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7 Things To Remember When Asking For Help

Do you ever submit a support ticket, anticipating the quick reply to some issue that you’ve tried in vain to solve yourself … only to be disappointed with the reply? Perhaps they didn’t fully answer your questions or they replied with more questions?

I’ve encountered some pretty dodgy support desks, but I must admit, 99.5% of the support tickets I’ve submitted have been answered promptly, friendly and – most importantly – they’ve solved the issue.

But there are a few key pointers in HOW YOU ACTUALLY ASK FOR HELP that will assist in you getting a useful reply:

  1. Be as clear as possible and give all the necessary information, including relevant URLs or site names. For example, “I can’t get the HTML to work right!”, or “Keep getting error messages with my website” don’t give enough information. Although you know exactly what website or task you’re referring to, the support staff reading your message may not know. The only way they can help you is to find out precisely what the problem is.
  2. If you receive a specific error message or number, include this in your support request.
  3. When you have multiple questions, begin each question on a new line, or even leave an extra space between lines. When you have several questions one after another, all in the one paragraph, it can be difficult for the support team member to read and questions can be easily missed.
  4. Keeping points 1, 2 and 3 in mind, don’t ramble. Keep your request as concise as possible while giving the necessary and relevant facts. Quite often, dot points or bullet points are fine, so long as all the information is there.
  5. If you need to register your email address in order for the support ticket response to be sent to you, please check that you’ve entered the correct email address. Then double-check it! It’s incredibly frustrating when someone asks for help and you give it, but then the email notification that their ticket has been answered bounces back.
  6. Although you may be frustrated by something that’s not working the way you think it should, support staff are there to help you … not bear the brunt of your frustrations. Try to remain calm and work with the support team to resolve the issues at hand.
  7. Before submitting your support ticket, check that you’ve followed instructions correctly – sometimes we try to do things quickly and mis-read the instructions. (Or think it’s so simple we don’t need to read them). It’s also possible to miss the fact that there even are instructions available. Often you’ll find sites will have tutorials or ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ pages available. Remember to check for these first as you may find the answers here quicker than waiting for a support ticket response – particularly if you are looking for solutions outside of business hours.

An additional tip … remember that support desks are staffed by people, not robots. Politeness and ‘please’ and ‘thank-you’, while not essential, are usually smiled upon. It’s also nice to be able to address the reply to a specific person, so please remember to sign off with your name.