As I look back on the previous assignments that I turned in for this course, I have come to the realization that having a true desire and commitment to help your customers is the foundation of what makes a great help desk support agent.
In addition, having a passion for customers, a passion for the ever-changing technology and a passion to develop and learn constantly goes hand in hand to becoming a successful support agent.
So, before I list important soft skills a support agent should possess, we must define what is a help desk support agent. Reviewing the edX IT Support Fundamentals course online, I concluded that help desk support agents are considered the first line of defense for fixing product bugs, providing technical support and improving the quality and productivity of the technologies they support.
In addition, I learned help desk support agents are placed into different tiers, depending on one’s level of technical knowledge and work experience.
Tier-0, also known as self-help, is where a user reviews Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)s, checks forums or support manuals without any contact with a help desk support agent. Next, Tier-1, which is considered the basic level of help desk, where support agents hold a general product understanding and may not understand the inner workings of the company. Essentially, they would recognize a customer’s question and provide simple known helpful answers.
Next, Tier-2, which consists of a group of technicians who have troubleshooting skill beyond Tier-1 help desk support agents.
Tier-2 help desk support agent also determines whether the problem at hand is a new issue or an existing one. If the issue at hand is an existing one, the tier-2 help desk support agent then conducts tests to figure out if there is a solution or a simple workaround to the problem. If a fix is found, the customer is then told how to fix their problem. However, in some instances, there might be no solution as it’s an open bug. In that situation, the tier-2 desk adds an entry to the bug list. If a customer experiences a new issue, further tests must be done to see if it can be dealt with. If the tier-2 help desk support agent cannot fix the problem, the problem then goes to tier-3 help desk support agent. Tier-3, which usually consists of specialists who are specifically involved in product development. Basically, they deal with very complex issues, which requires collecting and reviewing as much data as possible from tiers-1 and tier-2 help desk support agents. Tier-4, which involves an outside institutional expertise skill set and are dependent on third party suppliers. At this level, the company simply request support from the third-party vendor to help alleviate the problem.
Second question, what skills are commonly required to perform as a help desk support agent? In my own experience working as a customer service experience agent at Hawaiian Airlines, staying level-headed in the face of a tense or charged situation, I was able to solve the issue at hand, resulting in the customer developing a positive feedback about their experience with the company. Next, having empathy for customers, by being a good listener and showing that you truly care. Next, spread a positive can-do attitude. In my experience, I always use to share positive quotes with my co-workers, which use to make everyone feel good, causing everyone’s overloads to feel a little lighter. Next, a collaborative team spirit. Meaning, feeling responsible not only for your own tasks but also caring about your team’s workload, too. In addition, caring about the team’s success and sacrificing one’s personal goals when needed to help the team achieve its goals. From experience, there are times that you will get pulled into tough tasks to complete with tough deadlines, having support from a group of team members that will cover for you to accomplish the task is a plus.
Next, passion for the product. For myself, being involved with insurance, knowing everything about the inside and out of what an insurance policy contains, helps applicant gain the knowledge needed to make an easier decision. Likewise, an awesome helpdesk support agent who has the most up to date knowledge, enthusiastic about using the product, understanding how the product work inside and out and always looking for improvement in themselves is a true champion in their company. Next, all-star communication skills. A great help desk support agent communicates with customers daily. Number one rule is to know the importance to listen and understand before being heard. Surrounded by the military, growing up around the world and being around all types of nationalities and ethnic groups, I have formed a sense of adaptability on how to speak and present myself that is acceptable to those groups. So, not only being able to communicate, but to know how to be effective and adapt to other different kinds of customers.
Next, advocates for the customer with balance. The ability to feel the customer’s pain and uses their resources to go above and beyond within the company’s guidelines to help the customer reach a solution. They look beyond 1:1 customer interaction to solve problems globally, and in turn, help even more customers. This could be something as simple as updating knowledge base information or filing a bug or feature request. At the same, they know how to prioritize their day, and are careful not to dive too deep into one problem at the cost of other customers. Next, respect for the customer. In my experience, I know it is very important to acknowledge customers by name and build meaningful relationships with them. So, at times you must cater to the customer’s needs regardless of where you fall on the technical and product knowledge spectrum. In addition, operating in a respectful manner is usually never portrayed as condescending or patronizing. Next, detective-like troubleshooting skills. Knowing how to ask the right questions and gather the available data to narrow down the root cause of the issue. You must be somewhat like a Sherlock Holmes of help desk and making sure to leave no stone unturned in figuring out what’s really going on and how to fix it.
Next, analytical and process-oriented approach. Understanding, following, and help improve your company support processes. At times you might have to take an analytical approach to drive change and use data to support your assertions. Care for quality over quantity when dealing with tickets to create happy customers, instead of dealing with a lot of tickets at a time, to only please a few customers.
Last question, why are help desk support agents important to a company? Here are some reasons I found online why help desk support agent are important. First, customer satisfaction, when customers are pleased, customers tend to recommend that companies products or services to others, resulting in greater revenue for the company. Second, improved quality, a company might be given the chance to look at the issues, brought by a customer to a help support agent, and use that information to fix a problem to improve on the quality of goods and services offered. Finally, a help desk support agent is critical to a company because it allows the customer the ability to communicate issues on the products/services they encountered, relayed to the help desk support agent who is then able to resolve the problem or issue, resulting in a positive experience of the company.
In conclusion, as you can see, help desk support agent are vital to a company’s success because they are equipped to be able to provide customer help to customer’s problems, which results in immediate customer satisfaction. Also, help desk support agent’s carry a wide range of important skills that are positive within the work area.