5 Tips to Get Great Technical Support

Every week we answer 100's of support forum topics from developers and designers.

Over the last few years, I've noticed that some users are excellent at asking for help. They can describe their problem clearly and we can answer them quickly.

With others, it can be a much slower process as we try to get an accurate understanding of the problem.

Here are 5 things that users do that result in the fastest and most helpful answers.

Step #1. Share a link

In my experience, this is absolutely the most important thing you can do.

If the person helping you can see the problem, that is worth 1000 words. If your problem is related to a publicly accessible website, share the link.

Step #2. Be concise

As with the first step, get the point quickly. Longer posts are almost always more confusing that short posts.

Step #3. But not too concise ... :)

Use a clear title that summarize the main problem:

  • Blank page in Joomla
  • Error installing a Drupal module
  • I can't edit a PHP file

Here are some bad examples of the same titles:

  • Help!
  • Won't install
  • Can't edit

Step #4. State the problem clearly

In the description, mention the important details about the issue in the less quantity of possible text. Avoid extra information that is not relevant.

Sample phrases to use in the description:

  • I want to edit this section (point to that section in a screenshot)
  • This section has the wrong color and I want...
  • I want this specific result (attach an screenshot showing the graphic final result)
  • How do I edit x page
  • After I edited this code, the page stop working

Step #5. Share the basic details

It's really helpful to post important technical information, in particular:

  • What software you're using
  • What version of the software you have
  • Where the problem is (only your local PC or Mac, on GoDaddy, Hostgator or a server in your basement that your friend built)

This details are highly important. Sometimes we've answered a question assuming that the user is on Drupal 7 or Joomla 3, only to find out hours later that they are on Drupal 5 or Joomla 1.0.


About the author

Valentín creates beautiful designs from amongst the tequila plants of Jalisco, Mexico. You can see Valentín's design work all over this site and you can often find him helping members in support.