IT Support 101: The Necessary Soft Skills for IT Support Jobs

Employers around the world are aggressively looking for skilled talents who can deliver great IT Support experience, as the demand for IT Support related jobs are increasing rapidly. Often times companies headquartered in North America and Europe are outsourcing their help desk and tech support to countries like India, Thailand, and Vietnam, etc. Today, IT Support roles required more than technical knowledge and communication skills. To shine as an IT Support Executive, you’ll need a range of soft skills at your disposal. I will briefly talk about a few of those skills in this post.

  • Exhibiting empathy: This is one of the most important traits of an IT Support Specialists. Empathy is important because it creates the right tone at the beginning between the support executive and the user. When you put yourself in the user’s shoes and realize the pain/difficulty faced by the user due to this problem, you’ll see a bigger picture of the situation which will motivate you to solve the issue effectively and efficiently.
  • Being conscious of tone: Often times we forget about this crucial trait. Tone is an important issue for both in-person as well as online IT Support role. In most cases, a comforting tone works better than that of an assertive tone. It will put the user at ease and help you get more relevant information so that you can do a proper diagnosis of the issue. In the case of remote IT Support role, you’ll require to use proper grammar, punctuation, spelling, and sentence. Depending on the clients/users region, time of the day and gender, a proper greeting can play a vital role. Also, you might want to write down the issues/problems faced by the user to avoid asking the same questions multiple times.
  • Acknowledging the person: It’s only natural that you may not have the solution to the problem right away or you might have to search for more information, apply a potential solution, or writing down the issues faced by the user/clients. In such cases, it is better to inform the user about the process you’re going to follow and ask them to wait for the time being. This way, there won’t be any awkward silent waiting since the user knows what the support staff is doing to resolve his or her issue.

Just be professional, acknowledge the users, and show them some respect.

  • Developing trust: Trust building is a key to delivering great customer service experience but it does not happen overnight. As a Tech Support executive, you may have many support tickets that need your attention but for the customer waiting opposite to you, it’s his or her only priority. So, to provide great customer service experience, support staff should consider every customer in the queue as his/her priority and act accordingly.

Empathy and acknowledgment are a big part of building trust. Without these, you’ll find it difficult to connect with the users.

  • Follow through on appointments: If you give a commitment to do something such as installing an OS update or software, fixing a bug or resetting a password, you should keep it. If for some unavoidable reasons, you are likely to miss the deadline (promise) then you personally contact the client and inform the situation. You should apologize for the delay beforehand and reschedule.

Be honest with the user, even if you think they won’t be happy about it.

  • Keeping the communication channels open: When you provide a solution to someone’s problem, make sure to keep the communication channel open. By doing so you can make sure that the user is feeling that his or her problem is resolved and if the solution doesn’t work, later on, he or she will be welcomed to contact again for the support. Since the last five minutes of the interaction will set the tone for how the users feel walking away from the interaction, make sure to end on a positive note.
  • Showing extra patience and care on remote IT Support role: If you’re a remote IT Support worker then this is like a constitution for you. Providing solutions over the internet through Skype or remotely connect to the users PC may not be ideal, however, you have to make do with the resources that are available to you (and also to the user). Therefore, having patience and compassion is important. Just remember that what may be easy for you might be completely different for the user.

IT Support may not seem like a glorifying job like System Admin but it is quite satisfying. You get to learn a lot by solving real-life problems faced by many users. If you are passionate about it, work really hard and keep learning about the new stuff, it will take you to a different and exciting career path. So, enjoy being an IT Support Professional and keep on solving problems and helping others.

This is an ongoing series where I am writing about what I learned from the Google IT Support Professional Certificate program. Feel free to read, comment, and share!

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