Context is key - providing support in a release-break-fix world

  • It worked yesterday and doesn't work today. What did I do wrong?
  • The button that you said to click isn’t there.
  • I forgot my password and when I try to reset it, it didn’t work.

It's frustrating to hear these words and even more frustrating to say them.

People arrive confused. Your job is to identify how much they know about how they got into trouble and how much they want to know about a solution. You can then provide the right amount of information in the way that they can best use it.

Traditional support tools, such as documentation, help files, and videos work well if you're that one person in the office who uses them. (If you've watched people use any product, however, you'll note how earnestly they avoid checking the help or reading the documentation.)

We'll explore several ways to identify user context and matching that context with the right level of support. We'll also look at ways to maintain user docs, videos, and examples so that they're correct and complete. We'll see examples of interactive guides, video chat, and screen-sharing. Finally, face-to-face support might be the shortcut.

The key to product support is identifying the delta between what the users want to know and how much they need to know in order to complete the task as hand. For some, the answer is RTFM. For others, you'll just have to fix the problem and send them on their way.

Session Time Slot(s): 
Sep 12 2015 - 11:00am-Sep 12 2015 - 11:50am
Allowed Types: 
Speaker Bio(s): 
Karl Hakkarainen (@RoasterBoy) helps individuals and organizations make sense of information technology. In his 35 years as an IT professional, he has managed enterprise-level projects, supported web services for nonprofits, and helped a 93-year-old make best use of her iPad. His grandchildren still ask him for help with their smartphones and networks.