Before joining on with Rockton Software, I had spent a good number of years in the support world. I have worked on all varieties of different issues with customers across the globe at all levels of IT expertise. The one aspect that I saw as a trend( with support cases—that can be avoided—is lack of information at the start. I hope that by going over the list with you, I can help you get a good jump on your next support case and shave off a couple of hours or days in finding a resolution. After all, time is money.
While not all of these items may apply to every technical issue that you encounter. The more of the items below that you are able to collect and submit when you initially log a case, the quicker the case can get to focused troubleshooting, and the odds of a first-touch resolution tip in your favor.
1) Exact error message
What is the exact error message that you are getting?
Copy and paste the error message; if possible, capturing a screenshot is better. You cannot just “get close” with this—you need the exact error message. Many times, I have fixed an error, but cannot find the case details, again, from a search because I was short a word from the error message or had a typo.
2) More information
Usually, there is a link that will show you more details about the error message; it may just be a link to a file that is saved on your hard drive. When you look at the file, it may look like a bunch of gibberish, but there may be useful information in there for the right person. Round this up and include it!
3) Exact repro steps
What steps did you take to break the program? What specific route did you take to get there?
What data was entered, or fields were filled out or changed?
Everything is a suspect until we are able to isolate which factor is contributing to the issue. If you have already ruled out some of those as causes see #7.
4) Does the error/behavior occur every time
Can you recreate the issue time- after-time, was this just a 1 time hiccup, or is it that “i” word?
The “i” word aka “intermittent” may be the most profane word in the IT language!
by Rockton Software