Many organizations use an outsourced IT support company to assist their employees with setting up their computers and with any computer issues they may experience.
For these organizations, in-house or third-party IT customer service provides a necessary level of support for employees — whether employees are working at headquarters, in a hotel, or from home.
Most office workers simply want to get their jobs done. Marketers and salespeople want to focus as much as possible on landing new customers. Staff doesn’t have the time or the inclination to learn about the many behind-the-scenes workings of information technology and systems.
This is why access to a knowledgeable team of IT support techs with a broad range of skills is so important to business productivity and success.
We’ll first look at 10 of the most common problems that people within organizations request IT help desk support to solve.
Then we’ll look at some ways to reduce the need for support for these types of requests. Companies incur a cost when employees repeatedly request help for the same or a similar issue.
1. Problems Logging Into a Device or an Account
The good news is that a lot of people now use different passwords for each of their online accounts and local software applications. They are also using complex passwords.
However, it’s impossible for users to memorize multiple, complex passwords.
Because of this, a common help desk request is, “I’m typing in my password but I can’t get logged in.”
When a complex password is manually entered, it’s fairly easy to mistype. Sometimes, the issue may just be a case of the caps lock key being on.
Two things that can help with this are a password manager and Single Sign-on (SSO). A password manager can autofill usernames and passwords. Single Sign-on means that one online account can be a gateway into other accounts (external link).
2. Printing Issues
Even though most of us print less than we used to, printing can still be one of the more issue-prone day-to-day computer activities.
A common IT support request is, “I’ve tried to print a document several times, but nothing is coming out of the printer.”
Printers can have paper jams. All printers run out of paper at some point. Printers sometimes lose their network connection, whether the connection is wireless or wired.
Sometimes, a Windows or macOS printer driver needs to be reinstalled.
3. Inability to Access Shared Files
With an increasingly collaborative work environment, there is more file-sharing than ever.
Whether files are on a local server or a cloud drive, a common report is, “I can’t get to our company’s shared folders.”
This can be the result of network connectivity problems. For files on an in-house server, the issue may be a back-end access control setting.
For cloud files, it could be that folder sharing settings have been changed.
4. Missing or Deleted Files
Important files sometimes go missing at the worst possible time, such as before a deadline or before a scheduled presentation.
An employee may report, “I have a project due tomorrow and I’ve lost all my work.”
Many companies now have disaster recovery solutions in place. These solutions can be used to retrieve files whether they were deleted accidentally or intentionally.
The role of the IT support person is to explain the safety net and how to recover missing data.
5. Challenges With Online Meeting Services
Because of today’s hybrid workforce, online meetings are used more than ever.
With a variety of different online meeting platforms — including Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams — people sometimes have difficulty connecting to a meeting, getting their microphone to work, or getting their speaker to work.
End-users can be challenged with sharing their screen when they have multiple monitors or an ultrawide monitor.
Commonly reported issues are:
- “I can’t connect to the meeting”
- “My microphone doesn’t work”
- “I can’t hear others”
- “I’m unable to share my screen”
Audio issues can be related to any of a number of factors, including hardware, drivers, services, and privacy settings.
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6. Slow Internet Connection
Almost everyone has experienced a slower than usual internet connection at one time or another.
The user report may be, “web pages are loading slowly” or “files are taking forever to upload.”
An IT support specialist can help identify whether this is simply due to peak load usage or some other technical factor.
Questions the tech can ask include, “Is this related to the time of day?” and “has anything changed since you first noticed the slower speed?”
When slow internet is reported too frequently, it may point to a need for greater bandwidth.
Many companies now double up on their internet connection both to get more overall speed and to have redundancy.
7. Wireless Connection Problems
Frequent reports on wireless connectivity are, “I can’t connect to our Wi-Fi” and “my Wi-Fi connection is slow.”
This is often related to a computer’s network settings.
There may have been changes to policies that now restrict wireless connections to a specific router.
8. A Suspected Computer Virus
When someone’s computer is acting strangely or running slowly, they may report, “I think my computer has a virus.”
The best way to diagnose this is to run an antivirus scan on the computer.
Often, a suspected virus or malware is the perception, but not the reality. The root cause could simply be a slow computer.
9. A Frozen Computer
A user may report that their computer freezes whenever they launch a specific application. They may report that a program not responding.
Sometimes, it’s just a matter of ending an unresponsive task in Task Manager. Invoke this on a Windows machine with Ctrl + Alt + Delete. In other cases, a hard restart of the computer may be needed.
10. Assistance With BYOD Applications
Most organizations do not issue company smartphones or tablets to their employees. As a result, employees bring their own devices to work.
Among common IT support questions for a BYOD is, “can you help me set up company email access on my iPhone?”
In order to set this up email access, server names, ports, and even digital certificates may be required.
An employee may also request access to files from their phone or tablet.
Reducing the Volume of Common IT Support Requests
Where there are computers there are problems. Hardware can malfunction. Computer software applications can experience bugs and have incompatibilities.
The job of an IT department — in-house or outsourced — is to help reduce the frustration of end-users and make them more productive.
Many of an IT support tech’s interactions with computer users are training moments. Rather than just fixing the problem, the technician can take a little extra time to educate their customer on how to avoid a similar issue in the future.
Vague, non-technical explanations such as, “my computer isn’t working” require more time-consuming back and forth communication. Employees can be educated on how to provide more specifics about an issue they are experiencing.
Businesses or their IT vendors can create self-help resources for end-users. This can be in the form of both FAQs and a knowledge base.
A system of proactive computer and device maintenance can reduce the number of IT support requests that relate to technical problems.