1. Home
  2. Docs
  3. Operations & Processes
  4. Technical Support Process

Technical Support Process

Anyone can file a technical support issue, but they can be difficult if not impossible to resolve without all the relevant information at hand. Follow this guide to ensure that tech support issues are fixed as soon as they arise.

Receiving a Support Request

On the Customer Dashboard, there now sits a helpdesk button on the bottom right. All tech support questions should begin from here—preferably over email or phone calls. This ensures that support issues are logged in one place, and also offers some helpful features in diagnosing support questions.

We use Crisp to help us handle support inquiries. You can log into Crisp from here. The Inbox contains messages from customers. Messages will automatically be labeled with the sender’s name as soon as they are sent.

Diagnosing a Support Request

The first step is accurately understanding the problem. If the problem is technical, a developer is unable to resolve it if it is not accurately understood. This involves retrieving two things from the customer:

  • An explanation of the problem. We’ll need to know what the intended result is and what the actual output was.
  • A screenshot. This is required for any technical issue no matter how small.

Luckily with Crisp there is an easy way to obtain the latter of these. Click on the magic wand icon at the top right-hand corner of the window and you’ll be given a live feed of TownSites from the customer’s point of view. Using this, you can get a screenshot of the issue at hand before the conversation even begins.

Note that while this is cool, it’s not very reliable and a Zoom meeting works much better for screen sharing.

Solving the Problem

Once you have an explanation and a screenshot, you can go about fixing the issue. Of course, many issues don’t need developer assistance and only require guidance from TownSites staff or administration work. You can also check the Helpdesk to browse support questions that have already been answered. Do this by clicking the book icon on the far left menu.

If the problem is fixable right away

If you can fix the problem yourself, you can handle the entire session from within Crisp. If it wasn’t an obvious fix, consider creating a Helpdesk article to assist others that may need to help customers with the same issue.

If the problem requires assistance

If the problem needs to be escalated to a developer or some other staff member, you’ll need to create a Support Ticket in Asana. Continue to the next step.

Creating a Support Ticket

In order to be provided assistance, the Support Ticket you create must contain the following items:

  • An explanation of the problem. Include the intended result as well as the actual result.
  • A screenshot of the issue.
  • The URL the issue took place on.
    Hint: The URL to the page the customer is currently visiting can be found on the right-hand panel in the Inbox (See screenshot).
  • A link to the conversation in Crisp (if necessary).
  • A console log file (optional, see below).
  • Any relevant warnings or errors from the debug log (optional, see below).

Please note: If a Support Ticket is missing required items, it will be flagged as unfixable until those items are added.

The first thing to do after you decide that an issue is in need of a Support Ticket is to try to replicate the issue on your own computer, while the user is still chatting with you.

Can either of you replicate the issue? This is the million-dollar question with any support issue. If you can’t make it happen reliably on either yours or the customer’s system, the issue cannot be fixed.

If you can replicate the issue yourself:

If the issue is appearance-related

If the issue is minor and can be clearly explained with a screenshot, such as a misaligned graphic or incorrect font, a screenshot may be all you need to file the ticket.

If the issue is functionality-related

However, if the software is misbehaving, such as a page not loading or a button doing nothing when clicked, we’ll need a bit more information to diagnose the issue. The two main places to search for clues are the console log and the debug log.

Information you find in these two places needs to be included in the Support Ticket.

To access the Console Log, simply press Ctrl + Shift + J (or Cmd + Shift + J) on your keyboard. Sometimes you may find errors in the log, highlighted in red. To include the Console Log in your Support Ticket, you can either:

  • Take a screenshot, or
  • Right click on any item in the log and select “Save as”. The entire log will be saved to a file which you can include in your ticket.

The Debug Log for all TownSites can be found by clicking here. Once the log loads, click the tags PHP Warning and PHP Fatal Error to isolate any potential problems.

Look through the resulting logs to see if any of them happened just recently and thus might be related to the issue. You can click the button to refresh the list if necessary.

  • Include any relevant errors in your Support Ticket.
Click to view larger.

If you cannot replicate the issue yourself:

You may need to invite the user onto a Zoom call to obtain the above information if you’re unable to reproduce the issue on your own machine. Take screenshots of the session and instruct them to follow the steps above so that the issue can be documented enough to fix. The more information gathered, the higher probability that the issue will be resolved in a timely manner.

Adding the Support Ticket to Asana

Once you’ve gathered all the required items needed as described above, create a new task in Asana and attach the information, as well as any other explanation that might be needed to resolve the issue. If you’re not sure who the assignee should be, assign the ticket to me (Nick) and I’ll forward it to the appropriate person.

Place a due date on the ticket for 2 days in the future. We’ll have to experiment with the appropriate timeframe for technical support tickets, but they do need to include a due date so that they remain timely.

Once the ticket has been filed on Asana, notify the assignee on Slack of the issue. Once the issue has been marked as complete in Asana, you can then reach back out to the customer and inform them of its completion.