3 lies users love to tell the help desk

Work in IT long enough and you’re bound to hear every excuse, complaint and problem in the book. That’s just part of the job. What you might not be ready for, however, is how often users will look a tech in the face and tell an outright lie. 

It’s not always malicious. Some users are just unsure of whether IT is there to help them or to bust them doing something wrong.

Here are three of the most common falsehoods users tell IT and some of the best ways your team can respond.

1. ‘It just started doing this on its own’

A variation on this popular refrain is “I didn’t do anything, it just happened.” Sometimes it’s true; often it isn’t.

Users are always a little reluctant to discuss the conditions leading up to a problem. Maybe they were visiting a site that they shouldn’t have. Maybe they just feel like they’ll be blamed for whatever the problem is.

In general IT’s role isn’t that of a cop, it’s a forensic investigator. Reassure users that first and foremost, the concern is to figure out what the problem is and how it can be fixed, not to assign blame. If corrections need to come later, so be it.

2. ‘My computer is the only one that does this’

Some users will have a permanent chip on their shoulder, convinced they’ve been given the worst equipment, software, etc. But 99% of the time, what this actually means is that they’re doing something no one else is.

Advise techs to use non-confrontational language with these users. Stock phrases like, “Let’s just see what’s going on here” or “OK, we’ll get to the bottom of this” are good ways to start conversations about problems caused by human error.

3. ‘That’s not what other techs told me’

If a user is making multiple calls to the help desk, they’re probably looking for a certain answer – which is usually the one they want to hear, not the right one. They have no problem throwing one tech under the bus to another.

Keep good logs of help desk calls and records of:

  • user’s issues
  • IT’s solution, and
  • instructions users were given going forward.

By having a written, documented history of help desk calls, you can remind users of what they’re supposed to be doing and make sure all your techs are on the same page.

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