Help Desk Lessons

It was one of those days that just made me think I need to reinforce some basic rules for you non-techie folks when you’re calling your support lines seeking assistance. This will help you and us get through the call without either side becoming homicidal.

ONE: I don’t care if I did give you excellent support four or five weeks ago to fix “that one issue with the thing that one other person couldn’t solve.” And I don’t care that the fact that I called you to help you with that issue is the reason you have my direct line, which, apparently, you have laminated and placed prominently on your desk. DO NOT call me or IM me asking for help on something completely unrelated…You need to call in and get in line just like everyone else.

The corollary to this is that if you continue to hound me on IM after I tell you that I’m busy with other people and that you do need to follow the rules and call in to the help desk, I will block you from my IM, making it appear as though I am offline.

TWO: In any large company, the IT department can be made up of hundreds of people. Just because I’m in the second level at the help desk doesn’t mean that I know everyone in IT. Hell, we don’t socialize, so it’s a wonder some of us talk to each other at all. So, when I’m fixing a problem for you, and you decide to ask a question about “Joe in IT” or start talking about what “Alphonse” did with an unrelated issue last week, I have no idea what the hell you’re talking about.

The corollary to this is that the only time I’m concerned about your history with IT is whether it directly concerns the issue I have to fix for you right now. I only look up your old ticket to see if (1) it’s a systemic problem, (2) it’s a recurring issue, or (3) you’re an idiot who’s causing the problems on your own.

THREE: If, say, you’re a self-important person with the title to match, please respond to me when I ask you to, at least with a “I’m busy now, but can call you tomorrow.” If I’ve called you a whole bunch of times, and left messages and sent e-mails, but you haven’t responded in three days, don’t call me back the morning after I close your ticket saying you really need to get this fixed. I know you’re on your laptop reading your e-mail 18 hours a day, and your PDA is closer to you than your wife: just send me the damned e-mail saying your busy and ask to schedule an appointment.

The corollary to this is that it’s worse if you have your assistant call me asking me to fix the problem while you’re in the meeting, and she can’t log into your computer for me. Just don’t.

FOUR: We don’t implement changes, we just support them. So don’t yell at us for moving your personal drive on the network while we’re trying to fix it and get your data back. Nothing about the move was our decision or doing and we’re the ones working to recover it for you. Hate the overlords all you want. Just be kind to the messenger.

The corollary to this is that frequently, we’ve seen the problem you’re having before you did because one of us had it happen ourselves, so we get screwed just as often by those decision makers…But for us it’s worse, because then we need to help you whiners after we fix our own problem.

FIVE: We, like plumbers, don’t like people hanging over our shoulders asking us every 30 seconds what we’re doing. If it were something you could do yourself to fix the problem, I’d tell you so you wouldn’t ever call me again.

SIX: We did not write the code for Word, Acrobat or Windows. We do not know why it is set up the way it is or does things in ways you find confusing or nonsensical.

If we did write the code for any of those, we’d be a lot richer than we are now and certainly wouldn’t be dealing with you on a day-to-day basis.

See you tomorrow.