Why do Application Support ask so many questions?

Published: 26th June 2017

Having worked on several Support Helpdesks over 15 years, I’ve acquired a lot of knowledge about how different businesses work and how there are many ways of utilising the same piece of software.

As part of the support team, it’s my job to identify where customers are experiencing issues and work with them to find a solution.

It’s all about the questions…

Firstly, I always say to clients there is never a “silly” question, as I know from my own experience that sometimes you know what you want to do, you just can’t quite remember how to do it. It’s all about being a good listener and demonstrating an understanding approach, and when it comes to asking you questions there is no such thing as to much information!

Let’s say a customer calls to ask “why is my Trial Balance report not returning any results and displaying an error on screen?” We would ask a sequence of questions to identify the underlying problem.

  1. When did the report last work?
  2. Is it just this report that displays the error?
  3. If you output the report to a file, printer or email, do you get the same error?
  4.  Are your colleagues experiencing the same error when running the same report?
  5. If you login to the software on another workstation and run the same report, are you still experiencing the same error?

So why do we ask all these questions?

Q1: It is important to establish when the report last worked, to give us a timescale which may have some bearing after the other questions are answered.

Q2: Is to identify if the fault is solely in relation to that specific report. This helps establish if a setting or field within the report could be causing the error.

Q3: Could the error be due to a network communication fault or anti-virus software running whilst generating the report.

Q4: Is it workstation or login specific.

Q5: Determine whether the error is workstation or login specific.

It is never an issue if a customer cannot answer some of the questions we ask. The support team are purely asking all these questions to aid identifying the cause of the issue, and to provide quickest resolution possible.

It’s a pleasure to support our customers and remember, we are always here to help.