5 things IT is bad at and how to make sure you're not

A 2 minute read written by Dan August 4, 2015

A pixal art illustration of Maurice from the IT Crowd tv show.

You know the drill: The IT team gets called on to fix a multitude of problems, sometimes all converging at once. Think of us as the super-heroes of tech.

No, we’re not saving cats stuck in trees or running into burning buildings, but people rely on us to respond – and fast – when they have a problem.

Unfortunately, IT often gets a bad rap for not fulfilling those expectations. Here are five things you can probably do better to earn your super-hero status.

Respond in a timely manner

As soon as you get a request from a client, regardless if it’s a new project request or a support request, respond to your client soon, even if you have don’t have information. This not only makes your client feel valued but works wonders to build confidence in the relationship, which will pay off in a multitude of other areas.

Update, update, update!

It bears repeating: Even when you don’t have any tangible information to update, or you have a bad news update, keep your client in the loop. This is your opportunity to manage your client’s expectations. Another benefit: If you update your clients regularly, you’re not spending valuable time fielding phone calls or answering emails to explain what’s going on.

Break the bad news

Tied in with my second point is to make sure to communicate with your client even when it’s bad news. All too often people try to spin situations a certain way to deflect blame, especially in IT. Be straight with your clients and they’ll be straight with you.

Don’t lie – especially if it’s your fault

Piggy-backing off my previous point, communicate with your client even when the news is bad, and especially if it’s your fault. Don’t try and fudge the truth when you’ve made a mistake. Mistakes happen, and owning up to them is one way to earn the respect of your client. A huge mistake will require damage control, and may ultimately lead to a client going elsewhere - but you’ll learn something from the situation and your dignity will be intact.

Communicate, communicate, communicate!

If you see a pattern emerging in the previous four items, then you know that they all revolve around the most important thing: communication. Try to put yourself in your client’s shoes and instead of seeing communication as the “extra,” see it as an essential part of your job. Communication is key to distinguishing yourself from the rest of the pack.

There’s no excuse for bad IT support if you follow these five simple steps. That extra thought and effort helps build trust with your clients, which is always a good thing. If you have any other ideas for how IT can improve, please share them in the comments.