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Halloween Horror: 5 Help Desk Tales From The Crypt

  • It's Halloween -- a day where nothing is what it seems, a day where paranormal activity plagues desk? Oh the horror!

    Just in time for this special day, SolarWinds polled its Thwack community of IT pros to dig up some of the craziest simple end-user-caused problems masquerading as IT catastrophes they've encountered. Here we compiled some of the "spookiest" (and hilarious) of these true stories for your reading pleasure.

    You can help avoid these scary situations by running efficient and well-oiled help desk operations.Here are some tricks and treats to make that job less of a nightmare:

    • Be in the know, measure and provide feedback: Monitoring and analyzing your key performance indicators is imperative, not only to provide insight into trends and issues, but to allow you to provide feedback to your staff.
    • Document every interaction: Keep historical records of incidents for cases, end users and assets to spot trends and solve future problems.
    • Keep everything at your fingertips: Empower your staff with all the data, tools, and resources they need to do their job, such as case and end-user history, common issues, policies and training.
    • Clearly define and communicate your help desk process and SLAs: Have a clearly defined process that not only sets end-user expectations, but also gives your staff a clear framework they can leverage.
    • Enable end users to help themselves: Create an easily searchable external knowledgebase that will allow end users to find quick resolutions to the easy problems that they frequently encounter. This strategy will help to reduce the number of help desk tickets that come in and will allow you to focus on more challenging problems.
    • Check your pulse: Survey your end users for overall satisfaction after their help desk interactions to see what you are doing right, and what you can be improved.
    • Transparency is key: Give end users access to their tickets and openly communicate what the next steps are and when they will be happening. This prevents unnecessary frustrations and contact.

    Don't be a victim of help desk horrors like these!

  • Monster meltdown

    It was a particularly cold day in the office, so an end-user plugged a space heater into the uninterruptible power supply unit used to support the network. This caused a power overload, shutting down the entire network.

  • Dungeon of darkness

    A user called IT with an emergency -- their computer monitor wasn't functioning. When IT arrived with a new monitor and cable in tow, it turned out the brightness on the screen was turned all the way down. The problem was fixed in less than 30 seconds.

  • Telecom terror

    A help desk ticket came in stating that all phones in a certain department were down. IT later discovered that the department moved phones and PCs to another part of the building without informing anyone. Even though most of the PCs worked, the phones should have been moved first in order to ensure they were working properly.

  • Lunchtime lunacy

    Every day at about noon, there would be an office-wide network outage. IT tried troubleshooting with the local exchange carrier, the technology vendor and company management, but couldn't resolve the issue. It was soon discovered that an employee was unplugging the power to the network box at the same time every day to plug in the microwave to heat up their lunch.

  • Sinister switcheroo

    A user once called IT regarding a broken mouse and keyboard. After IT explored the issue by checking and rebooting the machine, they found the user was actually plugged into the workstation next to them.