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And Now to Answer all Your Help Desk Questions…It’s Q&A Time with The Help Desk Coach!

November 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Welcome to another fresh edition of the Help Desk Coach Q&A, sponsored by Helpdesk.com!

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). Enjoy!

>> Click Here for More Q&As!

Q. Dear HelpDesk Coach: As a supervisor, I’m struggling with one of my helpdesk engineers. He is the smartest agent on the helpdesk, but users don’t understand him and get mad at him. He’s made some enemies in the company and although I try to explain that he’s really smart and I need him on the helpdesk, he’s giving the department a bad reputation. He completed an online customer service class, but it was worthless. How can I make others in the company see he’s really a good guy, and leave him (and me) alone about it?

A. Dear HelpDesk Supervisor: One of the truisms about customer service is: perception is everything. If your internal users don’t perceive your ‘star’ to be helpful or user-friendly, then he is denting your reputation. You realize his behavior could use tweaking, and since you provided online training for him. You didn’t mention how others on the helpdesk team react to him, but I’ll guess they feel he drags down the group’s reputation. Here are some considerations for you:

1) Online training can be very effective in many areas, however without interaction with other people, its hard for the agent to transfer behavior to real world scenarios. If your agent could participate in a coaching or training session and receive feedback, it would be a fairer means of helping him learn people skills.

2) You don’t mention whether or not calls are recorded or monitored. I would strongly recommend you begin recording and monitoring calls, and provide your agent coaching and counseling on effective call handling. (see article on providing coaching for call monitoring: http://helpdeskcoach.com/articles/CallMonitoringFeedbackTips.html). If you and the agent can hear what users hear during calls, it can help him develop a more user friendly communication style.

3) Make improving customer satisfaction a goal for the entire helpdesk, and an individual goal for this agent. Make sure the agent understands customer satisfaction is part of the job. Managing the performance of helpdesk agents includes insistence on standards of customer satisfaction and user friendliness.

4) Not everyone is cut out for constant customer contact, especially in a helpdesk setting. Some talented technical people find dealing with people for 8 hours to be overtaxing. They aren’t cut out for a high people contact job. Often these techies are best at dealing with escalated issues, recreating and researching issues and bugs, and functioning as a ‘coach’ to others on the team. If they can be assigned some non-people contact responsibilities to break up the day, it helps them deal more effectively when they must be ‘on’ for customers.

Q. Dear Help Desk Coach: The company I work for just acquired two other companies. IT support for these companies was centralized into our helpdesk. Prior to the consolidations, the other companies had onsite desktop support. Now they have phone support from our helpdesk, and can request onsite support, which takes a while. Users are upset about the changes, and when they call they complain to us about the changes in IT support now available. Not only are their complaints demotivating, but they don’t know how to use phone support since they’re accustomed to ever present desktop support.

Diligent Derek

A.Dear Diligent Derek,Every end user’s dream is on demand desktop support, however it is more costly to the organization, and when companies merge, often the IT support function is consolidated. However this reality does not make your job easier, or your end users happier. Brace yourself for a few months of organizational change ‘shock’ on the part of your users. When they complain, don’t take it personally. Tell users you’ll do your best to solve their problems, and help them get accustomed to phone support. Then ask troubleshooting questions. End users who are not adept at describing issues over the phone, will need extra patience addressing their issues. You might consider emailing troubleshooting questions to new users when they enter a ticket so they’ll be more prepared for the call. Keep your tone positive and encouraging, and thank them for their patience at end of conversation.

Q. Dear Help Desk Coach: Our organization has been acquiring other companies, and then converting their IT structure and software. This has been really stressful for our helpdesk, not only due to extra work, but mainly the bad attitudes of users due to the conversion. I used to enjoy my job, but now hate getting up in the morning.

Clara Lead

A. Dear Lead Clara: Conversions are a fact of IT corporate life and never well received by the user base.  As in my reponse to diligent Derek above, don’t personalize frustration of end users. Conversions are stressful while they last, especially on leads who take escalated calls, and provide a role model to other agents. Often companies provide a customer service course just before a conversion to refresh agent skill in defusing frustrated users. Coach your agents (and yourself) to maintain your cool while dealing with upset users. Remind the users that although the changes are unsettling, your job is to help and you promise to do your best. Then move into troubleshooting questions. Maintain your professionalism and stay focused on problem solving through this challenging time.

>> See More Help Desk Q&As!

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