Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/11/08/it_despair/

The crap IT circle of abuse and despair

Apoplectic users, sobbing helpdesk staff

By Lester Haines

Posted in CIO, 8th November 2005 12:27 GMT

It's official: IT doesn't work properly and as a result you're glued to your desk trying to resolve some technical issue when you should be in the pub, effing and blinding and occasionally throwing things, and pausing only to ring some hapless helpdesk operative and give him or her a piece of your mind.

The ultimate loser? Yup, it's the poor old IT service desk worker who pays the price for this techno-driven despair, abused without mercy by furious users.

That's according to a survey by IT business management solutions outfit Touchpaper (full plug later, as is the local custom) which took the results of three surveys into IT breakdown and incorporated them into an illuminating übersurvey from which the above factoids were gleaned.

The figures add up thus: one third of adults "who had experienced IT problems admitted to missing family and social commitments because a glitch had kept them at their desks late"; two thirds 'fessed up to swearing as a result; 45 per cent admitted an IT-related palaver sank them into a Black Dog for the whole day; and 15 per cent said they had thrown things.

That's as nothing compared to those on the sharp end: eighty-one per cent of service desk workers surveyed "admitted they or a colleague had been verbally abused by disgruntled callers"; and 22 per cent had considered quitting their jobs on the spot after a particularly obstreperous exchange.

Apparently, male callers are more diffcult than females, and those over 30 and senior management are more inclined to indulge in a bit of bash-the-helpdesk.

The solution? Well, 80 per cent of end users said "reducing the use of automated voice response systems" (yes, we hear you) would help. Seventy per cent wanted those on the other end of the line to have a better command of English, while 66 per cent reckoned giving the blighters on the front line more technology to resolve problems remotely would do the trick.

Graham Ridgway, big cheese of Touchpaper, which uncannily "provides software for managing IT service departments", explained: "Our research shows how emotive people can get when they have an IT problem. But given the growing importance of IT in so many organisations - when it breaks down, many people simply cannot do their job - we feel service desk teams should be given more help to manage the increasing workload.

"For example we are finding that end users can actually solve a lot of simpler IT problems themselves if they are provided with the right self-service software tools and access to knowledge based systems that learn from previous service incidents and provide advice and guidance on potential solutions. Much more productive than throwing something at the computer."

Not neccessarily, but we get your drift. You can download the full Touchpaper report right here (PDF). ®