Letter #5: Some users just need Valium

You may want to give Valium to high-strung users, but management should really promote better training to get a handle on issues, according to this letter to the editor.

We recently asked ITKnowledge Exchange members what's on their new year's wish lists for working with end users. Here is one letter to the editor. Click for the complete list of letters.

Member Chippy088 writes: So what would I personally like to see make my job easier?

1. Valium for high-strung users, administered remotely at the touch of a button to stop them interrupting every two minutes to ask, "Is it done yet?"

2. A recorded message that says, "There, there it will be fine, our best engineer is assigned to the fault," for times when you are up to your neck in phone calls from users all reporting the same problem, within in seconds of the fault occurring.

3. Three times the staff we have now, so I can get a two full weeks holiday in the sun.

4. 48 weeks on holiday and four weeks working, instead of the other way round. (Again for the same reason as above, Murphy's law applies in both cases.)

On a more serious note (yes, I was joking) I think section management could be more proactive about how and when to report the problem. 20 users, 20 phone calls -- surely there is some way to notify the rest of the section that the fault has been reported and is being attended to. (An open office architecture, instead of lots of enclosed cubicles, tends to yield fewer phone calls to the help desk. The word gets passed faster.)

We have an MS-Access intranet database of FAQs for each application that we use. It is updated automatically when the help desk resolves any reported problem.

The first question we ask a user is "Have you read the FAQs to see if your problem has already been delt with before?" (No prizes for guessing their immediate responses.) No matter how professional the help desk, each user's problem is earth shattering to them. The more inexperienced the user, the greater the magnitude of the problem.

As we all know, tact and knowledge of the application(s) are necessary for a quick fix. Often user inexperience is the first problem to overcome, which is best rectified by training, training and more training.

In response to the sentence, "Even if those users are quick to blame for every small thing that goes wrong and rarely praise when big things go right," I think that old adage, "No one sees me when I am thirsty, but they all notice me when I'm drunk," sums it up. But that's the nature of our job.

Things are getting better for us DBAs, but we will always be the first in and last out at the end of the day.

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