Why are you banging the side of your computer monitor again? Well that’s not going to help. And put down the phone. Who you going to call? IT?
That’s not going to help either. At least not right now. You have to do a few things first. Like grab a pen and paper. And write down what happened. It’s like remembering a dream.
Good point. More like a nightmare.
But you need to write down all the details of what you were doing while it is still fresh. Someone is going to ask these things. While you’re at it, write down what programs you’re running. No, just don’t say word processing. Get specific. Are you using Word? What browser are you running?
OK, you should have a pretty detailed report on what’s wrong with your computer. By the way, is it still haywire? Just checking.
Hey, is everything plugged in correctly? Are all your cables securely connected? Is it possible to restart the computer?
Try all the easy fixes. Note everything you’re doing. It can help someone help you.
Before you call for help, use the prairie dog network. Just pop your head above the cubicle wall and ask if anyone else is having trouble. Maybe it’s not you. It could be the network. Even if it isn’t, maybe someone else has had the same problem. They might be able to show you how to get out of this mess.
Yeah I don’t know what’s your problem either. Sorry.
If you have any kind of access, try the Internet. Enter some keywords like “[stupid program]freezing multiple documents open.” See if there is anything about your problem. It’s really unlikely that you’re the first to discover this glitch.
If you’re lucky, someone will have a forum post or blog entry or article on the fix. If you’re not so lucky, the fix will be above your pay grade.
But at least you will know something about the problem. And IT people like people who know something about the problem. They like people who fix their own problems even more. But for now you’re not that person. The person you don’t want to be is the one who calls and says, “My computer won’t work.”
Those are the people who are of no help fixing the problem. These geeks and nerds seem like wizards with arcane knowledge. But they’re mere mortals who need info on the problem. They need to know what’s running, what was your computer doing before the problem and – as specific as possible – what is the problem.
No matter how close to deadline you are or how important you think you are, be calm and friendly. Yes, IT is here to serve you and me. But don’t act that way. You’re here to serve other people too. How should they treat you?
If the Golden Rule isn’t enough to adjust your attitude, remember someone will be setting a priority to your problem. Nice guys may never win, but they tend to get their problems solved.
Well, maybe not always. There’s always the chance that your problem is going to be put on the back burner. Then it’s time to master the fine art of the squeaky wheel.
First, squeaky wheels need to get names. Write it down. Get an extension and e-mail address for that person.
Second, call back when you’re problem isn’t fixed. Make sure you talk to the original person who logged your problem. Ask for a status and estimate on when you’re going to get a fix.
Third, be nice and friendly. Ask about more than your problem. Get to know the person on the other end. You want to be genuine but you want them to like you. If there is any chance to get someone to give more priority to your problem, it’s here.
Fourth, keep up the relationship after your problem is solved. Because the next time you have a problem, you want to be comfortable going to them directly. Don’t be surprised if they send you through official channels. But they might give you some advice on how to get a solution more quickly. Or your friend may bump up your priority or take a personal interest in the solution.
Of course this is only good if you’re genuine. Faking friendship with the IT people will backfire. They’re not stupid.
Sometimes you’re not going to have to have time for all this. Then it’s time to recruit a squeakier wheel – your boss. You’re going to have to let him or know why you can’t do your job. The best way to do this is to send e-mails to IT with copies going to your boss. That lets them know that they aren’t just delaying you, but a manager.
Make sure you show appreciation to everyone who helps you. Especially if they go out of their way to solve your problem. And find out what it takes to fix it. Maybe you can do it yourself next time. They will appreciate one less thing to do.
And maybe you can help when it happens to me.