Teach Your Staff to Google Error Messages

Many times it is possible for end users to solve their own problems by doing a Google search. For instance, if you see an error or warning message on your screen while in a software program, type the exact wording of the error message into Google and often you will see an explanation that you can understand. 

Yesterday someone asked me for help because they had an error message on their screen while working in Excel. When I got to their desk and read the message, I asked her about the meaning of a circular reference that was written on the warning. She didn’t know. We Googled it together and soon discovered that she was trying to use a formula in a cell that was referencing itself, or in other words, you can’t be in cell 10 and ask for a total of cells 1 through 10.

The secret is to help people learn to Google things themselves and be a bit more independent. It’s faster for them as they can often figure out the problem quickly and resolve it themselves. You might say, “Have you Googled that error message yet? Oh, no? Well, let’s do that together and see what we can find out.”

Sometimes users will need help and Google will not be of assistance, but many times they would have been able to solve their own problem within the time it takes for help to arrive. Googling (or rebooting) can solve a lot of mysteries for the end user.

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