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4 things employees hate about IT (and how to fix them)

Sharon Florentine | Feb. 5, 2016
When it comes to gripes about IT, CIOs need to go back to basics to address the needs of their most important customers -- their internal users.

"One thing we saw come up again and again in our survey and in some of the comments was that when people contacted the help desk, they were made to feel that they were interrupting, that the help desk personnel were too busy, or even that the help desk staff was rude. CIOs and help desk managers have to ask themselves, 'Are we doing 80 percent of a service without following through? Why? And instead of helping, are we making things worse?'" Chapleau says.

Part of the problem may be in the way IT help desk services are measured by the business. If metrics like call volume, resolution time and the time each help desk staff member spends on the phone, then the pressure will be on to avoid taking calls, resolve issues quickly and/or rush through interactions with users -- none of which boosts IT's credibility or helps to demonstrate their value, Chapleau says.

"What you measure is what ends up getting the attention. And, yes, you want to resolve issues quickly, but that doesn't automatically equal improved productivity. You have to understand and accept that user satisfaction is the most important metric, and be willing to accept a decline in the traditional metrics like speed and volume to boost happiness and satisfaction," he says.

No one wakes up each morning and decides to deliver poor service, but if IT help desk personnel are being measured on the 'wrong' things, that's exactly what will happen. And if that happens, Chapleau says, overall satisfaction will go down, productivity will go down, and you won't see much business value from your IT department.

"We see that our client organizations that measure user satisfaction with IT and grade the quality of service they provide end up being the most productive. If you're only measuring the number of calls and length of calls, that's what your people will focus on. If you measure happiness and productivity, that's what will get the interest and the investment, and the culture will start to change. The ideal we're shooting for is one call per user per month; when that drops, the first instinct is to say, 'Great! Everything's fine and no one's calling us!' but you have to wonder, are they calling because they don't have an issue? Or because they don't trust that you will -- or can -- fix it?" he says.

4. Paper jams are everyone's problem

It's happened to every office worker at some point -- the "empty coffee pot" problem. You head into the break room, ready to pour yourself a cup of Joe to get through the afternoon slump and … it's empty. Who was the last person to use it? Why didn't they make another pot? The same frustration and disappointment happens when there are no set expectations for maintaining common assets like printers, conference-room technology like power outlets and projectors and, yes, the break room coffee pot, Chapleau says. The Green Elephant survey showed 39 percent of respondents aren't happy with the state of common assets, and IT usually takes the blame.


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