How to be a Model Help Desk User

Mar 18, 2016 8:45:51 AM / by Sarah Spangler

Six ways help desk callers can transform themselves into power users

In a previous post, we talked about ways in which help desk professionals can up their game. In this post, we’re looking at how help desk users can do their part to improve the process.

Everyone in the help desk business has been trained to treat the customer as if they’re always right. However, it’s much easier to do that if the help desk users have some awareness about the best way to go about asking for assistance. Perhaps even more importantly, savvy users tend to waste less of the help desk experts’ time with trivial or misdirected enquiries.

By adhering to a few simple guidelines, help desk users can speed problem solving and make a few friends along the way. Here are a few ways to kick-start the process:

Be respectful

The help desk environment is stressful, as much for callers as for the expert on the other end. Help desk professionals understand that, which is why many of them have excellent people management skills. It can be argued that those are almost as important as technical skills. But users need to remember that, even when they are angry or frustrated or even fearful, they are dealing with a fellow human being on the other end of the line. The technical support guy or customer service representative didn’t cause your problem. They are there to help.

That’s not to say you can’t vent about a third party problem, whether it’s snow delaying a delivery or Windows crashing a few times too many. But don’t blame the help desk technician if it’s not their fault.

If the help desk staff have accidentally erased a file or canceled an appointment, remember that they didn’t set out with the intention of doing that. Keep cool and, if the problem can’t easily be fixed or things are getting awkward, ask to escalate the issue.

Abide by the rules

Your organization has a system for tracking help desk tickets. Without this, support staff can’t prioritize or optimize their workload. Running down the corridor to your help desk center or accosting them in the lunch queue is not the right way to get help. Have you ever been maddened by someone who walked in for a chat while you were working on a deadline? How likely are you to remember an intricate request if someone catches you by the water cooler? Use the ticket system.

Be honest about what is an emergency

If our computer is dead, or a major business deal is in jeapardy, or a dangerous event is about to unfold – yes, it’s an emergency. But feeling frustrated is not cause to get the sirens blaring.

Plan ahead

If you know you need equipment for a new hire starting next week, or you would like to borrow a wi-fi hotspot to take on a company trip, give the help desk team some lead time. If you have an important presentation on the calendar, let the help desk know that you will need tech back up. If 400 guests are coming for a big event next week, open a facilities management ticket.

It’s ok to help the help desk staff

Help desk staff will be happy to know that you’ve tried different browsers, unplugged and restarted a device, or run through the steps that were recommended the last time you called the help desk. This information saves time and allows them to look elsewhere for your answer.

Describe the problem in full detail.

Going through the basics of who, what, when, where and (if you can) why will help the help desk get to the heart of your problem far more quickly. ‘Help’ is not going to get you anywhere fast, nor is ‘Email not working’. All it takes is a few seconds’ thought about the specifics. Be honest about anything you were doing at the time, even though it may not reflect very well on you (‘I was trying to set up a wi-fi hotspot in my office’; ‘I downloaded an app’).

Topics: Help Desk

Sarah Spangler

Written by Sarah Spangler