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Reality IT: Offering Good IT Support

A Tarnished Image

At times, we let our customers suffer in silence. Have you ever received an e-mail from an employee who was humbly following up on a request he or she made months ago? And we wonder why employees have a poor view of IT service. Small requests add up--and not responding to those requests can be detrimental to IT. A vice president might forget to give credit to IT for a big project if she has a three-week-old helpdesk ticket still pending on her own PC.

The secret to building a successful helpdesk--and a good image for IT--is hiring the right people. We've all seen Saturday Night Live's fictional computer-support person, Nick Burns (Jimmy Fallon), making derogatory remarks about co-workers' computer skills and shouting "Move!" as he takes a seat at some poor user's desk instead of showing the person what to do. A helpdesk requires the "anti-Nick"--someone with great interpersonal skills, even if he or she has only average technical knowledge.

If You Make a Mess, Clean It Up

Here at ACME, we knew we had a problem with our IT support, and we decided to do something about it. But, like most organizations, we had a lot to learn about building an effective helpdesk. We started out by designating a dedicated helpdesk staff, instead of using network technicians who had other responsibilities. Next, we implemented a rudimentary helpdesk system, using e-mail as the primary means of opening trouble tickets. But we struggled for many months before we recognized that these measures were insufficient.

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