What Makes an Excellent IT Support Helpdesk

An excellent IT support helpdesk article header image by Sphere IT

Picture yourself working on an important fast-approaching deadline. It’s well past office hours. You’ve been burning the candle at both ends and would like to get the monkey off your back. But out of the blue, your computer decides to show you the infamous ‘Blue Screen of Death’, also called the BSOD in frustrated end user lingo.

The clock is ticking. The computer shows no signs of self-resurrection and you have a tone of work email to send. What are your options? Enter the world of utilising an IT support help desk right when you need technical support. A good support desk will be the one stop shop for all expected and unexpected technical glitches such as these problems. The IT help desk typically functions well past office time. In fact, most of them have 24/7 availability to call to pick their brains with technical skills, with a special emphasis on emergency situations such as these.

The service desk will lend a patient ear to your rants and offer only the best end user experience as well as attentive support teams with the technical skills necessary to help you. In all probability, they will fix the technical support issue remotely using best practices and management support tools. But if all else fails, a friendly member of the help desk technician team will drop into your business office for a one-on-one with the computer system that’s playing truant and preventing you being able to get on with your work.

Have you ever wondered the skills required to be a great IT help desk technician? You might discover that a IT support technician job description is generally very broad. What does it take to handle end users who are mostly at wit’s end and pretty fed-up to begin with? To deal with random hardware and software crashes, sneaky malware attacks and planned DDOS attacks. Then on top of this, to manage customer experience and expectations for technical requests often at absurd times?

What makes a good IT support engineer?

With our extensive experience providing our support desk services, resolving issues with our customers systems and business technology on a daily basis – We have learnt a thing or two on the subject of what makes and excellent support desk, with detailed information being outlined below.

Patience is important for the customer

Confused, angry, frustrated and anxious. These are some of the typical emotions of customers and their staff who reach out to the service desk for help. It’s a given that you will have to patiently listen to the technical information the customer provides to better help solve the support issue. In fact, just know that listening patiently and taking not of the customers feedback will get half the job done.

It will help soothe frayed nerves. It also assures the customer that you are trying to alleviate the current situation so that they can get on with running their business, which until then might have felt hopeless.

Attentiveness for the users needs

Skilled help desk support services should have and understand the importance of active listening skills. In a lot of instances, you will be dealing with someone who’s not as technically skilled as you are. So just know, listening closely is a critical role.

Very often, customers’ description of the technical issue might not fit the conventional definition either. Attentiveness will help you spot clues, which can be used to home in on the end users problem and subsequently, find a resolution for it. There is nothing more rewarding for both yourself and the client when resolving an irritating IT problem that is playing havoc with the customers computer when they have close to zero of an understanding of the case in hand.

A service desk should have empathy

One of the hallmarks and needs of a company providing IT support service desk is the ability to relate to the customer and what their company does. They do not take things personally. Instead, they empathise with the users technical problems, trying to understand where the customer is coming from. Acknowledge the frustration, requests and be able to communicate the empathy.

However, empathy does not come naturally to most people. It’s a skill that takes time to develop. It is closely tied to active listening though. If you can actively listen, you can reiterate the issue, which helps placate the customer. It also validates their frustration.

A help desk must have strong technical process skills

Club attentive listening with strong analytical and technical skills and you have an excellent IT help desk technician. You must listen closely, pick up clues and analyse the users situation. Can you diagnose the problem from the information given by the customer? Ask things like targeted questions if you need more details. If you feel that the situation cannot be remedied instantly, be ready to escalate it to your support teams service desk engineer who may hold more knowledge pertaining to the current situation. Inform the customer about the specific time to expect a resolution. It’s better to under promise and over deliver.

If you can solve the end users problem, great. Make sure to go the extra mile -Provide feedback to help the customer understand why the issue occurred and the fundamental process used to remedy. Some business service desks also educate the customer on what actions they can take with the best IT support helpdesk software, in case the related annoyance occurs again with the IT in their company.

Have meticulous customer service

Customer service desk reps need to be meticulous and detail-oriented when dealing with support request. They will first listen to the problem, collect as much information as they can from the customer, try and analyse the situation, come up with a solution and only then, fire off a response reporting the process required to accurately remedy the situation.

Interrupting customers when they are trying to speak, and attempting solutions before you are completely sure about it, may worsen the situation. Take time, be deliberate. But only respond when you are sure that you have diagnosed the end users problem accurately.

Provide a positive and creative experience

Problem solving is always appreciated. But if you can find a creative and fun way to do it, it’s even better. Customer service reps need to infuse warmth in an otherwise mundane technical conversation about software, networks and viruses. It takes panache, we’ll give you that. But if you have the zeal and a can-do attitude, you can close support tickets a lot easier in less time with happy customers operating a happy company at the other end.

That’s even if the problem remains unsolved mind you.

Should be a learner and listen to customer feedback

Service desk technicians must have a keen eye for information technology, management of expectations, and should be willing to learn. The self service and willingness to learn goes a long way in helping improve skills and knowledge, most of which will be accumulated on the service desk role as a whole. In an IT support help desk, it can mean the difference between a rigid technician who works by the book, and a learner who uses out of the box thinking as well as adopting best practices.

This is why employers also prefer hiring people who demonstrate the will to learn to expand their knowledge with information technology. They should also have the skills to efficiently adapt and solve support issues both independently and as part of a team.

Logic dealing with problems under pressure

Service desk support technicians are expected to maintain a cool head during high-pressure situations. You might have time running against you and an irate customer breathing down your neck. But you have to think logically and act fast. Be unflappable.

Multitasking is a skillset that you should develop if you are looking to get into an IT support role. It helps you prioritise tasks and maintain focus for the most important customer service requests.

Communication skills make good customer experience

You might have noticed that we have peppered the importance of listening skills and a positive attitude in this skill list. To add to those, a customer service rep in an IT support desk should have an innate skill to develop a rapport with different types of people and their business. Irrespective of whether you are replying to emails in a ticketing system, or answering phone calls, soft skills are critical to winning a customer’s trust.

Make sure to be flexible

Last but not the least, an IT help desk engineer must be willing to put the customer first. Even if you receive a support call in the middle of the night on a weekend, be ready to put on your Superman suit and get the job done. That’s because you’ll empathise, listen, put yourself in the customer’s shoes and realise that they are dealing with an emergency with their business. Not trying to ruin your weekend.