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How IT Staff Should Handle Angry Users

angry_it_usersIf you are responsible for handling technology for your company, you know what it is like to deal with angry or upset users. It’s simply a part of life in IT management. Not every exchange is going to pleasant, and angry users could end up leaving you angry before the interactions are over. When something goes wrong, users can get upset and stressed because they can’t get their work done in a timely manner, and that can lead to tension between employees and IT.

When dealing with angry users, there are multiple methods you can use to help calm the situation while getting the issues resolved for the users.

Let Them Vent
When things go wrong, users can become very stressed and agitated. Sometimes simply allowing them to vent these frustrations to you is one of the best ways to calm the situation so you can get down to business. You can even acknowledge the situation and let them know you understand what they are going through. However, if the venting becomes too heated or personal, you should excuse yourself from the situation and report the exchange immediately to management.

Repeat What They Tell You
When angry users are telling you about their problem, they may not have the words to describe it or simply do not understand what is actually going on. When talking with them, repeat what they say back to them so they realize you hear what they are saying. Then, ask them questions about the problem to try to discover what the true source of their frustration is and help you understand what they are going through.

Give Users A Time Frame
It is important to let the users know how long it will take to resolve their issues. Be realistic about the problem and how long it will take you or your staff to fix it. They may not like the timeline that you give them, but at least you are being honest with them and upfront about how you can come to a solution. Just saying that you will handle the problem right away does not give them any meaningful feedback about when they can actually expect a resolution. Explain to them what has to happen, and if you need to investigate the issue, tell them ahead of time so they don’t sit and wait, getting even angrier while you work on their problems.

Know When The Conversation Should End
If the venting and anger does not seem to be coming to an end, suggest that you can fix the problem and try to excuse yourself from the situation. Remember, you cannot actually fix their problem until you get a chance to work on it, and listening to an angry user rant about how upset they are does not do you or them any favors. Be up front with them and then leave the situation to begin actually working the problem.

Angry and upset users are simply a part of life in IT. Many users will even personally blame IT staff if they have a problem with their computer. Remember, this is usually done out of stress and frustration because they want to be able to work without issues. In the end, both you and your angry user need to remember that you are on the same team and working for the success of the business.

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