Why Don’t People Read Emails Thoroughly Before Replying?

I may have mentioned, I’m doing Sharepoint tech support at the place I work at currently as one of my projects assigned to me. This usually gets me involved in a smattering of e-mails weekly that I have to reply to politely and professionally and with a helpful, friendly attitude. Which is really, really hard to do. Especially when this happens:

 

“Yeah hi, I can’t seem to upload my weekly report. Can you help me?  It says I’m locked out or something. Boss sees the current version, I only see last week’s.”-Miss Elanius User

 

So I politely reply first to ask what site they’re using, what the report is called, and if they could clarify on “locked out” because it’s hard to tell if they mean they got an access denied message, or if the software notified them someone else had checked out the document from Sharepoint. I ask them to also check to make sure it doesn’t say “So and so has checked out this document.”

She replies back to tell me that she’s on the Team Rebel Maniacs site updating the Weekly Productive Worker Report and is “locked out” and can’t upload it. I ask one more time to make sure it’s not checked out by another user and send instructions on how to take and send a screenshot via e-mail.

She replies back with a screenshot. The file was checked out to another user. Now, she said her boss could see the current version – so I do a search on the file name the screenshot shows and bring it up and it’s not really checked out. Something’s wrong with her computer so I tell her to contact the Help Desk because the problem is not with Sharepoint.

I am often as wordy in my emails as I am in my blog posts because I am thorough, informative, educational, and inquisitive to make sure I have a complete picture of what’s going on before I spend hours playing detective to solve an issue. The best I can figure is when I reply from now on I really should be brief, polite, friendly, informative, and use bullet points and small paragraphs. Otherwise these busy people say “TL;DR” (too long, didn’t read) and go about their business.

This person, it’s not really her fault, I don’t blame her for not having technical skills at the same level as me. Don’t think I’m making fun of the technology challenged. I am, however, surprised at the number of adults in this country who lack both critical reasoning skills and basic reading comprehension. There are instructions on the support form to include the details of your problem – I guess she assumed we have the magical ability to know what site her problem was on.

And I can’t stress enough that when talking to technical support, especially when specifying an error – be SPECIFIC and EXACT in what the error says. “Locked out” and “Upload failed because this document is currently checked out by user SOMEDOMAIN\someguy” are two totally different things with different solutions.