5 Important characteristics of a good helpdesk agent

1. LISTEN and do not jump to conclusions

Always let the customer finish explaining his issue and take down notes along the way.

Customers never like to repeat themselves and it never fails to frustrate the customer when the agent doesn’t understand what he wants or an over-confident agent who wrongly assumes what he is explaining.

 2. Repeat his requests or problem

Similar to a simple gesture in any decent restaurant, where the waiter will repeat your order, repeat your understanding to him.  In the case that it is a complicated issue, break it up into major points so that you can tackle them one by one.

This will assure him that you understood his problem and at the same time set you towards the right direction of resolution.

 3. Be polite when you need the customer to perform certain tasks

Analyse his problem and if investigation or more info is required, be polite and ask for his help to “check” on certain points (log files, re-try, reboot or tests). No matter how simple the task is, take note that he is actually doing you a favour. He has all rights to say “I don’t have time, send an engineer down now to get this fixed”. And there you go, wasting traveling time and another resource instead of getting First Call Resolution. Go along the line: “I am sorry to trouble you sir, can I have 5 seconds of your time to help me click on that restart button for me please?”

 4. Do not spend time finding out what is wrong, but focus on resolution

As per the ITIL process, leave the RCA to problem tickets. In an incident process, your main priority is to resolve the incident at hand. Customers call because they are having problems performing their job. In situations of a complicated issue, offer the customer a replacement notebook to “resolve” the incident so that he can proceed with his work and then take your time to “investigate” on the problem.

 5. Standing in his shoes (what will you do if you are the one facing the problem?)

There was once I stayed in a hotel and I called the helpdesk asking for a pen knife.

Helpdesk: “We don’t have a pen knife, but we do have scissors. May I ask what is it for?”

Johnson: “I bought a painting but I think it’s too big to check-in. I am thinking of carving it out from the frame and rolling it up.”

Helpdesk: “That might damage the painting, why not let me check the check-in size for you with your airlines?”

A few mins passed and a bellboy came up to my room with a pair of scissors, wrapping papers and bubble wraps. He explained to me about the airline check-in regulations while he starts wrapping up my painting for me.

Instead of just replying a simple “no” to a penknife request, they looked at the issue from my angle and managed to solve my problem with a better approach! I was really impressed by the service and gave a $10 tip to the bellboy (which is considered alot in my books).

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