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a blog by Don R. Crawley

Keynote Speaker on
IT Customer Service and Compassion

Bringing humanity into the world of technology

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It was a Friday afternoon, I was working hard to knock out the last few to-do’s before the weekend when “it” happened. My cursor suddenly became the spinning wheel of death. It wouldn’t click, wouldn’t let me close anything, it just spun. Instant panic struck me, I had been working on a massive report for the last four hours! My heart sunk, I just stared at the screen repeating, “no, no, no!” This couldn’t be happening. I was freaking out at the prospect of losing four hours worth of work. I needed a game plan, quick! All I could think about was what I had seen done before. Press CTRL+ALT+Delete, open the task manager and try to force close the problem program. Task manager launched, then it froze in a giant grey box on my screen. Now I’ve got a grey box and the spinning wheel of death. Awesome. I took a deep breath, grabbed the cord from the wall and killed it. That ought to stop the spinning wheel, right? No additional troubleshooting, no patience, just frustration. I needed a help desk with some patience and customer service training to guide me through this ordeal! 

If I have painted the picture accurately, IT Professionals everywhere should be cringing at my poor attempts to troubleshoot technical issues that could have been solved with less abrasive techniques. IT Professionals have experience and tools to help them access issues before we call it quits and pull the plug. I know not all IT desks are created equally, so what sets them apart? Three little words: customer service training. Salesforce.com says that “for a company to offer excellent customer service, it needs to focus on customer service training that teaches its workforce customer service skills in these five areas: Product Knowledge, Communication, Patience, Efficiency, and Attention to Detail.” When you couple their suggestions with the “why” behind it, your team will be unstoppable. 

Reason 1: You want me to call IT before I break something 

I was trying my best efforts to troubleshoot my issues because I wanted to avoid calling the “help desk”. Calling the help desk sometimes means long hold times, frustrated IT service people, or me feeling like an idiot. None of which is appealing when I was already beyond frustrated with my situation. I needed someone who understood help desk calls come from people, not gadgets 

Solve it:  One of the first rules in IT customer service training is to listen and understand beyond the technical issue at hand but to also understand there is a frustrated person on the phone who desperately needs support. Start the conversation with an offer to help, listen to the caller’s IT issue while also taking notes of opportunities to express empathy. Then, fight all urges to launch directly into fix-it-mode and respond to them. Your response can be as simple as acknowledging the issue with words like, “this is what I hear you saying”. Be sure to use their words back, no reason to push jargon on a frustrated caller. Show a little empathy with words like, “I bet you are so frustrated. These things always seem to happen at the worst times!” Then assure them that you are the right person to help with words like, “I’m so glad you called. I am going to help you get this figured out, and see if we can recover anything you were working on.” Be sure to use your own words so you don’t sound scripted. 

Reason 2: Customers Choose Providers on Service 

Typically speaking, IT Professionals don’t hear from their customers unless something is broken, not working right, or unless there is a problem. Your experience as an IT professional has prepared you for most technology situations. You can hop in and out of programs in a second, diagnose, troubleshoot, and save the day. We get it. You’re a super genius. When customers call, it isn’t to watch you rip open your shirt to reveal a giant S, or to shine a beacon into the sky. Customers call because they need what you’ve got. Skills. Guess who else has skills? Your competitors have skills. The IT Service space is becoming more and more competitive every single day, to survive, you need to provide service alongside your skills. 

Solve it: The best way to learn a new skill is to train for it and to practice it. The courses on Compassionate Geek are geared specifically to teach customer service for IT Professionals. We focus on key, actionable principals that can change the atmosphere of your service desk from a war zone to a growing, functioning, help desk. 

Compassionate Geek’s online, on-demand IT customer service training teaches IT pros how to combine their deep technical skills with compassion, empathy, excellent listening skills, and respect for the customer to create an outstanding customer service experience. Individual or group registration. Register now at www.compassionategeek.com

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