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Dino Londis: How to Keep Your IT Job and Gain Fans Doing It

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

If you work in tech and want to keep improve your odds of success in an uncertain future, you’d better evaluate your commitment to service.

All too often tech service people blow off customers altogether. A case in point: My recent experience with awful service at Comcast’s Triple Play. I dumped it — and it was purely because of the service.

With Triple Play, I noticed web access was getting spotty.  It was cutting out for a minute or two every half hour, killing phone calls and interrupting Netflix and all streaming services. I called a string of reps at Comcast, each of whom alternately blamed my box, my surge processor and, finally, my router. And that took a week.

Week two featured techguy after techguy trudging through my basement — or coming down from cherry pickers and blaming the other service folk down below. Each one in the parade of service people hung around just long enough for the Internet to appear stable, but not long enough to fail.

Nothing fixed the problem. No one was even looking at the problem, which was the biggest problem of all. No one there owned the problem, which meant I owned the problem. After techs filed about a dozen trouble tickets  — each marked complete and successful — I still had kludgy Internet access. And I had had enough. I finally cancelled the service.

This is the kind of thing that spells death in the enterprise.  Here are ways to succeed in IT — and keep your users happy.

  • There are problems and there are solutions. Find solutions. Solve someone’s problem rather than lobbing an answer back at them. If you want to be one of the techs who thrive during a tech consolidation you need to serve the user.
  • Take ownership of the problem. If you pass a work order on to someone else, you need to follow up that it was, in fact, resolved. Follow it down the workflow until the request truly is closed and complete. If there are obstacles,  report them to the user and follow up. That’s where you’ll make the biggest impact in IT. We all know that sometimes a fix breaks something else. This is common sense, but so few IT techs do it.
  • Follow up some more. Users are reluctant to call IT back because they don’t want the hassle of having to explain the history of what happened. So instead they work around it and bad mouth IT. Send an email with the subject line: Follow Up. That gets me a response every time. No one will ever open an email you title, for example, Exchange Migration.
  • Give meaningful feedback. That, after all, is all I was begging the techs at Comcast for. Taking ownership of the users’ problems, following up and giving users meaningful feedback could save your hide in a staff cutback. Your job will be infinitely more secure if only because you have created a fan base of advocates inside the company.

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