Step 1 - What Exactly is the Problem?

Modified on: Tue, 8 Aug, 2023 at 9:58 AM

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. 

  1. If you’re talking to someone or emailing them, listen or read carefully and take notes. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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? 
  4. 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.

Attention! To gather more details ask the client to go to this page and send you a print screen or the information:

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.

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