By: Amy Bean Napier
Tech support is an interesting job to have. No one understands exactly what you do and no one ever needs you until they NEED you and then they want you RIGHT NOW. And they will keep hounding you until you stop what you are doing and help them!
At Partners, I perform many roles including tech support for our 28 employees. I manage our server, keep the workstations running efficiently, manage software licenses, set up new equipment … and handle all technology emergencies that come up. And with an office our size, those “emergencies” come up quite often which means I’m on call all the time!
As I’m not the most social person in the world (see my Survive and Thrive blog for more details), I usually try to troubleshoot tech issues by email or remotely (from my computer) first. I save going over to the staff member’s desk as a last resort! And I always start the conversations with three easy tech solutions:
Restart – CTRL, ALT, DELETE (or Command, Option, Escape for Mac users) works wonders on computers (servers and workstations). It will solve a multitude of computer problems that users are having with hardware and software!
Get Plugged In – Check that all equipment is plugged in, not just to the wall outlet but also to each other (i.e. monitor to workstation, etc.). You would be surprised how many times people unplug their tech equipment by accident. Some of the reasons in our office include kicking the cubicle wall (and causing the plug to disconnect slightly, enough to lose the connection),, turning off the surge protector under your desk with your feet (causing everything to shut down) and my all-time favorite, moving the monitor closer to the edge of the desk so they can see it better (and causing the monitor to disconnect from the workstation). We had an employee do this about 5 times, each time calling tech support (me) because their monitor wasn’t working again!
Cable is Down – Comcast has nothing on Partners! We have cables running from wall to workstations, printers to workstations, copier to wall, etc. that all connect our network and tech equipment. If a cable is unplugged or not plugged in securely, that network/printer/copier connection will be lost. So check your cables and make sure they are all securely connected – on both ends!
While all 3 of these solutions seem too easy, they solve the problems about 80% of the time, at least in our office. So try these solutions next time before you call upon your internal or external tech support (both which cost time and money).
(And if these 3 solutions don’t do the trick, I will head on over to the employee’s desk, politely escort them out of their chair and work my tech magic on the workstation! That’s where I get my nickname Friendly Amy!)