State of the Industry

It's unfortunate, but true. Sometimes, IT professionals don't take or don't have the time to value users. Here are 5 classic mistakes that often result:

1: Being Rude

When an IT professional is under pressure, like a looming deadline, or a significant network-wide issue, they don't react well to being pulled away. If they've been pulled away to talk to a user, I have seen otherwise good IT pros become grumpy or rude. They will forget to thank users. They imply, whether they mean to or not, that this work is beneath them and a waste of time. They make users feel unappreciated.

The Solution: Have more than one IT professional in your organization, and assign responsibilities so that one professional is always available to talk to users, and won't be pulled away from critical work to do so. If you only have one IT professional, make sure that professional has a significant number of work hours before or after the business day during which long focus without interruption is possible.

2: Finishing Your Sentences

IT professionals seem to think that they can finish your sentences better than you can, and save some time while doing it. This misses the whole point of that communication. You and your users need to explain circumstances, business needs, and issues in your own words so that nothing is missed.

The Solution: Don't let your IT professional leave the office or the room without asking them to paraphrase the communication you just had. If they don't get it right, then you need to communicate some more until they do. This may not stop them from finishing your sentences, but it may make up for lost information.

3: Taking over a User's Computer

When your IT professional is working an issue in haste, they'll often not allow time to explore the issue fully with the person who is having it. They jump right in the user's spot, fix the issue, and walk away. This might lead to an incorrect diagnosis of the issue, and misunderstanding on the user's part about what the issue was and how it was fixed.

The Solution: This is a tough one, because it involves changing habits. If this is a chronic problem for your organization, consider having every issue written up, and then signed by the applicable user when it has been fixed. The user signature signifies that the correct issue was fixed and that the user understands what was done. Invite the user to seek additional communication if there isn't clarity.

4: Email as Primary Communication

Too often, IT professionals use email as a primary means of communication. Emails are impersonal, and they don't build community like face-to-face conversations do. Phone calls are slightly better.

The Solution: Ask your IT pro to do regular rounds to every station in your office. This is a great way for your IT pro to make connections with co-workers, and even discover issues before they become major. I do rounds every day for my clients.

5: Email as Jargon Opportunity

Because of the impersonal nature of email, it is easy for IT pros to get away with putting lots of jargon in them. There's no way for an IT pro to tell if an explanation is being immediately understood or not, and thus no way for them to know what needs clarification.

The Solution: Write emails back to your IT pros asking for clarification on topics you don't understand. Better yet, request a phone call or face-to-face meeting.

That all sounds Way Too Hard!

That's fine: not every organization or IT pro is equipped to make meaningful fixes to these mistakes. That's where Sinfonia Solutions comes in. Hire us to be a part of your IT support team, and see the difference.