Not sure what jacks you have (mine are Equalizer systems) but low voltage will not allow jacks to operate properly. I am dealing with that right now. In my case, it appears that my jacks are connected to the house battery and there is no requirement to have the engine running to extend or retract. However yours may be set up differently. Steps are certainly connected to the engine battery.
Even though your batter may have been low (check resting voltage with multi-meter), it may have been enough to start the engine. Another possible and common problem is a bad ground somewhere. If a ground is making poor contact, even slightly less voltage than normal can create problems.
If starting the engine resolved the issue, count your blessings. Mine appears to be the controller ($556 shipped) to fix the 3 year old ES jacks. I am not happy about it, but US built jacks does not necessarily mean US built electronics, so I guess I write the check and figure I saves another $500 by doing it myself.
2016 Jayco GreyHawk 31DS
2016 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk Toad.
SE Washington State