Unfiltered Story #160928

, , | Unfiltered | August 27, 2019

I work in IT for a university. One of the systems my team manages is the users server, where our faculty, staff, and students can host personal websites if they choose to do so. We recently got a support ticket from a member of our faculty. The exchange went something like this:

Faculty: My site isn’t working correctly and my colleague says I probably need to do [task].

My coworker looks over his site, confirms what’s wrong, and replies.

Co-worker: Your colleague is correct. You can find a tutorial on doing that at [URL].

Faculty: I don’t know how to do that. Will you do it for me?

Since the amount of support we are supposed to give to personal sites is minimal, we specifically designed the system so that we only have read access to users files. That way we can help identify a problem, but it is up to the site owner to fix it.

Co-worker: Sorry, but no, I don’t have access to your account to make the change, but the tutorial I sent you explains exactly what you need to do.

Faculty: Well this is typical of IT Services! You’re too good to ever help someone out. GO AHEAD, SEND ME THE SURVEY [referring to the satisfaction survey that our ticket system sends out when close a ticket] I CAN’T WAIT TO FILL IT OUT!!!!!

Me: I’m sorry you didn’t like [co-worker]’s response, but it was not inaccurate. As a matter of policy, we are not allowed to make changes to user’s sites, in fact, we don’t even have the access required to do so.

Faculty: You can close this ticket now. I found a student who was able to fix it for me in 2 minutes. I assume you must be [co-worker]’s boss. I certainly understand that there have to be policies and restrictions, but the way [co-worker] handled the interaction could have been much better. Please use this as a teaching moment for [co-worker]. These would have been appropriate ways for him to respond:

* Dr. [faculty], I’m sorry that I’m not able to make that change for you, but please stop by my office at your convenience to ender your password and I’ll do it for you.
* Dr. [faculty], I’m sorry, but I can’t change the file for you on my own, but let me come to your office and do it for you there.
* Dr. [faculty], I’m sorry that I’m not able to make this change on my own, but please call me to set up a meeting where I can do it for you.

I’m not sure what he didn’t know how to do, because he had already, somehow, posted his website and the tutorial he was sent showed every step necessary to do exactly what he needed. Also, keep in mind that both my co-worker (who I do not manage, by the way) and I are both senior software engineers, and are probably about the same age as this faculty member, judging from the picture on his site. Our team frequently has to turn down project requests because there is such a demand for our services, so contrary to what this guy seems to think, we aren’t just sitting around waiting for his ticket to come in.

Our boss tried to set up a meeting with the faculty to discuss “reasonable expectations” from our team. After the faculty cancelled, for the third time, all at the very last minute, he stopped trying.