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Chapter 10 Notes

Determine the type of computer problem that the customer is experiencing. Remember these three rules at the beginning of your conversation: Know Call your customer by name Relate Use brief communication to create a one-to-one connection between you and your customer Understand Determine what the customer know about the computer to effectively communicate with the customer Practice active listening skills Do not interrupt the customer Listen carefully & let the customer finish speaking After the customer has explained the problem, clarify what the customer has said Ask some follow-up questions, if needed Use all info to complete the work order Holds and Transfers On a phone call, know how to: Place a customer on hold Transfer them without losing the call Help the customer focus on and communicate the problem Stay positive by focusing on what you can do to help Convey an interest in helping the customer The following is a list of behaviors to avoid when communicating with a customer: Avoid minimizing customer problems. Avoid taking personal calls when talking with Avoid using jargon, abbreviations, acronyms & customers. slang. Avoid talking to co-workers about unrelated subjects Avoid a negative attitude or tone of voice. when talking with the customer. Avoid arguing with customers or becoming Avoid unnecessary holds and abrupt holds. defensive. Avoid transfers without explaining the purpose of the Avoid culturally insensitive remarks. transfer and getting customer consent. Avoid being judgmental, insulting, or calling the Avoid negative remarks about other technicians to customer names. the customer. Avoid distractions or interruptions when talking with customers. Types of Difficult Customers A talkative customer discusses everything except the problem and uses the call to socialize. A rude customer complains during the call, makes negative comments, may be abusive and uncooperative, and may be easily aggravated. An angry customer talks loud, tries to speak when the technician is talking, is usually frustrated and upset that they have to call somebody to fix the problem. A knowledgeable customer wants to speak with a technician that is equally experienced in computers and usually tries to control the call. An inexperienced customer has difficulty describing the problem and may not able to follow directions correctly. Netiquette: a set of personal and business etiquette rules for e-mail & text communications Proper Netiquette: Be pleasant and polite. Open with an appropriate greeting. Check grammar and spelling. Remember you are dealing with people. Follow the standards of behavior that you follow in the rest of your life. Know where you are in cyberspace. Respect others time and bandwidth. Be ethical. Share expert knowledge. Respect the privacy of others. Forgive others mistakes. Use mixed case lettering. All upper cases are considered SHOUTING. Never send chain letters through email. Do not send or reply to flames. If you would not say it to their face, then do not send it.

Workstation Ergonomics The ergonomics of your work area can help you do your job or make it more difficult. Because you may spend a major portion of your day at your workstation, make sure that the desk layout works well, as shown in Figure 1.

Cisco IT Essentials Chapter 10 Communication Skills

Make sure that your desk layout works well Have your headset & phone in a position that is easy to reach and easy to use Adjust your chair to a comfortable height Adjust your monitor to a comfortable angle Place your keyboard and mouse in a comfortable position Minimize external distractions such as noise Time Management Prioritize your activities Follow the business policy of your company Make sure call back a customer as close to the callback time as possible Keep a list of callback customers & check them off as you complete these calls Avoid giving favorite customers faster or better service Avoid taking only the easy customer calls Avoid taking another technicians call unless you have their permission ** A "down" call means that a server is not working and the entire office/ company is waiting for the problem to be resolved in order to resume business. Stress Management Take a moment to compose yourself between customer calls Ways to relax include: Relaxed breathing Take a break go for quick walk or climb the stairs Listen to soothing sounds Eat a protein snack Massage your temples Avoid stimulants Service Level Agreement (SLA): a contract that defines expectations between an organization and the service vendor to provide an agreed upon level of support Some of the contents of an SLA usually include the following: Response time guarantees (often based on Diagnostics type of call & level of service agreement) Part availability (equivalent parts) Equipment and/or software that will be Cost and penalties supported Time of service availability (i.e. 24/7; Mon-Fri, 8 am to Where service will be provided 5 pm EST, etc.) Preventive maintenance **There may be exceptions to the SLA. Make sure to follow your company business rules in detail. Some of the exceptions may include the ability of the customer to upgrade level of service, or the ability to escalate to management for review. Escalation to management should be reserved for special situations. ** Customer Call Rules The following rules are examples of the specific rules a call center may have to handle customer calls: Maximum time on call (Example: 15 minutes) Maximum call time in queue (Example: three minutes) Number of calls per day (Example: Minimum of 30) Rules on passing calls on to other technicians (i.e.: Only when absolutely necessary and not without that technician's permission) Rules on what you can and cannot promise to the customer (See that customer's SLA for details) When to follow SLA and when to escalate to management There are also other rules to cover general daily activities of employees: Arrive at your workstation on time & early Make sure another technician is available if you have enough to be prepared, usually about 15-20 min to leave before the first call Contact the customer if you are going to be late for an Do not exceed the allowed number and length of appointment breaks If no other technician is available, check with the Do not take a break or go to lunch if there is a call customer to see if you can call back later, possibly in on the board the morning Do not take a break or go to lunch at the same Do not show favoritism to certain customers. time as other technicians (stagger breaks among Do not take another technician's calls without technicians) permission Do not leave an ongoing call to take a break or go Do not talk negatively about the capabilities of to lunch, or go to a personal appointment another technician

