Help Us Help You: How to Write an Effective Tech Request

tech request example

Writing a good tech request will help DASA Tech triage your request among the many others we receive every day. Follow the guidelines below to give us the information we need right off the bat. One piece of important terminology – we use the terms these terms interchangeably: request, ticket, help request.

Descriptive Subject Line

It all starts here. DASA Tech staff are often reviewing lists of tickets that have just been submitted, and so we are looking at those subject lines to clue us in on which issues are a high priority. A subject line that just says “Help” or “Please stop by” means we have to open the ticket to get more information — that one click may not sound like a big deal, but it can be when trying to triage many tickets during busy times.

Details of Issues

Provide a detailed description of the problem. We know you are anxious to submit your help request, but the little bit of extra time to add relevant information will save time in the long run. We don’t need every detail, just the right ones. However, don’t be afraid to ask questions. We would much rather you ask than guess and make an issue worse. Here is additional guidance on this step.

Provide Baseline Technical Details

When in doubt, a ticket should include the following technical details. Every ticket may not need this information, but it is a great starting point:

  • Device (desktop, laptop, iPad, etc)
  • Operating system (Windows, Mac, iOs, Android)
  • Browser (Chrome, Firefox)
  • URL where the error occurred
  • System (PeopleSoft, RecTrac, Courseleaf, etc)

Time of First Occurrence and Persistence of Issue

Always provide the date and time when your issue first occurred. We typically have tons of logs available for a lot of our systems, so the more exact time you can provide, the easier it will be to find the issue in our logs.

Many issues don’t happen in isolation, so having the date and time allows us to spot trends and take appropriate action, such as sending a division-wide announcement.

Include Screenshots

Screenshots are very helpful. If it is a browser issue, be sure to include the full URL in the screenshot. If a screenshot isn’t possible, add the exact text of the error message (sometimes you can copy/paste these, though sometimes those popups don’t allow you to copy them).

Your Self-Help Efforts and Research

You probably have tried to troubleshoot the issue yourself. Tell us what steps you have taken and the results. Here are some examples.

  • Rebooting the device
  • Closing the program and re-launching it
  • Turning wireless off and back on again
  • Trying to accomplish the same task on someone else’s computer
  • Printing to a different printer

Impact and Urgency = Priority

The combination of impact and urgency helps DASA Tech determine a priority for your ticket. It is helpful to describe the scope of the problem and the consequences of not resolving the issue by a certain date/time.

Impact: What users are impacted by the issue? Is it localized or more widespread? What resources and/or business processes are affected?  

Urgency: How quickly does this issue need to be resolved?

Your Availability

Some tech issues can only be tested and resolved while the user is logged in; that’s why it’s extremely helpful to know your availability up front. It’s also handy to know any special details about your office location — DASA is a very large division with many departments in many different buildings, and not all DASA Tech staff have been to all DASA offices!