Essential tips for any Service Desk employee

Picture this. You are young and consider yourself an IT-expert. Excellent troubleshooter with a lot of knowledge. So you decide to work on a Service Desk of a company, just to make money, increase your experience in the field and try to get some good contacts in your network. Applying for a job as a Service Desk employee is not difficult. Becoming a Service Desk ninja, that's a different story.

  Here are some essential tips:

Assumptions is the mother of all screw-ups

This is something that came from a movie, Under Siege 2. My boss on my first assignment as a Service Desk employee used this phrase from the movie to point out the pitfalls of assumptions. You can assume that a customer/employee understands what the problem is, but this isn't always the case. You can assume someone knows what you are trying to explain or where you can find a specific setting on the computer.

If you want to become a good Service Desk employee, try to keep out assumptions. Keep asking questions to find out what the real problem is. No question is a stupid question, keep that in mind. You do not have to treat a customer as a complete moron, but by asking questions you can find out pretty quickly what the level of knowledge is. 

Never make promises you can't keep

You can promise a person to fix his/her computer right away while you have a lot of work to do. So you decide to postpone it. A little while later the employee complains that the Service Desk hasn't done any work, which makes him angry. You had other work to do and make excuses for your failure. Still, the employee is angry...

This scenario is something that happens a lot of times. People make promises they cannot keep. If you want to be a good Service Desk employee, never make these promises. If you know you have other work that have to be done first, tell this to the customer. Say you have some things to do first and agree on a certain timeframe to work on the problem. The only time you can excuse yourself from not doing the work is if there is a major incident, something that couldn't be foreseen.

Never blame the customer

Do not ever blame the customer of anything he did wrong, at least not in an offensive way. You should treat an employee as someone who knows what he is talking about (although you might know this is not the case). Just keep asking questions, and if someone did something wrong, try to make a small, friendly remark. This way you will not offend someone.

Note everything

If someone calls the helpdesk, try to make notes right away. Personally I used a notebook and a pen because I had to use the phone with my other hand. If you work on a bigger Service Desk and answer a lot of calls, you might use a headset. Use you computer to make notes.

If the Service Desk uses some kind of helpdesksoftware, make notes in the program. The main advantage is that you do not have to ask questions twice, which will give people the impression you are listening very well and take it seriously.

Every employee is equal, from CEO to desk clerk

If you work in an office, you always have to deal with the small political games and hierarchy. If you want to keep your relation to employees on a good level, try to treat everyone the same. It can happen that someone high in ranking is standing next to your desk, demanding that his problem has priority. If this problem is not urgent, the employee will have to wait while you handle other requests.

Make sure you treat everyone at the same level, with the same respect. Eventually even the bosses will know that you treat all problems the same and waving around with ranks will not solve their problems earlier.

Stay friendly

People can get frustrated in their work and stress is something that can drive people mad. If some small problem occur, this can escalate into verbal aggression. In all cases, try to stay calm and friendly. Only, and only then, when someone accuses you of something that is not absolutely not true or make things personal, you can act firmly and make sure they treat you with respect.

Hopefully these tips are useful when you start on a job like this. If you have any tips & tricks yourself, leave them in the comments.

If you are working on a Service Desk and they do not work with good help desk software, you might want to check out this article: Top 10 Best Help Desk Software