I’ve come to the realization that IT Techs are perfectly justified in being anti-social. I would too if I had to deal with the problems they do every day (which are usually created by a combination of willful ignorance and laziness).
Here are a few ways you can help mend the frayed relations between your department and your IT department:
Realize Not All IT People are Interchangeable: IT staff are like any other field – they have a variety of specialties. The guy who maintains the enterprise software your organization uses isn’t the same one that swaps out broken parts on your laptop. Don’t treat them all the same. You wouldn’t ask the media buyer for a press release – so don’t ask a network specialist for a new laptop power cord.
- Solution: Apply the lessons you’ve learned in multicultural training sessions to the diverse cultures of the IT department and treat people as individuals; avoid assumptions and stereotypes.
Communicate on Their Level: Stop. Leaving. Voicemails. Sure, it’s easy for you to blather on for 80 seconds about what you think your problem is, or what needs to be changed where on the website. However, most voicemail-inclined people invariably leave out critical information which will means a call back for clarification (ie lost productivity). Not only that, but you’re turning the IT person into your personal stenographer because they’re invariably going to have to write down what you’ve reported to process a service request AND to make sure that they responded to each individual request.
- Solution: Take the time to document your question or concern in an email – especially if it’s more complicated than resetting your password.
Appreciate the Nature of IT Work: People only notice the IT department when things go wrong. They never pay attention the 95+ percent of the time when things are going right. As a result, the feedback IT people usually end up getting is negative feedback.
- Solution: Put a note on your calendar to express your gratitude once in a while. A simple thank-you card will do (if you want to go the extra mile, anything bacon-related tends to be appreciated by the geek set).
Respect Their Processes: I know it’s convenient for you to keep contacting the same person every time, but what you have to understand is that IT people are ruled over by left-brained overlords who thirst for processes and scrutinize productivity statistics (kind of like the overseers in cotton fields, except much pastier and usually without mutton chops). Most likely your IT department has a ticketing process whereby all requests are recorded and delegated (based on workload/availability/expertise).
- Solution: Don’t be a jerk and try to make an end-run around the process – it’s important to submit those tickets because they’re used to track systemic problems.
Handle With Care: You know that boxy typewriter thing you use to pound out TPS reports? … Your Laptop? It’s a highly-sophisticated piece of machinery that would have made Thomas Edison poop his pants if he’d run across one. The people who repair these devices have a bit more respect for them than you might think – so it’s demoralizing when they’re treated like Tonka Trucks (in addition to being time-consuming and expensive to fix).
- Solution: Treat your equipment like the sophisticated machinery it is. Carefully bundle it up when traveling. Try not to lose all of the things that plug into it. Don’t leave it on when you’re not working for it. (In other words, glance at the manual and follow the care and feeding instructions).
Just because not all of us understand binary code doesn’t mean we can’t all just get along. Srsly. Don’t be a n00b.