This platform is a project I’ve had in my head for a very long time, but the time never seemed right. For a while, it will probably be a bit of a work in progress as I decide on my message, my voice, and the topics on which I’d like to focus. With that being said, I do have a couple of core ideas based on my particular background and experience that have motivated me to write about IT. Continue reading “Welcome.”
Perhaps the most often overlooked requirement of IT support is the ability to adapt. On some level, adaptation is required for any kind of IT support and environment with a diverse group of users who bring eclectic backgrounds and preferences. Everyone who was done IT support for while, particularly in an environment where the general public can seek support, has seen that situation where we’re asked to support devices we have never seen before. The effective way to respond in most environments is not to adhere to some arbitrary sense of scope support and decline supporting the device, but instead to look it up if needed and attempt troubleshooting the best we can through trial and error. That level of adaptation is required in any kind of IT support, but most environments also depend on IT support professionals to adapt in more ways and it is through our ability to adapt to new situations, practices, and procedures that we grow as an organization and become more effective at the support we provide. With all of that being said, adaptation is a skill we need to refine just like any other. We are not all born ready to adapt, but we can become effective adapters through perseverance, openness, and practice.
When providing training for IT support positions, so many specific technical tasks, procedures, and concepts are required that often the most important aspect of what we do gets overlooked: supporting the users. While resolving issues in a timely manner is important, what would be most important in most situations would be the intangible skills of evoking empathy, providing emotional support, and active listening. These types of skills are often described as “customer service,” but I believe it goes beyond the mantra of keeping the customer happy. When the supported user is experiencing emotional distress because of a technical issue, we must respond effectively to not only resolve the issue, but support the user. What we are talking about, when done effectively, really requires going beyond our roles as they are often presented as impersonal troubleshooters focused precisely on resolving particular issues in a narrow point of support. What we must to do is dig deep to support that person as a person, much like we would for one of our friends or, perhaps more accurately, a therapist would support a client. Continue reading “Remembering “the Human Element””
It’s not easy to admit defeat, probably in any context. As IT professionals, we can be so focused on the resolution that we may lose sight of the ways we can improve the user experience through openness and transparency. This is a story about something that happened in my personal life outside the workplace where I realized I failed to set appropriate expectations and ensure exceptional user experience through the kind of open education, transparent documentation, active listening, and compassionate oversight I’ve come to appreciate in my professional life. I’m sharing this experience so we can learn how to appropriately respond to the expectations we are bound by when we step up and take responsibility — even when the capacity of that support would be informal and outside the realm of our professional lives. Continue reading “Learning from our Experiences”