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Note – I can be a sympathetic, caring person.

I worked as a computer tech for a number of years, handing whatever problems came about for a large number of users. Any tech will tell you that it’s often a thankless job.The only reason your phone rings is because someone has a problem or to be screamed at and of course each and every phone call and each and every problem is top priority and of the utmost urgency. (how about calling the IT Dept. to say “thank you”?)

When you talk to your tech, don’t forget that your problem is one of many. Even if you do the whole “I don’t mean to bother you but…” it still ranks.

One of my favorite lines to the kids when I was a Camp Counselor was “Are you dead? are you dying? Did it fall off? are you bleeding? is it really a problem?” firstly it made the child stop and think, some actually checked their extremities, and it gave them some perspective. By the end of the week problems that seems huge were now not quite such a problem. They were dealt with, just differently. 

Some of you may know that I’m a part time Emergency Services Dispatcher. Dispatching has really put tech support into perspective. There have been calls where yes, a person is dead, dying, bleeding and stuff has fallen off.

Dispatchers learn to prioritize very quickly otherwise people can very easily die.

I realize that there are deadlines, that some or all work can’t be completed without a functioning system, yes your day can quickly spiral into unproductively if your printer doesn’t work or you don’t have an Internet connection. Heaven knows, I’ll be the first person to call Comcast if my Internet dies (if I can dial through the shakes).

Remember though, yes, your technical problem is a problem. Yes, if sure if you have a good IT Department they’ll have it fixed in due course. Just think about how many other people have a “Top Priority” problem that needs to be worked on ‘”Right now!”

Also, like when calling 911 help the person on the phone out a little. You shouldn’t call 911 and simply say “I need help” the dispatcher needs more than that. Name, Address, Phone number, nature of the problem and other pertinent information.
Don’t call your IT Department and tell them “my computer doesn’t work”. It’s not really a whole lot of help. I normally ask “What is it doing or not doing?” to try and shed some more light on the subject.

Thanks – I’ll step off my pedestal now 🙂


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Author: Andy Quayle

Andy was born in the Isle of Man and currently lives in Pittsburgh.
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