The different types of users – for the IT professional

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These are the different types of users for the IT professional:


The quiet user:

This is the person who lives with minor issues.  The PC is a little slow, eh, they’ll live with it.  Outlook sometimes won’t load?  They’ll live with it.  They’ll only contact you if their PC is completely out.


The uneducated user:

This is the person who claims they know nothing about computers so they’d rather contact you before they do anything. They’re too afraid that if they do something wrong, they’ll break the PC.  You’ll spend a lot of time with these people but most of it will be very minor issues.  These people do have the tendency to learn and, with a lot of time, may become a knowledgeable user.


The ignorant user:

Similar to the uneducated user but they never learn.  They ask you the same question again and again, many times in the same day.  You’ll spend a lot of time with them and it will be extremely redundant.  If you are graded on the number of issues you resolve, these people will make you look good, on paper.


The vague user:

This is the person who doesn’t know what went wrong, what is going wrong, why they know it’s wrong, but they know it’s wrong.  They’ll also tell you hat “they’re having an issue with Microsoft”. If you’re lucky, they’ll give you half of an error message (usually the unimportant half) and can’t (or won’t) get into describing what is going on but expect you to know how to fix it quickly.


The wrong-answer user:

This is the person who won’t answer your questions, for example, “What is your asset number?”  “Um, Windows?”.  “What model printer is it?” “Um, my laptop is an HP”, and “What cubicle are you in? “My phone number is….”.  Good luck with this one.


The knowledgeable user:

This is a person who knows how to do basic things on their computer (other than their job).  They can make shortcuts, store favorites, they know the search command, and once in a while they’ll know how to connect to network printers and create new PST files.  When you get a call from them you know it’s something good.  A good sign of them is that they’ll never claim to be a PC expert.


The “I know computers” user:

This person claims they know all about computers and they don’t need you, even though they can’t get their PS/2 keyboard to plug into the serial port.  They have 250 icons on their desktop, never clean out their cache, never update anything, and have hundreds of thousands of files in their MyDocuments folder then wonder why their PC is running slow.  They tweak their own system to “improve it” but then it won’t work properly and “what they did didn’t cause it to not work”.  (i.e. “I changed my DNS settings to allow my computer to connect to the internet faster but now I can’t get to our intranet sites, don’t tell me that what I changed did it, I know for a fact that they are unrelated.  The worst is when an ignorant user teams up with this person.


The “I’m important” user:

This person doesn’t care about other people (usually a member of management).  They don’t care that you’re trying to get the LAN back on line for over 100 users, their issue with their Internet Explorer favorites is far more important.  They are also usually on their way to a meeting or a trip and need it fixed ASAP.


The buddy user:

This person will act like your buddy.  They’ll try to chat you up whenever they can (including when you’re trying to learn) for two reasons.  First, being their “buddy” they feel that they are a higher priority than everyone else (see “I’m important user”) and also to pick your brain on PC troubleshooting (see the “I know computers” user).  They’ll take take take but when you ask them for a favor they’re too busy or can’t.  They’ll expect you to go to their house to set up a 128 bit encrypted WLAN with 5 PCs and 3 printers on a Saturday night but never let you borrow one of his (many) pens.


The funny user;

They think everything is funny and laugh at it.  Their voicemails are usually something like: “Ha ha!  This is so great, our server got knocked over and parts are all over the floor, it’s so funny, but now no one can get to the internet!”


The “I hate computers” user

These are the people who think the whole computer industry is out to get them.  They make programs that deliberately not work for them and they have nothing but issues with every computer that they’ve ever had.  They are usually also long-winded users.


The long-winded user:

This is a person who will go over their issue, in depth.  They’ll spend 20 minutes explaining a while chain of events, this lead to that, just to get to their issue, which is usually something that could have been explained in a few seconds.  They’ll also leave 3 page emails to let you know that their fonts aren’t working properly.  You’ll quite often want to shout at them “Get to the point!”


The “I deserve the same” user:

This is a person who expects to be treated like everyone else, all at once.  One person gets a new computer, they deserve a new computer.  Another person got a new mouse, they deserve a new mouse.


The “I don’t care about the rules” user:

They are also usually “I’m important” users.  They don’t care about rules, policies, costs and so on, and why should they?  It’s not their name on the work order, it’s yours, so if someone gets in trouble, it won’t be them.  They also don’t want to go though the proper channels, they expect you to do everything for them (even if you can’t do anything for their issue).  They also usually also have your boss on speed dial.


The OCD user:

This is the person who will call you, then send you an email, then send you a text message, send you a message though IM, another email, another call, another email, another text, another email, another IM, another call, another text, 3 more emails, 2 more calls, 5 more text messages, 3 more IMs, and 2 more emails.  All in 15 minutes.


The impatient user:

This person expects you to be where they need you when they need you.  You also need to fix their issue in a matter of seconds regardless if you have parts in stock or not.  If you don’t have the parts in stock they expect you to pull it out of someone else’s computer.  These users also love to come and see you right before they go on vacation (I always found it’s interesting how people need their work computers when they’re on vacation).  These are usually also “I don’t care about the rules” and “I’m important” users.


The exaggerating user:

These people exaggerate everything.  “I’ve been having this problem for months!”  “It takes over an hour for my computer to turn on!”, “I get the blue screen twenty times a day”.  Rarely do any kind of reporting support their claims, though.


The appreciative user:

This is the one person in your office who will say “please” and “thank you”.

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One Response to “The different types of users – for the IT professional”

  1. Aaron Says:

    Ha! You always forget that most companies supported by IT are 98.9% Idiots, 1% IT professionals, and .1% anomalies :)

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