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How to be a Favourite – #7: The Thank-you Email

You probably all know someone who seems to get the things they ask for from IT more quickly than you. Chances are, they are a Favourite.

Until recently, I thought I’d covered the main ways of becoming a Favourite. Then someone demonstrated possibly the easiest method of them all:

7. Send me a glowing and unsolicited thank-you email, copied to the Headmaster

Let’s face it, that probably trumps all six of the previous methods.

Why go to the trouble of becoming a Favourite?

By now you’re probably thinking that all these ways of becoming a Favourite seem like an awful lot of work. So why bother? Why not just blunder along in a haze of buffoonery like all the other users?

Well, consider this. Our Favourites don’t just benefit from faster, friendlier, service, but enjoy the following perks too:

  • We allow them to bypass the ticketing system from time to time without biting their heads off.
  • They almost never end up on the list of breakers.
  • They will be able to enter our office carrying a laptop without me asking them if they’ve broken it.
  • They are much more likely to be granted discretionary requests (such as an increased file storage quota).

If that isn’t enough to tempt you, consider this: being a favourite also means you are playing an absolutely vital role in the IT support system. Specifically, the fact that not all the people I help are work-shy Luddites is sometimes the only thing that prevents me from getting in the car at the end of the day and repeatedly bashing my head against the  steering wheel until I black out.

How to be a Favourite – #6: Be an enthusiast

You probably all know someone who seems to get the things they ask for from IT more quickly than you. Chances are, they are a Favourite.

6. Be an enthusiast

Everyone likes it when someone else is interested in what they are interested in, but with us, the effect is greater than the norm.

Most IT technicians are well aware that their chosen field does not interest most people, and it’s not exactly a cool profession. We are not the arty photographer who can be guaranteed a rapt audience from a woman in any bar we choose to walk into (at least, not in most cases). I’ve long lost count of the number of times someone has asked me how I put up with my job. Those comments are easiest dealt with when they come from teachers, since I can honestly ask them the same.

So, when we meet someone who is enthusiastic about the technology we painstakingly provide to them, the gratification is quite powerful.

However, this is a very fine line to tread. We are fickle with our enthusiasts, and the danger of overreaching is grave. Being interested in our job is great, but at no point, NO POINT, must you assume you KNOW our job.

If you have suggestions, that’s great. We like suggestions. However, sometimes we have to say no. If you don’t like that answer, for the love of God, don’t try and tell us why we’re wrong. When you do that, your Favourite status is lost.

FOREVER.

How to be a Favourite – #5: Be an attractive member of the opposite sex

You knew it was coming eventually.

5. Be an attractive member of the opposite sex

Or the same sex, if your IT technician is that way inclined.

This isn’t something we’re necessarily proud of, but there is no sense in denying it: studies such as that released by the Royal Society a couple of years ago confirm the common wisdom that men in particular are easily swayed by a pretty face. Most women would claim the fairer sex is immune to this, but my own experience shows otherwise, though certainly to a lesser extent.

Of course, you will have very little control over whether you can use this to your advantage with your own IT technician, as it will depend entirely on their preferences and marital status, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t acknowledge that it is a factor. I’ll put my hands up right now and admit that despite being very happily married, and despite this not being high on my list of reasons someone will get into my good books – it helps.

How to be a Favourite – #4: Attend the training

You probably all know someone who seems to get the things they ask for from IT more quickly than you. Chances are, they are a Favourite. Welcome to the next instalment in learning how you too can attain this elusive property.

4. Attend the training

We find it very frustrating when you raise a ticket to ask us how to do something that we covered in the training course two weeks ago. You know, the one you didn’t bother to sign up for because you’re a work-shy scumbag who wanted to go home early instead.

This isn’t about you snubbing our training session. What that says to us is that you don’t care to learn. That you can’t be bothered to take time out of your day to be better at your job.

Personally, as someone who actually tries hard at what I do, I find that attitude offensive. Don’t be too surprised if taking the time to help you becomes a low priority for me.

