What younger users hate about IT – and what to do about it

One side effect of a more tech-savvy generation entering the workforce: Younger employees are more likely to fix their own technology instead of calling IT.

That’s the message in a recent report commissioned by remote support application vendor Bomgar. In the survey of 400 office workers age 20 – 29, 61% said when they have a technology problem, they try to fix it themselves before turning to their company’s IT department.

Even if they don’t know of a solution themselves, those users said they typically check online for information or ask a friend or colleague for help.

Why is that? One reason may be their impatience — 60% of respondents said that when they do contact IT, they think a reasonable response time is 10 minutes or less. As anyone who works in IT knows, that’s often not possible, and apparently, younger users feel comfortable enough with technology that they’d rather take a crack at an issue themselves rather than wait longer.

Of course, allowing users to attempt fixes on their own can be problematic — for example, a solution found through Google may cause even bigger issues than it solves.

However, experts point out that users’ willingness to provide some of their own support can benefit IT to an extent. If a user has some tech skills, a help desk staffer could get the job done quicker with the user’s assistance.

Here are some ways IT departments can get the most out of younger workers’ approach to tech support:

  1. Help them help themselves — IT departments can take advantage of users’ desire for self-sufficiency and take some burden off the help desk by handing out self-help documents that walk people through IT-approved solutions to common problems. Also, after a problem is fixed, support staff can explain to the user what to do next time something similar happens.
  2. Have a policy — While in the past, it may have been unlikely for users to attempt complex tech fixes on their own, it may now be helpful to have written policies in place or send email reminders asking people to first contact the help desk about their issues.
  3. Communicate their way — Younger users aren’t just impatient while waiting for tech problems to be solved — in line with the speed of communication in other areas today, they also want their requests to be responded to as soon as possible. Also, the phone is becoming an obsolete method of communication — email or instant messaging may be the preferred way for younger users to contact IT.