COVID-19 Advice – How to Cope with Frustrated End Users

InvGate May 27, 2020
- 4 min read

The COVID-19 crisis has changed the way that many employees work in a very short space of time. So, it’s no wonder that there are some frayed nerves out there. Employees are often having to adapt to working remotely, potentially with unfamiliar equipment and/or less-than-ideal workspaces. To help, this blog looks at ways to deal with frustrated end users and how best to help them effectively, efficiently, and with empathy.   

Tip #1: Be available 

First and foremost, be available. It sounds simple we know, but make sure that you have enough people on your IT service desk to be able to keep up with increased demand for IT support caused by the migration to homeworking and the new technology solutions that needed to be adopted.  

Tip #2: Practice reflective listening 

This approach allows service desk analysts to better understand what an end user needs by interpreting their words and their intent. They respond by reflecting those thoughts and feelings back to the customer. An example of reflective listening could look like this: 

End user: “I’m frustrated that my laptop isn’t responding. Why is nothing working for me at the moment?” 

Service desk analyst: “So, what I’m hearing is that you have had multiple tech issues, that it’s really difficult to work normally, and you need urgent help. Is that correct?” 

If the person confirms that you’ve understood them, then you can move on with the call (ideally apologizing for their issues as soon as possible). If not, you can prompt them for more details. The more information that they can glean, the more likely it is that the service desk analyst will either be able to fix the issue at the first point of contact or escalate it to the correct support team.  

Tip #3: Be open and transparent 

Just about everyone is anxious and stressed at the moment. So, being transparent is more important than ever. In an ideal world, you’d be able to spend as much time as possible talking to each customer, making sure that they’re OK and that every possible action is being taken to resolve their issue. However, we’re not in the best of times at the moment and it may be the case that your service desk has less time to spend per call than usual. To help, be open and honest about the situation so that people don’t feel fobbed off. Tell customers from the outset that your team is much busier than usual, and that everyone is trying to handle as many issues as possible which means shorter calls.  

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Tip #4: Be prepared 

One of the challenges of supporting remote end users is that there’s no consistent setup – every person will have a slightly different set up because they’ve set it up themselves (and likely in a rush to keep working). So, here are some things to consider – to reduce end user frustration – when you’re dealing with their issues: 

  • Be logged into your user account management console, so you’re ready to go for password resets and unlocks. 
  • Have your licensing server up such that you can quickly assign licenses when requested 
  • Have a list of the contact details for the internet service providers (ISPs) in your area. Even though it’s outside of your control, it’s a gentler handoff to give the customer the contact details for their ISP rather than to simply tell them that you can’t fix their connectivity issue and they need to contact their service provider. 
  • Keep in close contact with your mobile service provider. If it’s not passwords, emails, or network services, it’ll likely be mobile – either signal quality or data because people will be tethering and using more data than usual. 
  • Create easy-to-consume tutorials on how to use Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and other conferencing services. Just trust us on this.   

Tip #5: Focus on the future 

The aim is to get the employee up-and-running as quickly as possible and with as little adverse impact on their productivity as possible. It may not be possible to fix every issue permanently, but workarounds will at least get them through the next few days. When giving employees workarounds or temporary fixes, try to shift the conversation to the future. This’ll engage your colleague and reassure them that their issue will be fixed further down the line and that you’re trying to give them the best possible outcome until that happens.  

Tip #6: Take ownership for delivery 

Tell your customer what you’ll do next to ensure that their issue is resolved. And FOLLOW THROUGH. So many unhappy customer interactions are caused by things being forgotten about. So, if you commit to something, please make sure that you deliver on your promises. Even if it’s just a quick call or email to say that the support team is still trying to figure out a fix.   

Tip #7: Keep going 

If you don’t have regular service reviews with the rest of the business now is the time to put them in place. These reviews allow you to ensure that service levels remain on track and that any issues can be addressed quickly before they become more complex, more entrenched, and more difficult to resolve. If you already have regular service reviews, then check in with front-line departments to see if they need more frequent catch-ups so you can flex to support them where needed. 

So, that’s our seven top tips for how to make sure your IT service desk handles frustrated end users appropriately (including trying to prevent their frustration). What would you add to this? Please let us know in the comments.   

For more information on how we’re responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, please see here how we’re offering our service desk solutions free of charge to anyone who needs them.

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