It’s happened to all of us: you log in to an app to share something, edit content, or start a draft and… something’s wrong. You can’t log in. The interface looks different than it did yesterday. What you had in there yesterday isn’t there today.
Your first instinct is to yell for help, making anyone in your immediate area the first line of defense. If they can’t answer your question, it might be time to make a call, send an email, or tweet at the app's customer success team to find out what’s going on.
Everyone and their circumstances are different, however. My own process for troubleshooting is going to be very different depending on a number of factors.
For example, last week I was having problems accessing my site. My first instinct was to check Twitter, but when I saw nothing in my hosting provider's feed, I searched for mentions. Sure enough, a handful of people were tweeting about how they weren’t able to access their sites either.
This let me know that it was probably a widespread issue and usually, when something like this happens, their tech and support teams are (read: should be) monitoring for more reports of the same issue.
I sent a tweet to let them know my site was down and got a response within a couple hours saying the outage was temporary (it was). Initially, if I had gone to Twitter and seen no mention of an outage, I would have picked up the phone.
Even though the ways we all react to the same problem may be different, there are a few things we can do to make the process of troubleshooting tech issues with apps as smooth as possible.
1. Show & tell
Nine times out of ten, when someone gets in touch about an issue with the way their Hub looks or the way the app is acting, I’ll ask for a screenshot.
Never underestimate the power of the screenshot. Even if it looks like a blank screen to you, on our side, a blank screen usually isn’t completely blank – being able to see what you’re seeing helps us figure out where the issue may lie.
Even better than a screenshot – especially when the error you’re experiencing is related to a process (e.g. what should follow after Step 1 isn’t possible because the button for Step 2 is missing) – is a screencast.
Our absolute favorite screencast app is Recordit.co. You can quickly get a video showing what you’re doing on your computer with a link to share the video. Even better, you can create a .gif of your video.
At first, it might take a couple tries to get acquainted with the way it works, but it’s worth it! Soon, with a program like this (or any app you choose), you’ll be .giffing everything!
2. Search for the one
Our Success Team at Uberflip is pretty small (though bigger than it was a month ago). Chances are when someone calls us, they won’t be transferred to anyone else in another department.
But if you’re working with an app that is integrated with another platform or app, or you're contacting a company with international locations, it can be tricky to figure out who the right person is and how to get in touch with them. This is especially true if there doesn’t seem to be a number to call or email address to write to.
Most of the time, taking a few seconds to figure out who can solve your problem will probably save you a couple hours.
3. In Google (or the KB) we trust
When in doubt, search it! Of course, this will depend on the problem you’re having as well. But chances are if you’re looking for a set of instructions on how to do something, a search of the company’s Knowledge Base (if they have one) or even a quick Google search might help you get closer to the answer you’re looking for.
Then, if you’ve looked through everything and still don’t have an answer, it’s probably safe to say that you’re venturing into new territory. At this point, please reach out to the support team!
They’ll appreciate that you did your research before calling, and will be more likely to do what it takes to find out what the process is instead of sending you a link to an article. ;)
4. Email? Chat? DM? Ping? Tweet? Call? Message?
If you’re in the app and have a quick question, there will often be a way to chat with a representative right inside the app. But is it better to call, email, or chat up your technical customer success rep? My answer (and you can quote me on this): it depends.
If you have a screencast or screenshot, email is probably your best bet. Give some background for the image or video and include a phone number where you can be reached if the support rep needs to contact you.
Best-case scenario, the team will be able to see the error right away, replicate it, and start working on getting it resolved.
You could use the chat button for technical problems, but you’ll likely be asked for a screenshot. An agent could quickly let you know if there’s a bug that’s currently being worked on, but they will most likely want to see the error you’re experiencing.
Just remember, if you're experiencing something wonky, always reach out. This will also help them let the dev team know if multiple people are reporting the same issue and can get a fix pushed up in priority!
5. Speak their language
Different companies and teams use different words to describe the same thing. Case in point: our infographic on How to Speak Marketing Automation.
If you’re having a problem with an app that’s built to help you create or manage content, you’ll want to specify if you’re looking at the app when you’re logged in to your account, a preview of your content inside of the app, or if you’re looking at the published content (if these options are available).
Where each option is and how you get there will be different depending on the app you’re using.
If you have a problem with any of these different ways to view content, knowing how to describe where it is and what it’s called will help your technical success reps figure out exactly what needs to be looked at to start troubleshooting.
Errors in apps are a bummer, but they happen. When getting in touch with tech support, it helps to have all the information the person on the other end of the line or Internet needs. This way, they can move forward with solving the problem as quickly as possible.
Have an experience with technical support that was exceptional? Or maybe you're a support rep who has more to add? Share your thoughts below!
Want to deal with a great customer success team? Check out these 3 companies that are doing support right!
About the Author
Nerissa is a freelance writer who spent nearly two years on the Customer Success team at Uberflip, managing the Knowledge Base and helping customers with Hubs and Flipbooks. Now she helps marketers connect to audiences with content that relieves, empowers, excites and inspires.More Content by Nerissa Martin