Cisco IT Essentials Chapter 10 Communication Skills

Ethical Customs Respect for your customers, as well as for their property including any information or data that may be accessible. i.e.: o E-mails o Records or data on the computer o Phone lists o Hard copies of files, information, or data left on desk Obtain customers permission before accessing their account. Divulging any customer information is unethical, and may be illegal. Legal details of customer information are usually covered under the SLA do not send unsolicited messages to a customer; do not send unsolicited mass mailings or chain letters to customers; never send forged or anonymous e-mails Legal Rules Several computer-related activities are unethical and illegal. Be aware that this is not an exhaustive list: Do not make any changes to system software or hardware configurations without customer permission Do not access a customer's or co-worker's accounts, private files, or e-mail messages without permission Do not install, copy, or share digital content (including software, music, text, images & video) in violation of copyright and/or software agreements or applicable federal and state law Do not use a customer's company IT resources for commercial purposes Do not make a customer's IT resources available to unauthorized users Keep sensitive customer information confidential Do not knowingly use a customer's company resources for illegal activities may include obscenity, child pornography, threats, harassment, copyright infringement, university trademark infringement, defamation, theft, identity theft, and unauthorized access Call Center Environment: Usually very professional and fast-paced often operate 24 hours a day A help desk system customers call in and are placed on a callboard Available technicians take the customer calls All of the computers in a call center will have help desk software. The technicians use this software to manage many of their job functions
Uses
Log and track incidents Record contacts Research products Run diagnostics Research a knowledge base Collect customer feedback

Software
Software to manage call queues, set call priorities, assign calls, and escalate calls Software to store, edit, and recall customer information Database of supported products, including features, limitations, versions, constraints, bugs, availability, and online help files Diagnostic utility software, including remote access to customers computer Database of common problems and their solutions Software to collect customer feedback

Level-one Technician Responsibilities Level-one technicians may be known as level-one analysts, dispatchers, or incident screeners The primary responsibility of a level-one technician is to gather relevant information from the customer. All information must be documented in the ticket or work order Some problems are very simple to resolve & a level-one technician can usually take care of these without escalating the work order to a level-two technician Succinct Problem Descriptions Often, a problem requires the expertise of a level-two technician. In these cases, the level-one technician must be able to translate a customer's problem description into a concise sentence or two that is entered into the work order. This translation is important so that other technicians can quickly understand the situation without having to ask the customer the same questions again.

Cisco IT Essentials Chapter 10 Communication Skills

Level-two Technician Responsibilities Usually more knowledgeable about technology May have been working for the company for a longer period of time Receives escalated work orders from level-one technicians o Escalate problems that require opening the computer case. o Escalate problems that require installation of applications, operating systems, or drivers. o Escalate problems that will take a long time to walk a customer through - like CMOS changes. o Escalate down calls. The entire network is down, and a more experienced tech may be able to resolve the issue faster. Calls the customer back to ask any additional questions May use remote access software to access the customers computer to diagnose the problem (update drivers & software, access OS, check BIOS) and possibly to resolve the issue The following concepts from this chapter are important to remember: To be a successful technician, you will need to practice good communication skills with customers and coworkers. These skills are as important as technical expertise. You should always conduct yourself in a professional manner with your customers and co-workers. Professional behaviour increases customer confidence and enhances your credibility. You should also learn to recognize the classic signs of a difficult customer and learn what to do and what not to do when you are on a call with this customer. There are techniques that you can use to keep a difficult customer focused on the problem during a call. Primarily, you must remain calm and ask pertinent questions in an appropriate fashion. These techniques keep you in control of the call. There is a right way and a wrong way to put a customer on hold, or transfer a customer to another technician. Learn and use the right way every time. Doing the operations incorrectly can cause serious damage to your company's relationship with its customers. Netiquette is a list of rules to use whenever you communicate through e-mail, text messaging, instant messaging, or blogs. This is another area is where doing things the wrong way can cause damage to your company's relationship with its customers. You must understand and comply with your customer's service level agreement (SLA). If the problem falls outside the parameters of the SLA, you need to find positive ways of telling the customer what you can do to help, and not what you cannot do. In special circumstances, you may decide to escalate the work order to management. In addition to the SLA, you must follow the business policies of the company. These policies will include how your company prioritizes calls, how and when to escalate a call to management, and when you are allowed to take breaks and lunch. A computer technician's job is stressful you can alleviate some of the stress by setting up your workstation in the most ergonomically beneficial way possible. You should practice time and stress management techniques every day. There are ethical and legal aspects of working in computer technology. You should be aware of your company's policies and practices. You may also need to familiarize yourself with your state or country's trademark and copyright laws. The call center is a fast-paced environment. Level-one technicians and level-two technicians each have specific responsibilities. These responsibilities may vary slightly from one call center to another.

Cisco IT Essentials Chapter 10 Communication Skills