How to best ask questions for the fastest resolution

Article ID: 111000
Category: General
Date Added: 5/27/2018

Who is this article for?

You are likely being referred to this page by a ShoWorks technician to help you better construct your questions and expedite a response with a solution in optimal time.


We have often found in over two decades of supporting software that more time is spent clarifying and understanding a simple problem, than solving the problem itself. This added time leads to unnecessary delay and frustration in resolving the issue.

What we need you to do

To help us quickly understand the problem, please submit your questions with:
  1. The wording of any error message (or screenshot).
  2. The click-by-click-steps to reproducing the problem, including what values to type and/or select.
  3. (optional) attach your data file if the problem does not occur in the sample file (File>Open Sample Data File) and only occurs when in your own file.


The following examples illustrate how not to, and how to submit questions for a quick response:

How not to ask a question:
(these have been taken from actual customers)
How ask the same question effectively: Why this will help

“I get a runtime error XXXX - help!”


“I cannot create an online entry – help!”


"It won't work - call me!"
"I receive an error when I do the following steps:
  1. Click this (describe what button you clicked).
  2. Type this (describe what you are typing).
  3. Select this (describe what you are selecting).
  4. Click that (describe what button you clicked)
  5. I then receive an error the error message that reads "[blah blah blah blah]" (more than just giving us the error number, but also the description that is provided).
I can also be reached by phone at XXX-XXX-XXXX extension Z.

(optionally - if the error only happens in your data file and does not occur when the sample file is opened using File>Open>Open Sample Data File)
I attached my data file and if you go to Entry Number XXXX, you will be able to reproduce the error using the steps I provided."
Giving us both the error message in its entirety (number and description) and the step-by-step process to reproducing the error, allows us to recreate the same scenario which then allows us to uncover “why” the problem occurred so that we can tell you “how” to fix it. The user also provided additional contact information such as their phone number, in case we might find it necessary to call them.

“I was trying to run a report and it says there is no data. However, I know there is - I can see it.”
"I am trying to run the ShoWorks Preset Report “Daily Fee Balance – by Division” and after clicking “OK” to each of the prompts that follow (I leave them all blank), I receive a message “No data was found for this report”, but I know that I have entries that should be showing up. I have attached my data file." Not only is the user describing how to reproduce the problem, but they are also providing their data file so that we can perform the same steps to reproduce the problem across the same data.

“It won’t work – I’m frustrated!”
"I have a new computer running Windows 10 and Microsoft Office 2016 but was running ShoWorks fine for the past few months and today I came in to open ShoWorks and cannot open it.  I double-click the ShoWorks icon from my desktop and immediately receive a runtime error and upon clicking “OK”, the program exits." The user is not only providing the error and the steps leading up to the error, but also providing background such as the fact that ShoWorks had worked prior on the same machine, letting us know that the hardware is likely okay but something like Windows Update may have updated some underlying programs that ShoWorks is dependent on like Microsoft Office.

Question not answered in this article?
Click to Contact GladStone support for more information.

Login here with your
Service Plan Number

Need help in locating your Service Plan Number?