UK SMEs want to banish Britain's most annoying IT helpdesk phrases to Helpdesk 101 the call centre where all our worst IT problems are stored.

As IT becomes increasingly important to small businesses in the UK, phrases such as 'have you tried turning it off and on again' can be unhelpful, distracting workers from concentrating on doing what they do best.

BT Business knows that three quarters of small businesses surveyed in the UK are dependent on their IT and new research shows that most of the small business employees and owners surveyed use IT for at least half of their working day.

Whilst these businesses are embracing the advantages of technology they often find themselves frustrated by the advice they receive when things go wrong and the nightmare of dealing with 'Helpdesk 101'. In fact, 77 per cent of small businesses surveyed rely on the advice of such services and yet getting the right advice at the right time isn't always as easy as it ought to be.

Research carried out by BT Business found that the UK's top three offending IT Helpdesk phrases are:

  1. 'Have you tried turning it off and on again' (25 per cent)
  2. 'We are aware of your problem and are working on it now' (19 per cent)
  3. 'Try again and call me back' (11 per cent)

Dr Saroj Duggal, owner of the small business Crownsway Insurance, explains how the careful management of her IT systems has enabled her to free up both time and resource that can now be dedicated to driving the business forward.

'Getting the right advice on my IT is so important for the smooth running of my business. I can't afford to waste time talking to someone different who knows nothing about my business every time I ring a helpdesk, and there's nothing more frustrating than holding for half an hour only to be told to turn the computer on and off again.'

To help small businesses reap the rewards that IT has to offer, BT Business suggests the following tips:

  • When you're looking to renew your IT hardware and services make sure you do your homework carefully, look at your business plan and set targets to measure your return on investment
  • Look at areas where your systems could be more efficient such as the convergence of voice and data services
  • Get comprehensive support for every element of your IT and communications systems, such as security, firewalls, a help service and data storage back up
  • Don't just buy gadgets for the sake of it, look at how and when you might use them and how they're going to help you to manage your IT and communications more efficiently
  • Stay on top of the latest developments in the support and hardware market as technology for SMEs is constantly evolving

The work of an IT support helpdesk is not easy with technicians often working under intense pressure fielding many calls simultaneously. They also have the added pressure of trying to solve a problem that they can't even see. New technology has improved the effectiveness of these helpdesks - take for example the technology that allows remote access to off-site locations.