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Comment Difficult Users (Score 2, Interesting) 902

A couple of years ago this story came out in ComputerWorld

Someone posted it in our Company IT Forum, and this is the response I gave which I think applies to this situation:

These categories are pretty good. But every single user you will work with is unique in their behavior when dealing with computer related problems. Interestingly enough, depending on how you handle these situations, you can use some of these personality types to your advantage in working with the problem.

For example:

Know-It-Alls - These people are more difficult to accomodate, as they're always asking for unusual requests, but the advantage is that if you go out of your way to help them, they usually don't need much follow-up help at all.
Know-Nothings - Ironically, I think this type of user is easy to work with. I find that people who have little or no experience with computers hardly ever call for support. As long as they can get what they need done, they tend to follow the same patterns (check email, enter work orders, etc.). Also I tend to find a lot less junk installed on their PCs.
Mr. Entitlement - Luckily this type of person is pretty rare. I think this person is more appropriately called "Mr High Expectations". I have users that expect a lot of hand holding, and feel neglected when you give them detailed instuctions. But again, like Know-it-alls, if you can bite your tongue and go a step out of your way, often they will be more flexible about working with you, sometimes waiting longer for you to make time for them, etc.

I could go on, but my point is that each user behaves differently, and it's not as important on how to categorize them as it is to understanding how to work as well as you can with them. I think the most important point of the article is that you have to maintain a working relationship with these people despite how you feel about them, or how difficult they make your job. Here's what works for me.

Be honest. - You have to honest about what you can and can not do for someone. If you let them know the limitations of what you can do for them, they are much more likely to meet you halfway to finding solutions. Also, you have to be honest about when you make mistakes. Admitting when you are wrong is pretty difficult sometimes, but most people are much more understanding and easy to work with when you do, rather than hiding behind your pride

Communicate - Let your users know what is going on. With so much to do as an admin/support technician, I think this is the hardest to do. But when a request goes too long before there are any answers, it causes the most stress that can easily turn to uncomfortable confrontations. Simply letting someone know that you are working on their problem relieves a lot of tension.

Empathize - Showing the people that you care about their problem helps tremendously. If you can get yourself "on their side", and that you are working together to solve their problem, it will make things easier for both of you. Also it will help you figure out the best way to help them, no matter what category of user personality types they fall into.

Respect - This is a double-edged sword. If you don't respect the user, and they don't respect you, the above three things are not going to be easy. But it is important that you stand up for yourself when someone is being disrespectful. In those cases, being honest, communicating, and empatthizing are even more important. If you don't handle those situations by being the better person, you'll make it impossible for anyone to support your side of the situation.

When it comes down to it, most people just want to do their jobs, not spend all day on the phone with you. Complaining about the users that turn your day sour makes you feel better, but at the end of the day, you still have to work with them. We're always going to have Mr Entitlement, and Know-it-alls, etc. But they need to be supported like everyone else. If you keep a consistent attitude on handling all of your users, you'll keep yourself sane, and be faster at moving on to more interesting problems.

Comment Re:I fail to see the problem... (Score 2, Informative) 83

The Justice Dept went after Microsoft while under a different administration. When Bush came to power, the whole Microsoft anti-trust case pretty much ran out of gas.

Google's goal as a company is to index the world's information. I don't see how buying a competitor for their data is evil. They used no government coercion to do so. They played by market rules and bought them in a mutually cooperative deal. How is it any worse if Doubleclick has the data, or Google does?

If you don't like google, no one's forcing you to use their services.

The CIA? Are you serious?

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