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Service Desk Solutions: The Angry Customer

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The Service Desk: Remembering why we are here

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hen someone calls the Service Desk, it is typically not to wish you a good day or to see how your weekend was. It is a call out of frustration that something isn’t working as expected…and we’ve all been there ourselves once or twice.

service desk best practicesWhether it is a failed login, a forgotten password, not able to print, connect to a file share, or open an application, the end user is not able to perform their job function and is reaching out for help. On some occasions the caller may be very frustrated, and that can and does come across on the call. It is important for service desk representatives to remember that customers are reaching out to us for help and that is why we are in that position.

It’s our responsibility to help resolve their issue so they can get back to business. If we cannot, they will find someone else who can.

First and foremost, it’s important that we put ourselves in a frame of mind that allows us to see the issue from both points of view in order to find the best possible solution. It’s easy to take the customer’s frustration personally and to get into a frame of mind that hinders the problem-solving process.

As a manager, my service desk team has brought this frustration to my attention on numerous occasions. I calmly remind my team members that this is why we are here. This is why we are employed. This is how we stay in business. Simply put, this is what we do.

It is never the caller’s intention to have their printing stop or for their application to not work as expected. And it’s important to remember that they’re not frustrated at you, the service desk tech. They’re frustrated because they are not able to do their job. It’s our responsibility to help resolve their issue so they can get back to business. If we cannot, they will find someone else who can.

First up, it’s important to establish clear communication with the customer. Understanding how the customer has been affected can be determined with a few questions that are critical to the assessment. Is there a business impact? How does it impact the individual user? Are multiple people affected? Is there a workaround? Is there a better solution?

Once the issue is understood, you can employ some practical steps to get it resolved:

service deskBe clear with the customer with straightforward explanations of policies and processes

• Be flexible wherever possible. See things from their point-of-view and help them to understand that the policies are actually there for their benefit; they help keep service consistent.

• Use active, solution-focused voice. ‘I can,’ ‘I will,’ ‘Absolutely,’ ‘This can be done,’ will help build the customer’s confidence. Be sure to offer some sort of timeframe so the customer knows what to expect and when to expect it.

• If there are multiple possible solutions, let your customer know that there may be more than one action to take. Always define the steps you absolutely will take and when you will take them.

• Update, update, update! If you tell a customer you will call in an hour, do so, even if the only thing to report is, “We’re working to resolve the issue.” They will appreciate the transparency and knowing they are your priority.

• Remember: Even if the solution involves other departments, managers, or technicians, you are still personally responsible for the end result. Maintain that level of personal responsibility throughout the process of working with the customer.

Finally, remind yourself why you are a service desk technician. It certainly isn’t for the glamour and glitz. It’s because the success of the company depends on you being able to provide a service that our customers do not have within their own company, and don’t necessarily want.

I remind myself frequently as to why I am in the position I am in, how I came to be in this position, and what I can do to remain gainfully employed. I also ask my service desk team to do the same, because at the end of the day, it’s the people who make the difference. Even with all the best technology and resources within an arm’s reach, the secret sauce in customer service is a team of great people who care about the customers and their success.

Jake Rogers DRS

Jake Rogers

VP Service Delivery at DRS LLC