Re: ID10T error
Helping the user understand what went wrong and how to have it not go wrong next time is very useful. However, even if the tech was busy and just wanted to do a quick solution, let me show you how the workaround would have gone.
Tech: "Right. Now instead of using this email, I want to try loading the program the normal way."
User: "But I'm supposed to use the new version. It's coming out now."
Tech: "Let's just try it."
User: Opens old program.
Old program: Works.
User: "This one works, but it's the old version. I'm supposed to use the new one."
Tech: "No, use that one. The other one isn't ready yet."
User: "The email says it's ready. They sent it to me because it's ready."
Tech: "No, they want you to use this one. They're just showing you what it will be like."
User: "I don't think that's right. You don't write this program; you're tech support. Trust me on this one. I use this program all the time."
Tech: "Trust me. The program you can open normally is the right one."
User: "Maybe you should discuss that with my boss, but he's not here. I'll get his boss."
Tech: "No, I don't need to talk to"
Tech: "Wait. Come back. No, really, it's just a minor"
Door: Closes behind user.
Minutes: Pass slowly.
Customers in line: Look angrily at tech.
Door: Opens. User comes back.
User: "This is the manager of my boss. She will tell you about the program update."
Manager: "What's the problem?"
Tech: "There will be a program update but the user thinks it was released now. They're trying to run a screenshot."
Conversation: Forks here. If manager is clueless you can end up in a loop. We will proceed on the fork where the manager knows what a screenshot is.
Manager: "I see. Can I see the message, please?"
User: Shows message to manager.
Manager: "Ah. You see here where the update is said to be coming out soon, but not yet?"
Manager: "And this attachment is a picture ..."
Manager: Continues to explain situation to user.
Manager: Now annoyed at tech for not doing this themselves.
Isn't it a lot easier just to solve the situation well with a useful explanation that will probably prevent it in the future as well? Workarounds only work if the user understands why they're doing the workaround. They can cut out several contingent explanations, but if you provide no reason for your alternate suggestion, people will think you're just winging it and you don't really know what you're doing.