When it comes to resolving IT issues, many end users will automatically reach out to IT support. Whilst this is entirely understandable, there are occasions when this may lead to a missed opportunity of self-help and reduced support costs. The fact is, many users are actually very skilled and knowledgeable - they just don't know it. I call this 'unconsciously competent'. Some end users are quite adept at grasping specific steps and processes (whether they have been shown by tech support or figured it out for themselves) and yet they resist the temptation to come to the aid of a colleague, even though they have a pretty good idea how to fix the problem. Why are end users not sharing their skill sets with their colleagues, and helping one another fix their own IT problems? Notwithstanding the fact they may not be authorized to do so, they are likely to be afraid of breaking something. They may have tried to help in the past, only to be shot down by a co-worker, or they might lack confidence and be afraid of getting it wrong. If users were confident enough to share what they know, and their knowledge harvested and shared with other employees, the truth is that dependency upon IT support would reduce massively. Specifically, basic tasks that tech support may have just talked a competent end user through could be put to good use if that individual were to be empowered to share their knowledge with others. Let me give you an example: A computer user calls tech support. The fix was a few clicks away and the end user understood the instruction. Five minutes later, a colleague two desks away from the first employee phones tech support with the same issue. Of course tech support will help, but it might have been just as easily handled by that first member of staff (given half a chance). Multiply this by 15-20 end users, and you have yourself a whole two hours of IT support charges that could have been handled in-house. At the very least, consider implementing a method for staff to share troubleshooting tips with one another. Alternatively, if you recognize an end user with a natural ability and flair for grasping IT, consider assigning them as the first point of contact for all IT issues. Even the responsibility of collating IT enquiries in the first instance is a good start, since it will eliminate duplication. With the right training, that appointed individual may even be able to resolve the issue directly. With the right guidance from tech support, it is entirely possible to empower one end user to act as front line support - reducing the dependency on external support. Sally Latimer-Boyce"BLOODY COMPUTERS - How to Regain Control of IT Support Costs"[View this article on Linked-In]...
COMPUTER SAYS NO
As consumers, we encounter technology on a day-to-day basis. Almost without exception, the person serving us at the store or petrol station is doing so with the help of an electronic device. The objective of the equipment is far and wide – but essentially it is designed to enhance the consumer experience and improve the productivity of the company providing the service. Delighting customers these days is no longer dependent solely upon the personality and spirit of the employee assigned to serving you. But just how much onus should we place on the equipment, and can we really afford to design out all traces of human intervention in the name of productivity? I recently reserved a hotel room. At the point of booking, I asked for breakfast and dinner to be included. After I had checked in, I visited the restaurant. After referring to the screen of her ordering system, the waitress informed me that the meal package I had paid for included a choice of wine or beer. I rarely drink alcohol, so I asked if I could have a soft drink instead. After several taps on her screen the waitress declined my request on account that “the computer won’t let me do that.” I presumed she would then add “but let me see what I can do” but alas no. To my astonishment this was her final thought on the subject, because the computer had essentially said no. Whilst the computer system she was using did not afford her the flexibility needed to change the transaction on screen, it was not unreasonable of me as the customer to request that she overrule it. The introduction of IT equipment was never intended to replace the art of decision-making. Of course reducing the need for employees to make decisions in a process-driven environment can be very effective, but (as this example demonstrates) if this is taken to the extreme it can also be incredibly unproductive. Further time was wasted when the waitress elected to call upon a manager to make the decision. Eventually, they reluctantly agreed to provide me with a soft drink. Not quite my idea of an quality service. Embracing technology does not mean one should abandon the responsibility to communicate as a human being. When assigned charge of a computer, in any environment, remember that the computer is not able to make decisions. Unlike humans, computers cannot use judgement or experience to figure out a solution. Avoid falling into the trap of allowing the computer the final say. Sally Latimer-Boyce"BLOODY COMPUTERS - How to Regain Control of IT Support Costs"[View this article on Linked-In]...