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Communication Breakdown: 5 Common Issues with IT Support

Smiling IT engineer answering a support call

Do you dread conversations with your IT support? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone. IT support is there to solve problems, but too often communicating with IT support becomes another problem on top of your technical issue.

If your IT support is frustrating, communication could be a major part of the problem. Here are the top five examples we hear from clients about their previous experience with IT support.

1. Too much jargon

If your IT support often uses acronyms and tech specs, then you’re experiencing poor communication. Yes, information technology is complex. Sometimes, it’s unavoidable to use words like bytes, GUI, and hypervisor. However, IT engineers always need to keep two things in mind:

  • Use plain English over IT jargon.
  • Provide lots of context if using a technical term.

Here are two examples to illustrate:

Jargon-filled: Your WiFi configuration is throttling your bandwidth, so we might need to up your Gigabytes.

Plain English: Your wireless router is set up in such a way that your internet access is very, very slow. We need to assess the wireless router, see if there is a technical issue, and attempt a fix that will increase the speed of your internet access.

2. Not asking you enough questions

To assess an IT issue, an IT engineer needs to collect information. Jumping to conclusions often leads down the wrong path. That’s partly because information technology evolves so rapidly that it’s impossible for any one IT engineer to know everything.

That’s why the good, senior IT engineers will ask questions, investigate, and work as a team with helpdesk colleagues to objectively get to the root of IT issues. Poorly trained IT engineers may rush toward attempting a quick fix. Such a decision can result in more recurring issues that waste more of your time instead of speedy, efficient service.

Some engineers may be pressured to close a certain number of tickets. This pressure can sometimes result in a rushed service experience that may, or may not, fix the problem. But you’re left feeling neglected and without thoughtful IT support.

3. Reading from a script

This problem occurs when an IT support vendor relies heavily on outsourced (or offshored) and junior-level engineers. These people answer the phone as “Tier 1” support, but often lack the skills necessary to handle issues that go beyond resetting a password. An elementary script rigidly guides the conversation without allowing for real conversation and understanding necessary to solve your issue.

It’s important to work with a helpdesk staffed by senior-level engineers who have a lot of experience solving IT issues. When they jump on the phone with you, they ask questions, talk to you about what’s possibly wrong, and converse with you about how your IT issues are impacting your operations.

4. A failure to understand your operational needs

Many IT support vendors focus too much on technology without understanding the context of business. You may assume that a split occurs between technology and business: “My IT support is good with technology, and I’m good at doing my job.” However, some issues are unacceptable to organizations. Municipalities can’t have issues that interrupt or postpone a council meeting. Healthcare organizations must be able to access data to serve patients. A financial institution cannot afford data loss.

An IT helpdesk needs to understand the critical IT infrastructure that impacts your operations and prioritize issues that affect business continuity. It especially helps when your IT helpdesk understands your industry—such as having provided support for hundreds of council meetings, fixing critical IT issues for a healthcare provider during a busy day, or quickly restoring data for a financial institution while remaining compliant.

5. Lack of clarity around next steps

You’ve probably experienced an IT support call when the engineer talks to you a lot, you hang up, and you’re left wondering “What’s going to happen next? Did they resolve the issue? When do they plan to resolve the issue? Did they want me to call the hardware vendor myself first?”

This lack of clarity results from a lack of process from your IT support vendor. You should never be left wondering about the next steps. After hanging up, you should know if they’ve scheduled an onsite visit to replace a failing server, if they’ve remotely corrected an issue with your email while on the phone with you, or if they will call your website hosting provider to resolve a website issue.

Ready to reassess your IT support?

Communication is the key to a good IT helpdesk. If an engineer cannot articulate your IT issues and explain what they are doing to resolve these issues—in a way you understand—then they will not be able to help you with your technical problems.

Do these 5 examples hit a raw nerve? Then it’s time to reassess your IT support and consider using a more professional helpdesk. Fill out the form below and we’ll schedule an initial call to discuss your needs.