“Do you mind giving that a restart for me?” – is a line I’m sure 99% of you have heard at least once in your working life. As an office worker, dealing with IT support can provoke an array of emotions you don’t experience anywhere else. For us on the other side, life on the Help-desk is unique in every sense of the word. It can range from incredibly frustrating to extremely satisfying, but all is done in the name of ensuring our clients’ needs are met.
Today, we’re going to do something a little different, I’m going to put you in my size 8 shoes. First of all, you need to learn how to talk like me. Here’s pretty much the entirety of my vocabulary for an average day; Solar Winds, Autotask, Terminal Server, Bitdefender, Bloatware, VPN, Remote Desktop, Mimecast, Exclaimer, Office 365 and LogMeIn. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get started.
So, my alarm goes off and it’s 6A— just kidding, let’s fast forward straight to the office. In the life on an IT support engineer, no day is the same, however, there are some constants incorporated into our help-desk routines.
Answering Phone Calls
At Correct Group, we take pride in our customer service just as much as we value our IT expertise. Possessing all the IT knowledge in the world is irrelevant if you can’t relay that back to the customer in need. Typically, phone calls can range from a quick 30-second chat to hour-long conversations.
You never know what issue’s going to be on the other side of the phone, but that’s what’s exciting about the help-desk, it’s unpredictable beyond belief.
Every successful IT technician bases their work on the principle of organisation. Without structure, engineers cannot effectively deliver efficient IT support to clients. The process of logging tickets is a necessity in the IT world as it is the beginning of our IT support service. As a first liner, my role is to pick up the phone and solve the issue as quickly as possible.
If the problem cannot be solved instantly, it is either escalated to 2nd/3rd line engineers or allocated more time by myself. Regardless of the route, the issue must first be logged on the system for accountability purposes.
Working on Projects/Tickets
Multi-tasking is of the essence for a support engineer. At times, an engineer can be seen to be working on up to ten separate projects/tickets. The skill to simultaneously solve several tickets involves diligence and the ability to multi-task under time constraints.
So what kind of tickets do we encounter I hear you ask, here’s a sample; Password Resets, Malware Scans, New User Setups, Removing & Granting Permissions, Remote Desktop configuration, Updating Servers & PC maintenance.
Key skills a 1st Liner needs:
Customer Service skills / understanding the client
Ensuring you find out as much information as possible
Critical Thinking: in IT support, it’s not just about having the knowledge, it’s about being able to think in an unconventional way. Sometimes technology will throw unforeseen obstacles at you, forcing one to think outside the box.
Most importantly, we as support engineers must always carefully consider how our actions affect the client in need. We understand that not every IT problem can be solved instantly, and, in that downtime, we must find ways for the client to continue working. For example, if we’re working on a user’s Outlook Desktop application, we often set up the user with Outlook Web Access, so they still have access to their work emails. Unless completely unavoidable, we will always look for ways to cause the least amount of disruption to a client’s workflow.
At Correct Group, there’s a focus on not only fixing a client’s issue but ensuring the client is in the best possible position going forward. We don’t want problems to turn into incidences, we’d prefer to directly treat the cause of the initial issue, thus ruling out future re-occurrences & complications. Life on the Help-desk is challenging, but ultimately, it’s a role I wouldn’t swap for any other in the world.