User Support

When things go wrong, IT support professionals get the call. Here are the resources to help them improve their troubleshooting skills, their people skills, and their technical knowledge.

  • Jeff Dray // February 2, 2009, 4:28 AM PST

    Essential items for your toolbox

    My toolbox weighs a shoulder-wrenching amount, yet most of the time I use the same few tools. From time to time, I force myself to sort through the box to remove some of the hardware that makes the box so hard to lift and carry around.


  • Joe Rosberg // February 4, 2009, 10:22 AM PST

    Would you participate in focus groups and surveys - for $$$?

    We've probably all been asked to participate in focus groups or to take surveys, but do you? Would you participate if they paid you?


  • William Jones // February 5, 2009, 11:29 AM PST

    Captain Obvious reports, "Web apps are not foolproof."

    The popularity of Internet applications means lots of businesses and individuals are storing data online, but what happens when web apps go down? While we can't keep sites from crashing, support pros should remind users to back up the files they store "in the cloud."


  • Jeff Dray // February 10, 2009, 3:17 AM PST

    Flexibility: A nuisance or key to providing good service?

    We have all experienced it; we had the day’s work planned down to the last minute then something happens to turn it upside down. Do we stick to the plan or should we change them at a moment’s notice?


  • Joe Rosberg // February 11, 2009, 8:03 AM PST

    Backing up users' Outlook files

    For companies that don't host their own mail server, but as a matter of policy don't backup individual user's computers, the one thing that often falls through the cracks is a user's e-mail. I'll discuss a few ways to solve that problem, and open up a discussion for even more suggestions.


  • William Jones // February 12, 2009, 10:05 AM PST

    Sensitive tech support during employee departures

    Dismissals and departures can be awkward, especially when they are due to economics and not poor performance. William Jones discusses how the help desk is uniquely positioned to make or break an employee exit.


  • Jeff Dray // February 16, 2009, 12:06 AM PST

    Ordering supplies: Somebody up there hates me!

    Have your intentions about ordering supplies ever been misunderstood? How did you deal with the consequences of having too little or too much delivered to your work site? When your car is your workplace, overstocking is not an option.


  • Joe Rosberg // February 18, 2009, 10:07 AM PST

    ViewSonic customer support redeems itself -- A follow-up story

    Have you ever given up on a vendor or supplier because of a bad experience with their customer support, but they later came through and redeemed themselves? Here's an instance of that very thing happening.


  • William Jones // February 19, 2009, 3:13 AM PST

    Best Buy's recycling program does not accept storage media

    Before the company will recycle an old computer, Best Buy's policy says that the hard drive has to be removed. While it is prudent to make sure that there is no data on a machine destined for a recycler, there are ways to accomplish this without removing the drive completely.


  • Jeff Dray // February 23, 2009, 3:34 AM PST

    Age before beauty?

    Jeff Dray considers the age divide in the workplace. Youth and vigour, as well as age and experience, have their place in support roles, and the combination of the two benefits everyone.


  • Selena Frye // February 25, 2009, 5:20 AM PST

    What's on your go-to equipment list?

    When replacing or upgrading hardware components, do you have a ready list of vendors and manufacturers that you go to or are you constantly on the lookout for a better product (or just a better deal)? What's on your "best-of-kit" list?


  • Joe Rosberg // February 25, 2009, 9:30 AM PST

    Customer support intentions (take the poll) and some comments on providing excellent customer support

    Some readers are wondering about the motives and intentions of a customer support incident I've been writing about. Considering the history of what happened, what do you think? Take the poll - and in this case, since there's no way to get into the mind of another, it's merely an opinion poll.


  • William Jones // February 26, 2009, 4:08 PM PST

    Support pros vs. social engineering attacks

    Developers should always work to make software secure, but it is up to support techs and trainers to inform users how they can keep themselves safe online.


  • Jeff Dray // March 2, 2009, 3:29 AM PST

    Spring-cleaning your working life

    Jeff Dray's thoughts have turned to spring and renewal, and thus, the cleaning out and reorganization of his work life. It's time to delete files, throw out the rubbish, and order new supplies. How often do you inventory and clean out your work area?


  • Joe Rosberg // March 4, 2009, 9:12 AM PST

    Explaining concepts can be a challenge with some users.

    Have you ever explained something to users only to have that glassy-eyed look tell you that they had no idea what you just said? What do you do? What are some of the things you've tried to explain that fly above the understanding of some users?