The IT help desk is there to keep everyone’s computers running correctly. That said, many people think that “keeping everyone’s computers running correctly” involves mind-reading abilities, no time constraints, and a willingness to do things that might be illegal. Here are ten situations in which the end user ought to stop and think, “Should I really contact the help desk?” (You may want to print this up and hang it on your door for easy reference.)
1. I got an error message.
OK, did you write the error message down or perhaps take a screenshot? No? Well, the help desk is going to need a little more to go on. If you write it down or make a screen cap, you can include the error message information in your question for the help desk, making it far easier to diagnose and fix your problem.
2. I need the IT department to speed up the internet.
Before getting in touch with the help desk, it’s a good idea to ask yourself if what you’re asking is actually possible. Do you want IT to remove the pictures of your daughter that her boyfriend posted on Facebook? Do you want them to install OS X on your new Windows PC? A web help desk worker can do lots of things, but some things are impossible without supernatural powers.
3. I’ll just submit this request before leaving on vacation so it will be fixed when I get back.
“Good thing I gave Mike two weeks to fix my computer. I’m just awesome like that.”
This wouldn’t be a terrible idea, except these “requests” invariably define the problem as “My computer doesn’t work,” or consist of a mysterious one-word description like, “Printer.” What’s more, if the help desk makes an attempt to fix your issue, they’re going to want to find out if it worked, and that’s not possible if you’re in Key West slurping margaritas.
4. Nothing shows up on my screen.
Have you tried the obvious things, like turning it on? Is your monitor, in fact, connected to your computer? What about the keyboard? If you’re typing like a banshee and nothing is showing up, perhaps the keyboard isn’t connected. Believe it or not, checking to see that everything is properly plugged in and turned on fixes a lot of “IT” problems.
5. I need to set up voicemail on the new phone I got for my birthday.
Your request to the IT help desk should actually have to do with IT. Unfortunately, when the help desk workers are good at what they do, people tend to go to them with all sorts of technological requests, like fixing the microwave in the break room, changing the light bulb in the boss’ desk lamp, or figuring out who’s putting decaf in the regular coffee pot.
6. It’s Friday at 4:30. If I submit a ticket now, they’ll have all weekend to fix it, especially if I mark it “URGENT.”
Not only do IT workers often need to discuss the problem with you, they don’t always work on weekends. And they won’t be kindly disposed if your “URGENT” problem is something like, “Can you get around the company controls so I can log onto Facebook?”
7. All my IT requests are urgent.
How very helpful to mark all your IT help desk requests with terms like “ASAP,” “urgent,” and “very important.” It helps the workers put them ahead of all those requests labeled “Just fix this if you feel like it,” and “This isn’t really important.” If every single one of your IT requests is “urgent,” then you’re the kid who cried wolf and the day you see flames shooting from your keyboard, nobody will take you seriously.
8. I don’t have to read the dialog box that popped up unexpectedly. That’s IT’s job.
“Also, I don’t need to read road signs anymore. The help desk will do it for me.”
If you unexpectedly have a dialog box pop up, here’s an idea: read it. You may, in fact, know whether to click on “OK” or “Cancel.” If you don’t, then you can relay the contents of the dialog box to the help desk, and they will help you decide.
9. Chrome wouldn’t open, so the internet must be down.
A surprising number of reasonably intelligent people give up at the first sign of a problem. But if you close Chrome and open it back up again, it might work. And if Chrome doesn’t work, there’s almost certainly a copy of IE on your computer that you can try.
10. If I submit a ticket, email the help desk, and call them, they’ll prioritize my problem.
In fact, if you regularly carpetbomb the IT department, supplementing your help desk ticket with emails and phone calls, they won’t prioritize your problem. They’ll just avoid you. Use the ticket submission procedure; or better yet, check the self-service portal first. The answer you need might be in front of your face.
Today’s web help desk software can’t help you with people who are inconsiderate or proudly clueless, but it can help you use your time as efficiently as possible. When your help desk software is cloud-hosted, you’re always running the latest version and are constantly building your knowledge base and improving the end user experience. Believe it or not, most of them really do appreciate it.
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