The bulk of the IT department works to support everyday operations of users and customers. This video presents strategies to use and develop this resource.
- [Instructor] The next and possibly largest human resource that you have in your technical arsenal is your technical support staff. Tech support is by far the most visible part of your IT resources pool, so much that it defines what people think of the IT department. When it comes to making IT work for your business, there are three groups of people that need to be supported, the employees, the customers and management. I put employees ahead of customers in this list for two reasons and neither is to challenge the view of who is important.
Reason number one is not every business uses customer facing technology that needs supporting but every computer with even one workstation needs someone to call when that computer fails. Reason number two is for companies that will provide tech support for customers. Many customers are going to interact with other aspects of the business before they ever get around to calling tech support. Some will form a degree of trust with the sales department as their first interaction with the company.
How well your employees feel about their last experience with tech support will be reflected when they talk to customers. A quality workplace experience will directly translate into a positive view of the company as a whole. That means that the person that replaces the receptionist's screen needs to be impressive to the receptionist. Communication skills and the ability to be personable are key. Good technical support employees know that listening to the user will give them more complete information about what problem to solve than looking at the computer.
These conversations will also provide insight into how the computer's being used and potential issues that may otherwise go unnoticed. Getting the best information and being able to do the best job requires that a technical support representative be nice and technical support for the customer is only slightly different than that for the employees. The nice factor is elevated especially in the initial contact. Many companies will even divide their customer support team into levels.
The first point of contact may not be the most technically skilled but has the strongest communication skills. They perform triage as they put the customer at ease and then a second level will need to exist to help resolve more complex problems once the customer has gained confidence in the technical support personnel generally. Finally, management and I'm not referring to department heads or other frontline supervisors here. This category is for directors and other senior management and I separated leadership from the employees generally because the exact same tasks of replacing a power strip or fixing a printer issue becomes a different experience when it's being done in the CEO's office.
I've spoken a bit about professionalism in IT already in this course and nowhere is that more important than working with our own leadership teams. IT managers, this piece is for you. Chief executives can listen in if they promise not to interrupt. I propose two different strategies for supporting the top of the organizational chart. The first is sending in the highest ranking IT member to perform even tasks that might otherwise be below their normal to-do list.
In this scenario, the opportunity is presented to have an informal meeting about observations and technical trends while the network administrator is reconnecting the CFO's mouse and the other benefit is that we can avoid sending someone that's unprepared for the differences that the executive suite holds. The other strategy is to send in the technician that is currently being groomed for leadership positions. If they're prepared, this will both elevate their value in the eyes of lead management and expose them to the next level of professional expectations within the company.
It's a win-win. A technical support department that's properly staffed, properly trained and properly deployed will ensure that your strategically selected technology continues to drive the company forward.
- Including IT in strategy
- What does IT bring to strategy?
- Communicating the big picture
- Selecting and evaluating the effectiveness of training and development activities
- Choosing the right hardware, platforms, and applications
- Who owns the devices?
- Site planning
- External and internal connectivity