Now, if someone who did attend the training raises that same ticket, I will have no problem helping them. I get that IT skills do not come easily to everyone. The fact that you’ve tried actually counts for more with me than whether you can do it or not.

How to be a Favourite – #3: Be nice to us

You probably all know someone who seems to get the things they ask for from IT more quickly than you. Chances are, they are a Favourite. Welcome to the next instalment in learning how you too can attain this elusive property.

3. Be nice to us

Or at the very least, don’t give us grief when we’re trying to help you.

This should be blindingly obvious, but people still seem to forget it occasionally. If we turn up to help you and the first thing you do is blame us for the problem or berate how long it’s taken us to get to you, it doesn’t exactly make us want to help you.

If the problem actually is our fault, or we did take a long time getting to you, we’re not going to blame you for thinking less of us. Remember though that we almost certainly didn’t cause the problem on purpose – why would we, when we’re the ones who have to fix it?

There may be a completely unrelated reason we took a long time to get to you, but if you gave us an angry earful last time we were here, that should be a clue as to why we took so long to turn up this time. Criticism we can take. Abuse, we will not.

Lastly, if the reason you’re blaming the IT team is simply because you want someone to blame, we’re probably going to class you as a moron – and rest assured the whole IT team will know you did it. I personally make no apologies for that. If you’re a functioning adult, you should have moved past juvenile finger-pointing just to make yourself feel better.

How to be a Favourite – #2: Respect the equipment

You probably all know someone who seems to get the things they ask for from IT more quickly than you. Chances are, they are a Favourite. Welcome to the next instalment in learning how you too can attain this elusive property.

2. Respect the equipment

Remember, it’s not your computer, it’s the school’s computer. And by “the school’s computer”, we mean “our computer”. Many technicians, even if it’s only on a subconscious level, view the equipment they look after as ‘theirs’. We know full well that many of you, as users, believe the same, but the simple fact is that you are wrong and we are right. Like a child we helped bring into the world, we were there when the computer was installed, we were there when it booted up for the first time, and we’ve helped it through all its little growing pains.

If we turn up to your workstation and it’s covered in crumbs, juice, coffee, or substances we would rather not identify, you’ve abused our baby. This is especially true of laptops that are taken off-site. When they come back in stinking of cigarettes and with the keyboard filled with cat hair, we start to wonder whether we should perhaps place you at the back of the queue for a new one next year.

This isn’t true of all technicians, but it’s definitely true at my school, and of me in particular. My advice is to treat your workstation the way your IT technician treats theirs. With respect.

How to be a Favourite – #1: Ask us for easy things

You probably all know someone who seems to get the things they ask for from IT more quickly than you. Chances are, they are a Favourite. Today we discuss the first method of attaining this elusive property.

1. Ask us for easy things

It’s not that complicated, really. If the things you ask for are easy for us to do, we are less likely to groan when your name pops up on an incoming support request than if you always ask for things that take us hours of pain and misery to achieve.

Although this is perhaps the simplest method, it’s also one you won’t have much control over. Sometimes you’ll need things doing that are hard – just try to make sure they are not always so.

Favourites

Any IT technician who tells you they don’t succumb to favouritism is lying.

We all have our favourites; people who we are happier to help than the next person. Note that this is subtly different from people who get the most help from us. Some people get better service because it would be stupid for us not to do so: when The Head raises a support ticket, we snap to it, because he’s the man in charge and if we piss him off by keeping him waiting it affects our job prospects.

Some people we help more because they are bona fide friends, rather than professional acquaintances (and that’s probably true of anyone).

Our favourites, however, are the people we want to help regardless of their seniority or whether we will actually get anything out of it.

You probably all know someone who seems to get the things they ask for from IT more quickly than you. Chances are, they are a Favourite. “Oh Angry Technician, how do I become your Favourite?” I hear you cry. Well, I’m glad you asked, because over the coming weeks I’ll be detailing some tried-and-tested methods for ensuring that you too can win the favour of your IT technician, and enjoy stress-free service from them in future.

Stay tuned for the secrets of better living with your IT team…

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