nitty gritty! Make sure your subject is that, a subject. A brief statement about what your message is about. Also be specific using the correct terminology to the best of your knowledge. Answer the following questions in the body. What did you do? What did you expect to happen? What actually happened? When relevant, include screenshots. They can be the difference between an instant answer and ten emails back and forth.

Be Available to Receive the Help.

No joke. In all my years of life, I’ve had plenty of people send a request for help, get a near instant reply and NEVER answer. Now this is an extreme end of the spectrum, but the goal is to get your issue solved in a reasonable amount of time.  If you’re communicating by email, make sure to do so in a reasonable amount of time, 30 mins to 2 hours, not every 48 hours. If you’re communicating by chat or text. Be in the now. If someone is remotely helping you, be present and prepared to show the problem.

Follow instructions and pay attention.

There are too many times where I see problems arise because instructions weren’t followed closely enough, steps were skipped or something of the like. If your problem is important enough to be solved, it’s important enough to follow the instructions closely that are given to you. Whether it’s your accountant telling you how to file your taxes or your managed service provider troubleshooting an issue, don’t skip ahead.

Understand that nothing and no one is perfect.

There’s no such thing as perfection. Technology breaks randomly, that’s guaranteed. Best practices may change over time as well. Don’t expect who you’re asking for help to wave a magic wand and fix everything. Some fixes may come in an instant, some over time.



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