Why techies start with first principles

As a tech support specialist, I often have to guide the end user through basic troubleshooting, and this often resolves the issue. I’ve told this story before, but it bears repeating, in particular because it reinforces the lesson.

The number one biggest error many techs make when diagnosing problems for users, be it on the phone or on site, is going the complicated route. There is a reason why most ISPs have a script for their 1st tier techs to follow, to make sure that the basic errors have been corrected.

While I was an apprentice, I was called out to solve a print problem for a user. The user had a printer connected to her computer with a USB cable, and all the cables were connected. The printer in question didn’t have much in terms of diagnostic lights and such.

I head out to the user, and start troubleshooting. I try everything I can think of; print spooler, drivers, ports etc., and find myself no nearer to a solution half an hour later. Then I decide to check the back of the printer…

Sure enough, the power switch in the back had been toggled, probably by the cleaning staff. Had I checked basic stuff first, that half hour hadn’t been wasted. To be fair, the support tech who had taken the initial call hadn’t done this either, but the lesson remains.

By posting a comment, you consent to our collecting the information you enter. See privacy policy for more information.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.