Getting to the bottom of a system issue can sometimes feel like playing 20 questions, so it’s crucial to ask the right questions first if you want to discover the root problem quickly.
- If you’re talking to someone or emailing them, listen or read carefully and take notes.
- When they’re done, proceed with questions that either has a yes/no answer or can be answered quantifiably (e.g., “How many times did this happen?”). This approach can move things along and cut down on ambiguous responses.
- The key is to find out the “who, what, where and when” of the problem:
- Who is having this issue? Does the issue affect just one person or many people?
- What exactly was trying to do the user? what type of error message was the user getting?
- Where the user was when the incident happens. Was the user in the All Document tab? in a specific folder?
- When the user had this issue? Did it occur right after a significant event on the computer or the network?
- There are specific questions you can ask to drill down beneath general statements like “I can’t log in. or "I can upload a document."
- What type of device the user is using? PC, MAC or mobile device? Is the PC power on?
- What type of browser they are using? IE, Safari, Firefox, Chrome. Learn more about Browser specific issues here.
Once you’ve got a grasp on the issue, try repeating your understanding of the problem so that you’re both on the same page as to what’s wrong. It’s a good idea to use some of the same languages they used and avoid using complex tech terminology. Ideally, this will help remove potential confusion related to the issue.