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Support Staff Detail Unusual Requests

"Can you help me fix my toilet?" was just one of the unusual requests chief information officers (CIOs) said they or their support staff have received, according to a new Robert Half Technology survey.

The survey was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CIOs from companies across the United States with 100 or more employees.

CIOs were asked, "What is the strangest or most unusual request you or a member of your help desk or technical support team has ever received?" Their responses included:

* "How do I clean cat hair out of my computer fan?"
* "How do I remove a sesame seed from the keyboard?"
* "I need help drilling holes in the wall."
* "Can you come over and plug in this cord for me?"
* "I need you to install a video monitoring system."
* "Can I turn on the coffee pot with my computer?"
* "I dropped my phone in the toilet. What should I do?"
* "I want to download software to change an audio file to video."
* "How do I pirate software?" 

Help desk professionals are known for lending a hand even if a request falls outside their job description, but requests to fix the microwave, recommend a good dry cleaner, or find an Elvis video online, went beyond the norm.

"Beyond their entertainment value, these unusual requests demonstrate the strong customer service skills necessary to work in the help desk and technical support fields," said John Reed, executive director of Robert Half Technology. "The best IT professionals are composed and empathetic -- and, of course, have a good sense of humor."

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