Study: Most Office Computer Users Reject IT Help for PC Problems

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FuzzDad

The truth is most people in large organizations don't contact help desks for PC-specific Incidents. PC's are mostly reliable, most people know how to use them (the days of calling for help with Word or Excel are over...google is your best friend), and unless your desktop engineering team sucks, the OS runs well too. The vast majority of contacts outside of password resets are people wanting to get somewhere...to get to a web site, to get email to work, to gain access to a folder, to get a shared calendar working, to get access to something/anything. It really is all about the network now and the way your security posture allows users access to the things they need to do business. These days help desk operators are really traffic cops assisting users on their journey through the network. Access rights (either granting or removing) are the number two contact volume at most large companies these days.

Also...in my travels running small to very large call centers...it's usually the engineers that piss and moan about IT support the most. They ALWAYS know better than the help desk and are always more prone to say so. The funny thing...more often than not the post-resolution analysis shows the Engineer used their admin rights to troubleshoot (usually regedit) prior to contacting the help desk and they actually caused a much worse problem than the one the HD could have solved w/one of their scripts. Imagine that...

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ShyLinuxGuy

Tech support in many larger companies is often outsourced, so they may get the guy from India or wherever who is friendly, but reads from a script, which is of little or no help, especially if he or she can't be understood. The higher-level IT workers (administrators and whatever) that are onsite are busy with higher-level tasks, so they can't and won't be bothered with simple requests like "how do I mail-merge?".

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basketcase87

I wish I could deal with problems on my own. My computer at work is admin locked, so I can't even let Adobe Acrobat install updates on my own. Luckily the IT department is fairly good (all local, actually competent).

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bikekevin

Sometimes it is simply because the IT department has no idea what you need. I worked as an engineer using high end (the company that sells the stuff self identifies it as such) CAD software. Normally, the IT department couldn't be bothered with taking the time to learn how to install and maintain this software. Even worse, they couldn't be bothered with taking the time to understand the hardware required to run it. Both problems leave the user on his / her own when either software or hardware stops working.

In one way it is easy to understand since the vast majority of their customers are using their PCs to write memos and enter data into spreadsheets. On the other hand the people creating and maintaining intellectual property that keeps the company profitable are not being served.

I was recently working at a site where the network side of the CAD software stopped working. The entire engineering department (50 - 100 engineers) of a multinational company was shut down for most of a day. Thankfully, this company did have a good IT department that understood what they were doing and fixed the problem. But, without really good support (the norm) the entire company would simply have shut down for a very long time.

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Renegade Knight

My organization separates CADD from IT. Each has "the power". To a point. We had a network upgrade and the IT guys broke a lot of the links and dependencies that CADD depended on. The CADD team said that they needed the IT team to step up to the plate and fix their part of the issues. The IT guys said the CADD guys needed to step up to the plate...

I had to step in and tell them both I expected them to work together to sort it out. The CADD guys had to say what was broken because IT isn't the CADD experts, and the IT guys had listen enough to fix things.

Having engineers and designers sitting on their thumbs does get the attention of management and the voice of reason wins the day. IT started to take me seriously after that (after a long history of being the red headed stepchild in their world) and the CADD team...about the same.

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jgrimoldy

With PCs being so ubiquitous for close to the past 20 years, I used to be convinced that most younger folks would be able to build a PC by now.

'Used to be certain almost all young folks could load an OS and would know how a computer works.

How wrong I was. Instead, it's just like when I was a kid when not everyone knew how to set a VCR clock or how to hook up a stereo.

The youger set is just as bag-of-hammers dumb as they've always been. Except now they can't spell or do simple math either.

Sure, they know the hip & popular web sites to go to, but they have no idea of what virtual memory is or the difference between RAM and an HD.

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HeroOfCanton

Yep. Plus, now they try and store sensitive data on Dropbox and make brochures with images they ganked from Google image search.

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FireGarden

"Sure, they know the hip & popular web sites to go to, but they have no idea of what virtual memory is or the difference between RAM and an HD."

That's easy. One is an animal and the other is an abbreviation of high-definition. What do I win? ;)

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tony2tonez

Here's a list as what i see. Some has been said.
No particular order.

1. Language barrier with over seas help.
2. They don't bother IT because they don't want to feel like an idiot.
3. Support reads from a script and if you ask a question that doesnt not fall in their flow chart. It throws them off.
4. Even less educated IT knowledge than the person calling for help.
5. Money

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smakfactor

You wanna know why? I'll tell you why...

OUTSOURCING.

