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New Help Desk Q&A: Ask The Help Desk Coach!

April 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Hi everyone. Welcome to a new edition of “Ask The Coach”, the industry’s only free help desk staffer Q&A column.

Help Desk agents worldwide have either submitted these questions to HelpDeskCoach.com or asked these questions during customer service training for helpdesk agents presented by Donna Earl (The HelpDeskCoach). Look for tips that can help you in your Help Desk role!

Q. Dear Help Desk Coach:  *New!*
I’m the help desk coordinator of a busy tech support help desk, and the first person the end user talks to when calling in for technical assistance. The user typically blurts out their whole problem to me. When I tell them I can’t help them but have to transfer them to a technical person, they usually get madder and yell at me, even though I’m polite and tell them I can’t help them with their problem but can only transfer them. In addition, I have to ask for their customer account number and sometimes the user doesn’t know what that is, and they yell even more. It is frustrating and I feel like I take the brunt of customer anger all day long.

A. Dear Help Desk Coordinator:
Your job is to ‘triage’ calls to the appropriate tech rep, gather appropriate customer information up front, instill confidence in the customer, and keep your eye on the queue. This is not a job for sissies. You have a big responsibility and even though you aren’t providing technical assistance, a big part of the customer’s perception about the quality of the support your company offers is a result of how you handle incoming calls.

Let me offer the following suggestions:  1) Before the caller gallops through their whole problem, gently interrupt, saying excuse me for interrupting, to help you most effectively, I will transfer you to one of our specialists for help with your specific issue. 2) To gather necessary information from caller, say  to help you quickly, I will need your customer account number first, please. 3) Don’t forget the power of an apology. Even though you’re not responsible for their technical issues, say I’m sorry you’ve run into complications today. 4) Thank them for their patience, even if they’re not. Being thanked for model behavior they’re not modeling can be highly sobering. 5) Always communicate all information about the customer (or enter in ticket) before transferring to the technical support desk.

Q. Dear Help Desk Coach: *New!*
I work at a help desk that supports 396 educators in a school system. We provide phone support and on-site support, so we’re really busy all the time. I can’t understand why many of the teachers won’t learn how to solve their own problems. They’re teachers, but they don’t want to learn! I feel really frustrated when I have to go to classrooms multiple times to (re)solve the same problem over and over again. How can I teach teachers?

A. Dear Tech Guru:
Other tech support professionals will confirm that teachers aren’t the only end users who would prefer an on-site guru to resolve every issue. Part of our job is to provide technical assistance, and the other part is to provide technical coaching. Some users will always be dependent on us, however many will learn to help themselves if we coach them properly. Here are some guidelines for coaching users to help themselves: 1) Wait for the teachable moment before you try to educate them.

Most tech support agents try to educate the user while solving the problem. The user is still frustrated, and just wants the problem fixed! 2) After you’ve solved the problem (and the user has calmed down) quickly offer a suggestion: Next time this happens, try ______ first. If I’m busy and can’t get to you right away, it might solve the problem (or provide me with valuable troubleshooting information etc.) 3) Every time you resolve a problem or issue, add a brief suggestion or simple coaching tip. Most users will appreciate the information and will try to be more self-reliant.

>>See More Q&A Questions at Helpdesk.com!

Categories: Q&A

Be an ITIL Help Desk Hero! A Free Help Desk Software White Paper

Understand and implement ITIL Service Support without shedding blood! World class help desk software should provide complete support and integration for ITIL best practices.

The ITIL Heroes Handbook – compliments of ManageEngine — gives you a quick backgrounder on ITIL basics and dives deep into ITIL Service Support with examples drawn from real-world customers. It packs some action; you get to implement a Service Desk to understand how easy it is.

Oh, and we almost forgot — the comic approach taken here keeps you awake while you are trying to read all this stuff!

Here’s an excerpt:

The goal of this white paper is to help you understand ITIL in the right spirit without getting lost in thebuzzwords. Just to keep you on your feet, I’ll start with ITIL basics but focus more on ITIL implementation. Don’t worry if you are just getting started with ITIL, It is written simple enough for anyone with a basic understanding of IT.

Most ITIL solutions in the market are too complicated. Let’s take an example where a customer wants to implement an ITIL solution. First, customers have to get ITIL consulting to define ITIL processes and align it with business goals. The next task is to buy ITIL software; most ITIL solutions offer incident, problem, and change management as different modules. Even after choosing the software it takes months for product consultants to implement the process. The cost and time factor to implement an ITIL solution drives SMBs away.

Download the full white paper here! (It’s free! Just complete the very, very brief form)

Categories: White Papers
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