Working on a technology help desk is equal parts technical ability and equal parts customer service. The individuals that master both are going to be the top performers, every time. The main reason is when people have a technology problem they tend to get a little more freaked out than other types of issues. In addition, this is one of the few problems that will make some call a help line for answers.
For example, when someone’s car breaks down they usually have some indication as to the problem. If they have a flat tire, they know the issue and know exactly what it takes to solve the problem. Whether they do it themselves or not isn’t relevant. They are not worked up as there is no fear of the unknown. They already realize that they are not going to spend an hour on hold followed by someone that is not there trying to walk them through a complicated issue. This at some level puts them at ease.
For this reason, help desk employees should understand what the customer is going through and speak to them like they are human. Too often, large companies try to “dumb down” the help desk technician to a point that he is reading from a script. People pick up on this instantly and it makes them assume the employee is only capable of reading from the script.
I had a very clear experience with a poorly managed help desk just last week. My cable Internet went down so I called the cable company for help. Here are the ways the cable company wasted my time and disappointed me.
Customer Verification: This seems pretty reasonable; they should make sure I’m a customer before they spend any time working on my problem. However, I just called a support number because their service is having a problem. Should it really make a difference if I pay for the service or if I’m at a neighbor’s house? Even beyond that, they asked me to verify my identity using my customer number (does anyone really know their customer number) or my email address (they issue you an email address when you first sign up, and I have never logged into it since). The point is, it took me a while to find this information and it was a complete waste of my time and theirs.
Problem Description: They asked me what the problem is and gave me a speech about how sorry they are that I’m having issues. I explained that there are two PC’s in my home, both are down, and the cable modem is flashing an amber light. Everyone that just read my problem description knows that the problem is either with the cable modem, or with the service itself. Since the modem is rented and supported by them, either way it is a problem on their end. However, the technology help desk technician would not break script for any reason.
Troubleshooting: The troubleshooting was a complete waste of time for both of us. If the cable company really cared about wait times they would put an end to these pointless troubleshooting steps so the technician could get right to the issue. However, that is impossible so here we go…
Reboot My PC: I already told the technician that multiple PCs are down. How could rebooting one machine possible fix the problem? We had to argue about this for a few minutes until I realized that it would be quicker to just reboot.
Reboot the Router: Why? Just because that is the next item on the list. The cable modem is clearly the problem, but we have to reboot my router first. In addition, the individual started asking me questions about the router as if she was going to tell me it is not supported and end the call. I told her the router is whatever you support and I just rebooted it. This caused more arguing and more frustration.
Eventually I got her to look at the service and sure enough, she did some type of reset on her end and everything was back to normal.
People call the technology help desk because they want answers and solutions as quickly as possible. This entire process, including the hold time, took me over an hour to solve a problem with an obvious solution that could have been fixed within 2 minutes.
If you manage a technology help desk, consider letting your technicians do their jobs instead of reading a speech to ever customer that calls. They will solve problems quicker and provide a much better customer experience overall. In addition, since they will spend less time on the phone per call, they can handle more calls. It’s a win-win!