Being an IT savvy individual can be tough. Once your friends and family have identified that you have some level of computer knowledge, it is likely that they will be calling you for help on any and all issues. From viruses to spyware to hardware issues, there is no limit to where your closest friends and family will ask for your assistance once you’ve been identified as the “IT guy.” This can oftentimes be seen as a rite of passage in the life of IT professionals. When you are the guy to turn to in your family it provides a sense of comfort for them, but it can also provide an added level of frustration for you with a consistent flow of questions outside of your usual workday.
While it may seem counterintuitive, the ways in which you help your friends and family can also help you on providing end-user support within your office. Just like a typical IT guy is trying to avoid complications when assisting their friends and family, at work it’s just as important to find ways to avoid some of the headaches that can be associated with providing end-user and business level support.
Here are some of the easiest ways for IT professionals to make life easier on themselves in the workplace:
- Know Your AudienceUnderstanding who you are talking to and their IT knowledge level will provide a good idea of how you can make your recommendations relatable. People are more likely to fear what they don’t understand, and they will be less likely to do any work on their own if you make the problem sound out of their potential skill level.
- Avoid Technical JargonIf you are using words that are going over the end-user’s head, it’s likely that they are not going to gain the knowledge to fix the problem on their own in the future (this glossary has a pretty extensive list). People, for fear of looking stupid, are more likely to let you continue on rather than asking the question when they don’t understand the verbiage you are using.
- Provide the Resources to Resolve Problems IndependentlyOnce you have fixed an issue, it will make life much easier if you can prevent the same issue from coming up again with the same user. Walking through the instructions with the end-user, then sending a follow up email with the instructions is one-method that has been especially helpful for me. If you found a link on Google or Bing, forward that over their way as well so they have a record they can pull up to go through the steps on their own. LMGTFY.com does not count as providing them the proper resources.
- Stay Current on Your KnowledgeKnowing how to use search engines to find resolutions to issues is great, but it’s much easier to fix things when you have the insight and knowledge from first-hand experience. It’s quicker to have the fix already in your memory bank then having to look it up. I’ve discussed training in one of my previous blog posts.
- Keep on Top of Server and Backend System ErrorsThe best problem is the one that no one sees. If you can stay on top of the backend systems that are supporting your environment, you can avoid a good chunk of the calls and emails that are likely to stem from major server issues.
Following these few tips should help to make the life of IT professionals, along with those they work with, much easier. For the next installment in this series, check back tomorrow evening for what Business Leaders can do to make IT easier. If you have any comments, please click the comment button at the top of this post and be sure to follow me on twitter @burked585.