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URGENT

“Urgent” tech support needs have gone from the occasional hysterical employee to a widespread plague that’s thrashing already-reduced IT departments. And as a result, the constant rush impacts the IT service quality.

Slower technology in the past meant waiting was part of the process. That 3 MB file attachment took a long time, giving you a chance to get coffee or watch your kid’s baseball game. Today, instant technology access has brought about a loss of patience and a surge in “urgent” demands.

 

This uptick in urgency can be attributed to several factors:

  • Reduced IT departments due to technological efficiencies

  • Increased expectations on remaining staff

  • More types of work are being done on personal computers (ordering a taxi, getting food, even setting a thermostat, etc.)

  • Immediate and constant access to technology, increasing device usage significantly

 

It’s like being in a hospital emergency room, where everyone's issue is an "emergency." The overuse of "urgent" has diluted its meaning, leading some to ignore it unless it's accompanied by a dire warning. This behavior is encouraged by IT departments that prioritize based on perceived urgency.

Poorly managed IT departments might wait for a crisis before acting, some might demand proof of the urgency, while others could dismiss the urgency altogether. This reactive approach only creates “jaded” IT professionals who are often bombarded with exaggerated emergencies.

 

What can you do to prevent this?

  • Avoid exaggerating issues.

  • Understand that IT will assess the situation based on overall impact.

  • Use the term “urgent” sparingly to preserve its significance.

 

What can your IT person(s) do to prevent this?

  • Communicate their workload and constraints.

  • Establish clear priorities with their team to avoid becoming the scapegoat.

  • Offer guidance on self-help solutions to empower users.

  • Focus on the true urgency, which might involve alternative solutions like using another device.

 

Following the resolution of an issue, it's important to:

  • Thank the IT staff and acknowledge that while the issue was your emergency, it wasn’t their fault.

  • Ask “What could I have done to prevent/avoid this?” and genuinely listen to advice.

 

Remember, urgency is relative. Considering the IT team's need to balance multiple requests can lead to a more strategic and less frantic tech environment.

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