Why user’s lie

I think Andy’s comment on that last post hints at some of why user’s lie. He says:

but then a reboot WILL cure a lot of problems but doesn’t actually fix the problem as to WHY it happens.

I think a large part of why user’s lie is tied into their expectations. When you work in a large office, certainly you shouldn’t EVER have a problem like a random application hang, or random crash, and if you do, the IT staff should come running immediately to make sure it never happens again. Since the IT staff doesn’t seem to take the same view of the occasional hang, you lie about the severity of it so that they will take it more seriously.

In an ideal world, Windows would never crash, Word or Outlook would never hang up, applications would always give up the memory allocated to them the second you closed it, print drivers would never behave erratically, etc. But technology is not this ideal world. Sometimes all of those tings happen, and so long as it’s not a pattern of behavior, there really isn’t anything your IT staff can do but recommend you reboot to recover from the problem, reset the memory, etc. and move on with your life.

Unfortunately, when confronted with this advice, the other expectation of users comes in to play, and that is they expect (or suspect?) that the IT staff really isn’t interested in helping them. They suspect, and maybe in some cases they might very well have cause, that we recommend a reboot in order to not have to do anything ourselves. I don’t believe that is true very often, but it certainly is the impression out there. So much so that at my last job I actually wrote a “tip of the week” called In Defense of Rebooting, in which I described exactly what happens when Windows develops memory or application problems and why rebooting generally fixes the immediate problem, and does so in a much smaller time frame than trying to figure out exactly why something is hung up. I also explained that a one time hang is nothing unusual on a desktop PC, but that a pattern of them is something I can find another solution for, but that it will take more than one to start to see a pattern. Perhaps I should see if I have that documented somewhere. 🙂

What other expectations do users or IT staff have that get in the way of good helpdesk/users relationships?

Tags: Users, Helpdesk, Expectations

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One Comment

  1. A major expectation of a user is that they are the only one having a problem and that this is your number one priority. This expectation seems to get worse the higher up the management scale they are (and often the simplicity of the solution or *real* impact is lessened the higher the management scale. Sometimes the problems will range from the caps lock key being on whilst entering the password or windows update prompting them to reboot for (real world) examples……
    the fact that the exchange server might have a serious problem at the time doesn’t really matter – that password must be entered NOW

    Sorry this appears on sysadmin day 😉

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