How Long Should It Take to Fix My IT Issues?
If you have ever been in the unfortunate position of having to deal with a massive IT issue or critical system failure at your company, you’re all-too-familiar with that anxiety-inducing feeling of the unknown. Most business owners and managers aren’t familiar with the finer details of IT systems. That’s why you have IT support. Unfortunately, that lack of familiarity can also make it tough to determine how long IT issues take to get fixed.
When your daily operations are on hold and you have important clients to answer to, things can get hectic pretty fast. After all, time is money. So how long should it take for your IT team or person to resolve those issues?
Why Guaranteeing Resolution Time is Impossible
Truth is, the answer to that question is more complex than you might think! While IT professionals are frequently asked when issues will be resolved, most are hesitant to provide a concrete answer. Here’s why:
IT Issues Can Be More Complex Than They Seem
One of the biggest reasons why it’s difficult to provide guarantees is that most problems are far more elaborate than they come off. The computers and hardware that your company uses daily are meant to be as simple as possible for your employees. Just because they are easy to use at face value does not mean that things are simple behind the scenes.
Take, for example, printer connectivity issues. From a user standpoint, printers are simple plug-and-go devices. Yet, when you’re looking at the overall system of your network and printing devices, it can be a nightmare to fix. There are several reasons why a printer suddenly doesn’t want to operate. It could be licensing issues, poorly written scripts, driver changes, problems with the cloud, and the list goes on. All it takes is for one tiny problem to throw your printers’ functionality out of whack. To learn more specifically why printers suck, check out this article Why Printers Suck.
The same goes for pretty much everything in your digital infrastructure. Technology is complicated and ever-changing. While the problem may seem like a simple fix, there are so many things going on out of sight that could take much longer to fix.
No Problem is Created Equal
Next up, the number of things that could go wrong from an IT standpoint is unmeasurable. No two problems are the same. Thus, your IT support team has to treat every issue as a unique problem. While one thing may have caused printer issues at some point in the past, that doesn’t mean that the same culprit is to blame now.
IT Professionals Don’t Know Everything
Even the most highly trained IT professional isn’t going to be able to fix all problems in a few minutes. Despite all the knowledge they have about your system, no IT technician knows everything. It’s simply impossible for one person to understand every fine detail.
Great IT professionals are good at what they do because they have a great understanding of frameworks of how things work, not a pool of information. Frameworks allow IT people to troubleshoot issues in a more systematic way to get the answers they are after. While their existing knowledge of your system helps, most technicians are working off frameworks. It’s not about knowing what the answer is, it is knowing how to find the answer that gives good technicians the confidence.
Troubleshooting vs. Resolution
The term “troubleshoot” is often thrown around when talking about how issues are going to be fixed. It’s important to understand that there is a big difference between troubleshooting and resolving an IT issue.
To put it simply, when your IT person troubleshoots a problem, they’re in investigation mode. It’s a systematic process that involves identifying the symptoms of the problem, diagnosing it, and finding the source. Depending on the particular matter at hand, the procedure can be quite lengthy. It involves a lot of trial and error and working off the process of elimination.
Once IT has found what’s causing the malfunction, they can then take the steps to resolve it. The resolution of an issue is when the problem is finally fixed and everything is up and running again. Beware – they may fix one thing and something else breaks. This puts them back into troubleshooting mode.
What You Should Be Asking IT
Instead of asking your IT person or department how long it will take to fix IT issues, you should be asking about the process. For example, how long will it take for someone to start troubleshooting? This is an answer that your IT team will be able to answer.
Also, you should ask about escalation. In IT, escalation refers to the decision-making process and how quickly the problem will be referred to a higher-level technician. As we mentioned earlier, no single IT person knows everything. Whether your IT needs are taken care of by an in-house team or a third-party company, issues go through an escalation system that defines responsibilities and a hierarchy of specialties. Seasoned IT professionals even perform drills to ensure that escalation happens promptly.
You can ask about the escalation timeline and get more information about how long it will take for the issue to reach a specialty engineer.
It’s frustrating not having an accurate timeline of when IT issues will be resolved, but a complete guess can be far more discouraging for your team. There are a ton of things that could go wrong with your software, network, and equipment. Tackling those issues takes time. Instead of asking how long things will take to fix, consider learning more about the escalation process. Having a basic understanding of how IT works can help give you and your team a better idea of what to expect when things go awry.