How do some admins feel about the notion of empowering users to fix things on their own? I recently commented in a Facebook post of a CompTIA graphic that joked how “90% of what IT people do is turn computers on/off” with the following response: “The biggest concern should be tools that empower end-users to fix things instead of giving all the power to administrators.”, with no real specificity as to how we’d planned to execute on that idea.

It took 25 minutes for the first comments to roll in:

“end users could care less.”

“lol, you must be new here. End users don’t even want those powers”

“hahaha no. End-users will always screw something up. They don’t need those powers.”

“nope, end users don’t want to help themselves, their attitude is it’s not their job. Nothing can change that.”

“Most end user don’t want to fix their own problems. Even the simple ones.”

One admin made a mock quote from a fictitious end-user:

“I’m leaving please just make my mouse work by the time I get back!”Me: Plugs in mouse in back of PC.”

The survey was in…. these admins are convinced there is absolutely NOTHING that can be done. Users are helpless, and yet having been on both sides, I know firmly that these beliefs, which power the attitude, and ultimately the behavior, are incorrect. Users are willing to meet you half-way, but they want a solution that will be easy to recall, intuit, and a high chance for success in the total resolution of the issue.

When I unloaded the core principles of FixFinder without necessarily diving into the product functionality and how we were doing this today, the objections shifted towards the uniqueness of the situation, the skill of the users, or the improbability that this could ever be possible. This was even in the face of empirical observations and over a hundred end-users on the product.

“you’re dealing with the exception, not the norm.”

“I’ve just seen enough systems implemented to do exactly what you are talking about to know they don’t gain traction among their intended audiences. If a problem is outside of someone’s realm of expertise, they want it fixed, which is not the same as wanting to fix it.”

“when it takes an end-user 25 minutes to find the power button just to turn the pc on, no amount of tools are going to help them help themselves. You must be blessed to only have to work with power users. However, most of us have to support people who don’t know the difference between a right and left mouse click. You can give them all the tools in the world, but they’re just going to straight-up ignore them and call the help desk to have someone else do it for them.”

Eight words from the comments stood out to me:

Attitude Care Change Fix Help Power Simple Themselves

Reframed into a positive mission statement:

“With the right attitude and people who care, we can make a change to empower users to adopt self-help, and enable them to fix simple problems themselves.”

At FixFinder, we’d never planned on starting with the hardest, most controversial ways to make an impact from the outset. Our initial goal was to build a bridge to multiple cloud systems end-users already depend on for information, bringing it a step closer. How can you resent the thought of making an attempt at that, even if it’s only for a specific ‘class’ of your end-users while the rest are unlikely to care?

Overcoming objections to this deadlocked Tier-1 situation will not be easy, but it needs to happen. We’re committed to building a bridge from the cloud tools IT uses to manage end-users, so they have some abilities of their own. We know that admins are fed up, resent end-users, and feel like they’re unwilling to meet them halfway. That’s how we saw the problem until this idea manifested into a self-help framework, which started to reduce our tickets, improve relations with our clients, and satisfy the people who didn’t want or need help from an IT Professional.

We know it’s hard to imagine, but maybe that’s what the game has been missing. Users are smarter than you think. If we seek to understand them better, instead of resenting this perceived inability to act, it may create a more positive experience for anyone seeking help for themselves on a computer system.

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