It's Not About the Machine


by Roy Atkinson
March 16, 2017

"I’m here to fix your computer."
I don’t think so.
"Yes, I am. I came over from IT to fix it."
I don’t think that’s what you’re going to do.
"It really is."
No, I think what you are really going to do is improve my workday.

This conversation is not a "real" one from my own experience. I’ll save that for a little later in this post. It is one I’ve imagined having with many support people, though, and from my point of view, it’s one that technicians need to hear. We’ve certainly come a long way in the broad field of technology, to the point where we tend to think of all problems as technological in nature. We forget that the technology is there for a simple reason: To assist us. When it breaks, our assistance is diminished or gone; the technology is not serving its purpose. To restore the assistance and function offered by the technology is the purpose of technical service and support.

We in support tend to think of incidents and faults with the computer or the application or the system. These really are interruptions, barriers and hurdles that customers (and I include end users in that) need to get over or through. By providing our service, we are enabling them to get on with their work, meet their deadlines, and have better outcomes.

When we realize that we are supporting people and not machines, we think and act differently and deliver better service naturally. Being a good technician means that you understand how the technology works, and it doesn’t work (at least yet) without someone typing or tapping or clicking or speaking.

When we realize that we are supporting people and not machines, we deliver better service naturally.
Tweet: When we realize that we are supporting people and not machines, we deliver better service naturally. @HDI_Analyst @ThinkHDI

The computer is meant to serve the person, not the other way around.

It’s time for that story now. It was my last day of work in desktop support, and I was bidding farewell to many of the customers I had served. One of them came up to me in the hallway and thanked me—not for "fixing her computer" or "connecting a printer"—but for making her work easier and better. I will never forget that moment.


Roy AtkinsonRoy Atkinson is HDI's senior writer/analyst, acting as in-house subject matter expert and chief writer for SupportWorld articles and white papers. In addition to being a member of the HDI International Certification Standards Committee and the HDI Desktop Support Advisory Board, Roy is a popular speaker at HDI conferences and is well known to HDI local chapter audiences. His background is in both service desk and desktop support as well as small-business consulting. Roy is highly rated on social media, especially on the topics of IT service management and customer service. He is a cohost of the very popular #custserv (customer service) chat on Twitter, which celebrated its fifth anniversary on December 9, 2014. He holds a master’s certificate in advanced management strategy from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business, and he is a certified HDI Support Center Manager. Follow him on Twitter @HDI_Analyst and @RoyAtkinson.


Tag(s): supportworld, desktop support, support center, business value, customer service

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