HCM Detective Work: Best Practices for Opening Cases

January 20, 2022


Written by Drew Simmons

When working in your Human Capital Management system, you are bound to encounter issues that will require the need to open a support case or support ticket with your system vendor.  When opening a case, the details you provide can dramatically impact the vendor’s ability to resolve your issue.

Therefore, it is essential to deliver as many details as possible to expedite the resolution timeline.  So, don your detective hat, and follow these steps to help you achieve effective and timely solutions when opening cases.

1. Be as detailed as possible
It is important to provide as many facts as possible. You must state your case and say more than “the system is broken.” The most frustrating scenario for a case owner is to receive notes like this:

“When working in [SYSTEM NAME] this morning, I discovered that the system is not working as expected.  It is broken, and I need someone to fix it right away. Thank you!”

When writing case notes for your vendor, imagine that you are watching an episode of a show from a true-crime network like Investigation Discovery (my favorite channel).  In true crime shows, there is always a primary investigator who uses all available facts to prove that there has been a crime. Well, you are now that investigator in this situation!  You are trying to prove to your HCM provider that your system is not working as expected. Use all of your available resources to reinforce this fact beyond a shadow of a doubt.

2. Replicate the steps that caused the error
The investigator needs to determine the course of events in the crime from start to finish. Simulate the same process by painting an accurate picture for the case owner on the vendor’s support team of what you were trying to achieve when working the system.  In the case notes, provide a numbered list of the actions you took leading up to the system error.  Be as descriptive as possible.  While specifics are vital, it is important to note that only the details pertinent to this case are needed in this walkthrough.

3. Include screenshots

While on the crime scene, detectives take pictures to show evidence of the crime. In your case resolution, you should do the same.  You can supplement your steps (as discussed above) with screenshots of each phase of the process. Screenshots help the case owner to understand which screens you were using when the error occurred.  These illustrations help to create an environment for expeditious resolution.  The images depicted in the screenshots will eliminate the case owner’s need to follow up with you with several questions that could lead to an extended timeframe to resolve the case.  The goal of including your screenshots is to try and anticipate the questions that the case owner may ask you before they get an opportunity to ask them.  It is vital to be proactive when providing case details and associated screenshots.

4. Provide contact information
There is always a dramatic scene in true crime documentaries where the investigator hands a card to a witness and says, “If you can think of anything else, give me a call.” Then, out comes the business card, which is accompanied by a dramatic sound effect. In your cases, you want to do the same thing.  Offering your contact information is an excellent way to open the lines of communication if the case owner has any questions.

5. Schedule a meeting if necessary
In the world of true crime, the investigator may need to interview prime suspects and persons of interest. These interviews aim to obtain more information when the existing evidence is not enough to paint a picture of what happened during the crime.  When working with cases, the details may be complicated to understand.  Providing additional context via email and case note exchanges does not always translate well.  Do not hesitate to schedule a meeting with the case owner if you find they do not understand the details you have provided.  For example, let’s say you open a case with your vendor, and the case owner responds with a series of questions regarding the details you have provided.  It is safe to assume that they may need additional context.  Rather than attempting to resolve the questions through additional case note entries, offer to schedule a meeting with the case owner.  They will interview you and conduct a screen share during the meeting to gather further details to solve the case.  If you schedule a meeting, be prepared to log into your system and replicate the issue for them.

6. Be kind.
No matter what happens, please be kind. Remember that the vendor’s support team is there to help you, even during tense situations such as an escalated case.  Their goal is the same as yours. They are looking to resolve the issue as quickly as possible with an effective solution that works best for you as the customer.  It makes everyone’s life easier when we all put a “smile” in our messages when writing case notes.  Let your case owner see your smile through the case notes.

Now that we have walked through the best practices when opening cases let’s review an example of a detailed, proactively oriented case.

Good morning!  Earlier today, I was working on updating an employee’s job title in [SYSTEM] on the Job tab of the employee record using the Change Job business process.  The employee’s name is John Doe (employee number: 123456).  The effective date for the change is 1/1/2022. However, when I entered the transaction into the system, I received the following error message:


Can you please help me understand the cause of the issue and how I can resolve this error?  If you have any questions, please contact me at myname@nomail.com or (555) 555-5555.  I am also available to schedule a meeting with you if you have any additional questions. Thank you so much for your help!  Have a wonderful day!

This example provides the case owner with the pertinent details needed to resolve the case.  It indicates steps or location of where in the system the transaction was entered when the error occurred. It includes a screenshot and contact information if the case owner has additional questions.  Finally, it includes a nicety at the end.  As my grandmother used to say, “You can get more bees with honey than vinegar.”

So, while a nicety isn’t necessarily essential information that needs to be included to get your case resolved, it is a kind touch that shows that you know that a human being is on the receiving end of your communication. Hopefully, it will make the case owner smile and bring some joy into their typical high-stress workday.


If you find yourself struggling with getting case resolution or any other issues when working in your Human Capital Management system, HRchitect can help.  Over the past twenty-five years, HRchitect has helped thousands of organizations across the globe align their HCM technology initiatives with business objectives to achieve extraordinary results.  HRchitect is a name you can trust for all your HCM technology needs: strategy, evaluation & selection, implementation, change management, day-to-day system support, and everything in between.

Drew Simmons joined HRchitect in 2018 and brings over 25 years of experience in the field of Human Capital Management, including 5 years of experience with UKG Pro, to the HRchitect team. In his role as Director, UKG Pro Implementation Services, Drew leads a team of highly skilled consultants to ensure high-quality delivery of Implementation, Optimization, Integration, Reporting, and Ongoing Support consulting services to HRchitect’s clients utilizing the UKG Pro Suite. Drew holds six UKG certifications and is also Certified in iCIMS Talent Cloud.

Drew Simmons

Learn more about Drew here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/drewsimmons678/