A while back I was working with a colleague and we ran into an issue that required us to email a company for support.
My colleague expressed an interest in how I went about structuring the email and asked if I could write up my process for them, hence this blog post.
The way I structure any of my mails, to support or otherwise, is along the lines of:
- Explaining reason for the email
- Provide any information I may have on subject
- If asking for something clearly state what I need/would like
In addition if I am able to provide anything to help, such as test project with failing tests, they should be attached or easily accessed.
One of the additional things that I take into account when writing an email for support is thinking “what would I need to help
Below is an example email written about a problem with a fictitious component aBxZ:
Here at MadeUpCompany.com we are using your aBxZ component and are concerned about the number of duplicate calls it is making to the 123.com api and can see no way to stop this.
We have been using Fiddler to profile aBxZ’s behaviour on our QA environment whilst testing with a similar load to our production environment and have attached the data we captured.
If you look at the captured sessions you’ll see that aBxZ makes a call to 123.com for every request, this is happening even when we don’t call aBxZ explicitly.
We read the documentation and ensured that we have followed the instructions and guidance on how to use aBxZ and we posted on StackOverflow about it but nobody was able to provide a solution.
We managed to replicate the behaviour in a test project, which is attached, and it appears to be happening when aBxZ is instantiated.
Please can you let us know:
- Are we using the component correctly?
- If using it correctly is there anything we can do to stop this?
- If it is a bug with aBxZ when you think you might have a patch/fix
If we should be doing something different to what we do currently please could you alter the attached test project and send it back to us.
Looking forward to your reply
Analysis of the email
Looking at the mail it follows my structure and breaks down like this:
- Paragraph 1, say who we are and what the problem is
- Paragraphs 2 – 5 provide details about what has been tried and provide to them additional information in form of captured fiddler sessions and a test project
- Paragraphs 6 & 7 ask, hopefully as clearly as possible, for help to resolve the issue.
Hopefully this is of use to you, for me it seems to be very clear but I’d be interested to hear from other people how they structure their emails and if you think I’m missed something out.