Nothing is more frustrating than having your flow interrupted, particularly if you have deadlines to keep. Things not working as they should and realising you need outside help from your IT support provider to get things done should not be an additional source of stress – quite the opposite. When you need to call in the IT professionals the process should be as smooth and efficient as possible to get you moving again in the shortest possible time.
The first step in nearly every support process, whether you are dealing with an internal IT support department or an outsourced IT support company, is raising a support ticket. Knowing how to get the ball rolling is key to ensuring the right people fix the right problem as soon as possible and it can help leapfrog the process to a successful conclusion.
The art of raising an IT support ticket
“Raising a ticket” is an IT support industry term for opening an issue – other industries would have similar terminology such as creating a medical record, opening a case file, starting a job bag... Different ways of saying the same thing but an important concept to nail down. Once you contact the helpdesk, a file is opened to make sure that all the correspondence, files, data and records of work undertaken - and any other pertinent records - are all kept in one place to make sure everyone involved is on the same page and that reports can be produced at a moment’s notice.
Make sure it’s in a Helpdesk system
Any IT support provider worth their salt, whether an internal department or an outsourced supplier, will use a computer-based system (also called a ‘helpdesk system’) to automate the creation, collation and tracking of this information to make sure nothing is missed ensuring the details are shared appropriately and efficiently.
If they don’t use one, then you should hear alarm bells ringing.... It’s almost impossible to provide support efficiently without one.
Look out for the IT support ticket reference
When first contacting your helpdesk, whether by email, by phone or in person, the system will generate a unique ID called a ticket reference (looking something like “TXG-133-61783” or “98883737636” which moving forward will be how all emails, calls and records will be linked together, and will allow you to deal with any of the support team every time you contact the helpdesk. You just need to quote this one reference and all the details will be at their fingertips in a few seconds. This means you shouldn’t ever have to repeat yourself, and the support person you are currently dealing with shouldn’t ever have to carry out the same steps to fix your issue twice.
But what is the best way to start all of this off?
Ticket guidance to get the most out of your IT support team
- If possible (unless the problem is with email itself) it’s best to email your request to the support team using the email address that they have provided to you. e.g. . This starts the process immediately and a ticket reference is assigned to you straight away
- Don’t contact an individual using their personal contact details, even if you have a favourite team member, as if you bypass the system you have no guarantee that the person will be available to help or be the best person for your request – or not on holiday!
- Only state one issue per e-mail as this helps to track and prioritise them and make sure that each request gets to the best person to help
- In the subject line of the e-mail, please provide a short description of the problem
- For example, “Unable to print to shared printer”
- If you are phoning the helpdesk make sure you are near the issue at hand and are free to discuss the issue with the team member – it will take a few minutes to log all the details and assign a reference, and then they will be able to get to work or schedule a time more convenient for you later
- Please note down the steps to recreate the problem if it is something you encounter repeatedly
- If the problem is with a software application using the “Print Screen” key to take a screenshot and pasting this into your e-mail can be useful if you are reporting an error message
- Note if the issue just affects you or if it affects others on the network as well. This shouldn’t affect how quickly your issue is dealt with, (you won’t get dealt with slower because it only affects you,) however it may help jumpstart troubleshooting knowing more about the scale of the issue
- Include more detail in the body of the e-mail if you feel necessary, but you don’t need to spend more than a minute or two on documenting things. Your support team should call you to discuss it in more detail and often providing too much information can cloud the initial diagnosis of any problems.
IT support ticket raising etiquette
Most of the time IT support companies like EC2 IT can help and support you remotely
- Our support systems enable us to access and manage your PCs and systems remotely
- This will require you to perform a small download to run the software — don’t worry, we’ll talk you through doing this.
Should you need us on-site, we can be with you quickly as all our staff are based in London.
If we are onsite working on another ticket, systems tasks or projects:
- The same protocol still applies – please contact the Helpdesk first instead of approaching one of our team members directly
- The most appropriate person to help may not be the person on-site
- Remote Support allows any of our staff to help
- The team member may be fully occupied on another user’s request
- We will always attempt to be accommodating however, and the person onsite may well end up being the person who helps.
Despite our ultra-fast response times, sometimes we ask for a little patience
Some Support Requests will need Management Approval:
- If the Support Request will take significant time to complete
- If we must purchase new or replacement equipment
- If the request has security or confidentiality implications.
We always work to minimise any inconvenience and to resolve the issues as soon as possible.
Sometimes equipment or software has a lead time we can’t influence
We choose our suppliers for responsiveness and value, however sometimes it just takes a while to arrive.
Sometimes we need your help
Troubleshooting some issues takes time, and we don’t always get it right first time. But we never give up. And sometimes we need your assistance to get to the heart of the matter fastest.
Don’t worry about providing too much detail or trying to second guess the answer to the issue – that’s what we are here for. Just keep to a few simple guidelines and the process can speed along bump-free to making sure you get what you need to keep working.
As a final note always make sure you get a follow-up e-mail from your IT support team—you need confirmation of what the issue was, that it has been fixed and the issue has been closed off in the IT support team’s systems.