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~ January 2002 ~
  • Some Things to Do Before Calling the Help Desk

"When faced with two alternatives, choose the third."
Madonna Kilbenschlag

Last month, we talked about tips on how to foster healthy relationships with information technology staff. This month we continue our discussion about working with IT personnel.

In preparing for the article, I had the privilege of networking with some very helpful IT individual working in service organizations throughout the world. Everyone noted that IT people desire to see employees succeed in learning about technology. Many shared alternatives to calling the Help Desk. Read on and choose!

Some Things to Do Before Calling the Help Desk
  1. Tap into the "Help" that is an internal part of the program you are using. Many questions can be answered quickly through this source.
  2. Shut everything down, and unhook and re-plug each plug and cord on the machine, one at a time so you don't accidentally put them back in the wrong place. Believe it or not, this will solve probably 20% of all problems -- particularly those that most frustrate people, the intermittent cutting out of various functions.
  3. Be as precise as possible about the problem -- including, if at all possible, steps that will recreate it. If your tech cannot see the problem, it may be difficult to repair.
  4. Relate any recent changes you might have made to the machine if the problem might have begun subsequent to such actions, including attempts to *undo* any of those recent changes.
  5. If it's a minor question or issue, check your manuals (if available) to see if the problem or question is covered before calling tech support. You will save your time, and that of tech support.
  6. Writing things down is a good idea -- you can make sure it gets seen exactly as you mean it to, and your IT folks can then ask any clarifying questions.
~ Thanks to Joseph Matuzak for his input for this column. ~

Georgean C. Johnson-Coffey

Georgean is a trainer and consultant in the areas of nonprofit management and volunteer involvement. She holds a Master's degree in Education/Staff Training and Development and a Bachelor's degree in Sociology from Indiana University.

Georgean is an Adjunct Faculty member of Ivy Tech State College with the Business and Industry Training Department. Her articles have been published in the Florida Libraries Journal and The Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances.

Georgean conducts national and regional workshops on Train-the-Trainer, Customer Service, Conflict Management, Staff/ Volunteer Relations, Fundamentals of Volunteer Management, Family Volunteering, Trends in Volunteerism, and other aspects of Volunteer Management.

Georgean is immediate Past Chairperson of the National Government Volunteer Coordinator Advisory Committee for the Points of Light Foundation in Washington, DC. She is Past Chairperson and Founding Officer of Northeast Indiana Association of Volunteer Administration, a professional membership organization representing 60 nonprofit/voluntary organizations. She is a member of the Association for Volunteer Administration, the Points of Light Foundation, and the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action.

Prior to starting her training and consulting company she served for several years as the Manager of Volunteer Services in healthcare, library, and social service organizations, leading programs of 500 volunteers.

Georgean C. Johnson-Coffey, M. Ed.
Blue Vision Training
15419 Timber Hollow Trail
Fort Wayne IN 46845
Phone: 260.338.1414
Fax: 260.338.1707



Copyright 2002 by Nancy Macduff
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