getting the help you need

Getting the Help You Need

We all have skills and talents where we excel. Where one person shines, another one falters. This same truth applies to “being technical”. Some people have a more natural proclivity and easier navigation system, whereas others find it an ongoing challenge. 

None of this means, however, that you can use the excuse, “I’m not technical”, to avoid moving ahead. We all know in our hearts that, whenever we need assistance, all we have to do is share that need with someone and we usually get a positive response.   

But when it comes to technical issues, a lot of us don’t want to appear “dumb” for not knowing something that we can’t possibly know in the first place because, well….we just don’t know it! 

As you traverse your road to technical, I’d like to share with you how you can learn to do what technical people do when they encounter a roadblock. Here goes… 

It might sound crazy, but, before you call for help, you should know that you might be able to fix the issue yourself by doing simple things, like turning your computer or an internet app off/on or logging out of your software program and then logging back in. The old “on and off trick” is oftentimes all it takes to solve any technical problem, no matter what you’re dealing with.  

If this doesn’t work, google the problem before asking someone else for help. If you’re a person who learns best by reading, seek out a written tutorial. If you’re more of a visual learner, look for a YouTube video on the topic.  

As you know, your Google search will offer many possibilities. Don’t give up if the first one isn’t helpful. Like Goldilocks, you may have to sample a few posts or videos to find that special one that gives you exactly what you need in the best way for you to understand it.  

However, there will be times when you need to enlist technical support. But before you do, you must make sure that your problem is reproducible, meaning that you can describe the symptoms of the problem along with exactly how and when it occurs.   

Keep in mind that when the time comes for you to actually make that call to tech support, you may be highly frustrated or even in panic mode. Showing some empathy for the tech support person by being prepared might very well help you get your problem solved faster.   

Tech support reps always appreciate a person who can deal with them calmly and contribute to troubleshooting the issue at hand. Start by using clear and precise language to describe the problem. Saying “it’s not working”, “it’s broken”, or “it’s acting weird” is not helpful. You’ll need to give detail and description around exactly how it’s not working, even if you don’t know the actual terms.  

Let them know what you’ve done recently that may have contributed to the issue. Try and remember anything you were doing or had done differently before the problem occurred. The more specific, reliable, and reproducible details you can provide, the better. 

Also, be sure to write down and relay what you’ve done to try and fix the problem and the results of your actions.

Don’t get insulted if your tech support rep starts by asking really basic questions. You’d be surprised at the number of times the answer turns out to be something fairly obvious and the person calling missed it.  

In the end, it’s best to remember that we’re not all born experts in every subject under the sun. At the beginning of my own journey towards web design mastery, I called tech support at all hours of the day and night – many, many times. I’m eternally grateful to all those young men (they were always young men!) who stuck with me patiently throughout each call.  

Each time one of those calls ended, I felt empowered. Because I was willing to seek support, I walked away with my problems solved, my technical knowledge expanded, and my confidence bolstered because I took the action necessary to get myself where I wanted to be. 


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