Companies outsourcing IT or MIS helpdesk jobs to sources over in India, companies like Accenture for instance, make reporting of such issues with computers, domain accounts, application errors, whatever a serious problem for the standard user. Users are becoming deterred with calling problems in or reporting issues to IT because of the language barrier and the difficulty the standard user is having with communicating said issue they are experience to the support tech on the phone and the support individual explaining the solution. The language barrier in dealing with someone overseas is becoming so difficult for the user that instead of having to deal with the communication difficulty they would rather try to deal with the problem themselves.

Who the hell wants to call someone overseas and try to explain a problem to an individual who doesn’t use English as their primary language or even has a clue as to your business or impact of the problem you’re experiencing. The standard user community just gets fed up as a result.

Our company is currently being assimilated as we speak and talking with local users is depressing because the overall opinion of IT support drops as a result. I hate it.

And i'm not looking to offend anyone i'm just tyring to speak to the reality of the situation.

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jgrimoldy

Break/fix IT support is not a cash-generating department. There seems to be an overwhelming view that a company shouldn't need to pay much for tier 1 or 2 IT support.

You end up getting $10(ish)/hour or less techs. You get what you pay for, folks. I don't fault the outsourced (Uruguay) helpdesk at my company. They're just underpaid folks happy to have a job. Anybody on the HD that has decent chops will end up getting a better job elsewhere and be replaced with another minimally skilled tech.

My company could have a HD staffed with highly-skilled, English-as-a-first-language folks with American accents. We could have this. We'd just need to pay for it and we won't...

You get what you pay for...

It seems impossible for upper management to properly quantify the cost of downtime and ridiculously lengthy helpdesk calls.

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Renegade Knight

The biggest problem I have with IT isn't their level of pay. It's their enthusiasm as a support department in providing support for the tools we need to do our jobs.

Skills can be learned (and then yeah, they move on to better pay) but attitude...is what it is.

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USraging

+1 I don't think people know what it takes as far as knowledge for even tier 1 support if you really know what you are doing. I used to be in that boat as a CIS repair technician and the money that i was getting offered ended up being like $13hr whats that? i could work as a stock boy for walmart and make that or more. So i ended up going back to school to major as a network administrator. This is only one side of the coin because the other side is now network administrators in some companies have also taken on the roll of repair technician wearing multiple hats. What most companies don't realize is that if all you did is go to school for network administration you do not have the same skill set as a repair technician does and visa versa of course.

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Jaeger_CDN

Where I work, IT (tier 1 anyways) is provided by a group of lowest bidder script monkeys, alot of times you can barely understand their heavily accented english and can hear them rolling down their help desk scripts without deviation (yes I've restarted, no I have not changed the settings since they are locked out to begin with, no I do not need a new profile, etc). The few times I have called there and got someone who was competent(ie. went off script) then next I call and ask for them they are gone because they found a better job (typically tier 2).

They did have a competent tier 2 group that would come around our office once and a while and typically the calls to the "Help Desk" would spike to get them to fix the backlog of problems that no one bothered to call in for prior.

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bling581

And when they try to fix it themselves they end up making it worse! At least that's what happens in my experience.

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timmyw

Depends on the capabilities of the user and IT.

My experience is that IT tries to fix the problem for 20 minutes, shrugs, says it can't be fixed, tells you to live with it.

"My computer crashes when I do this."
"Well, don't do that."
[facepalm]

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andrewc513

As an IT guy that is actually good at my job... That guy, if real, is a shitwad and needs his performance reviewed.

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FireGarden

This can happen too! I remember one colleague taking it upon themselves to install flash on their computer. I caught her just as she was about to download a virus/trojan from a fake download site! She didn't have administer rights so couldn't have installed it - but still.

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rwwllms

As a Desktop/Workstation Support Tech for a huge statewide government agency I run into this a lot. I always ask why they didn't call me sooner before it got this bad and they always say they didn't want to bother me. I then try to explain them that it's my job to keep their computer running. If no one calls me with issues upper management will decide that I'm not needed and let me go. I also try to assure them that it's not their fault if they have computer problems (well, sometimes it is but no need to make them feel bad cause then they will never call me) and that computers and machines break down. It happens. No one will blame them. The important thing is to keep your computer running properly.

People who aren't all the computer literate feel like they have done something wrong when their computer breaks down and are too embarrassed to call it in. They need to go over this in new employee orientation that there's nothing to be embarrassed about and that it just happens. And that it's important that they call in computer problems as soon as they experience them.

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lunchbox73

Interesting. It's the exact opposite problem where I work. Seems like at least half of the calls we get are simple things that if the user took 5 seconds to Google they could easily find the answer or fix a simple problem themselves.

I suppose that's a good sign. We provide such good support they are spoiled and come to us for everything. I feel like Roy from The IT Crowd. "Have you tried turning it off and on again?"

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SkavenUk

lol, I was wondering how long it would be before someone came up with the IT Crowd quote.

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