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Why Does Everyone Hate the Help Desk?

11/28/2011 by: The SunView Team

In a recent article at PC Pro, writer Tom Brewster discusses the topic of general discontent among users with a company's Help Desk. This does present a question though. While there is a fair bit of insight in the article, and while we all know and realize how the business and users typically view the IT department, what is the psychology behind - Why Everyone Hates the IT Department?


In life a disconnect often exists between those that possess a set of specialized skills, and those that do not. In many cases this is completely understandable. For example, a reality TV star discussing the logistics of lockout negotiations with an NBA star might result in a one-sided conversation. Of course, there is some reasonability that stars of any sort will find common territory for a conversation. That aside, the situation changes a great deal when those that lack a particular skill must obtain services from someone that possesses it.

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Imagine for a moment the typical interaction you might have with a mechanic when the check engine light comes on in your car. Unless you have a relationship developed prior, there will likely be a lot of doubt with the diagnosis, and perhaps even contempt on the cost a mechanic's specialized skills demand. At the same time, the mechanic sees reactions like yours almost every day, and knows even if you have the knowledge to fix the problem yourself, you likely don't own the tools necessary to do so - otherwise, why would you be there?

This same type of relationship tends to manifest itself at the Help Desk with similar results. Much like a garage, users come to the Help Desk prepped for agitation. They might even be able to fix the problem themselves (most issues come in at tier 1 and 2), but don't have the permissions or authority to do it. Add to this, the fact that a Help Desk is typically isolated and hidden from the rest of the business, and you have a recipe for hate. As a group though, we have the power to change popular opinion, emphasizing empathy over apathy.

As a final note, the article also makes mention of some frustration, and general "antipathy" comes from users contacting the Help Desk incessantly. If this is true of your Help Desk, take action here first. Make sure your IT Service Management software provides modern conveniences to users and Help Desk staff alike, specifically taking a look at the Service Catalog.

| IT Service Management