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Chapter 1: Achieving High Customer Satisfaction

A Guide to Customer Service Skills for the Help Desk Professional Second Edition

Objectives
Describe the role the help desk plays in delivering quality technical customer support Explain how to manage, meet, and exceed customer expectations
Describe the mix of skills needed to have a career in technical customer support
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Achieving High Customer Satisfaction


Help desk - a single point of contact within a company for managing customer problems and requests, and for providing solution-oriented support services

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Achieving High Customer Satisfaction (continued)


To work a help desk, you need: A mix of skills including business, technical, soft, and self-management skills To understand the characteristics of quality customer service and technical support To understand that how you interact with each customer influences that customers perception of your company
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Delivering Quality Technical Customer Support


A person may turn to any number of help desks for support A person may contact a computer manufacturer or a company that produces a software package A help desk analyst may contact a vendors help desk for assistance in diagnosing a hardware, software, or network problem
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Customer Support and the Help Desk Role


Todays help desk serves as a key part of any technical support organization
Technical support - A wide range of services that enable people and companies to continuously use computing technology

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Customer Support and the Help Desk Role (continued)


Technical support services include:
Installing hardware, software, network, and application components

Keeping the system in good repair


Upgrading hardware and software Providing customer support

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Customer Support and the Help Desk Role (continued)


Customer support - Services that help a customer understand and benefit from a products capabilities by answering questions, solving problems, and providing training Customer - A person who buys products or services or with whom one must deal

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Customer Support and the Help Desk Role (continued)


Customer service and support organizations come in all shapes and sizes and deliver a wide range of services. Types of organizations include:
Call center Contact center Help desk Support center
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Customer Support and the Help Desk Role (continued)


Multi-level support model - A common structure where the help desk refers problems it cannot resolve to the appropriate internal group, external vendor, or subject matter expert Subject matter expert (SME) - A person who has a high level of experience or knowledge about a particular subject Support center - A help desk with a broader scope of responsibility and with the goals of providing faster service and improving customer satisfaction
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Multi-level Support Model

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Components of a Successful Help Desk


People-front-line service People providers Front-line service
providers Processes Help desk management Supporting roles

Processes
Problem management Request management Service level management

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Components of a Successful Help Desk (continued)


People-front-line service Technology providers Incident tracking and
problem management systems Processes Knowledge management systems Telephone systems Web-based systems

Information
Customer data Incident data Status data Resolution data

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Components of a Successful Help Desk (continued)


Customer expectations - Results that customers consider reasonable or due Customers have expectations about what a product can do and also what the company can do to enable them to fully use that product Excellent service meets or exceeds customer expectations Competitive edge equals excellent service and a great product
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Components of a Successful Help Desk (continued)


The more technical (high tech) the world becomes, the more people desire on-to-one personalized (high touch) service and support High touch service can be very costly Low touch services that meet and exceed customers expectations include:
Self-services offered via the Web Online forms Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week
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Benefits of Quality Customer Support


Return business and the positive word-ofmouth that leads to new business
Higher sales and profits

Industry recognition
World class A company has achieved, and is able to sustain, high levels of customer satisfaction
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Benefits of Quality Customer Support (continued)


Customer loyalty
Customer feedback (complaints) Happy customers and happy employees

Reward and opportunity


Pride and satisfaction

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Trends Influencing the Help Desk


24 x 7 support Help desk provides service twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week Creates positions for help desk analysts, team leaders, and supervisors Companies may offer flexible schedules Help desks may transfer callers to analysts at home Help desks direct customers to their Web site Support may be provided by a service agency
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Trends Influencing the Help Desk (continued)


Fee-Based Support Customers pay for support services based upon usage Cost center The budget items required to run the help desk are considered a cost (or expense) to the company

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Trends Influencing the Help Desk (continued)


Internal help desk A help desk that responds to questions, distributes information, and handles problems and service requests for its companys employees External help desk A help desk that supports customers who buy its companys products and services
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Trends Influencing the Help Desk (continued)


Pre-sales support The help desk answers questions for people who have not yet purchased a companys products or services Post-sales support The help desk helps people who have purchased a companys products or services

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Trends Influencing the Help Desk (continued)


Help desks are under increasing pressure to: Analyze and control their costs Market the value of their services Charge a premium for customized services

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Trends Influencing the Help Desk (continued)


A companys policy on fee-based support:
Greatly influences how analysts account for their time and effort How they interact with customers

Help desk is a business within a business

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Trends Influencing the Help Desk (continued)


Global support - Support for customers anywhere in the world Companies must address:
Culture Language Legal issues

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Trends Influencing the Help Desk (continued)


Regional, in country help desks Provide localized support
Each help desk may produce a standard set of metrics (performance measures)

Follow the sun Companies establish several help desks (typically three); each on a different continent
As one help desk closes, another opens and begins supporting customers

One global support desk one physical help desk provides 24 X 7 support
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Trends Influencing the Help Desk (continued)


Help desk as a profession: Historically - Help desk was considered a stepping stone to other professions Today - Help desk has been elevated to a profession in and of itself

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Trends Influencing the Help Desk (continued)


Individual and site certifications are increasingly being used Technical certifications - Vendor specific Help desk certifications - Vendor neutral
Enable individuals to demonstrate industry knowledge and soft skills Enable help desks to benchmark their practices against industry best practices

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Trends Influencing the Help Desk (continued)


Increased dependence on technology: Constant barrage of new technologies Creates job opportunities Requires people in support positions to continuously update their skills Ubiquitous computing - an environment where people have access to their information and computing systems from public shared access points
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Trends Influencing the Help Desk (continued)


Mobile workforce support Challenges include: Variety of mobile and wireless devices and applications Speed at which individuals are adopting Lack of standards

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Trends Influencing the Help Desk (continued)


Multi-channel support: Channel A route of communication to and from the help desk Historically Telephone was official channel Today Customers are increasingly using alternative channels
Expect help desks to respond in real-time Pick up the telephone when they need additional or immediate help
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Trends Influencing the Help Desk (continued)


Help desks must: Capture the data needed to manage various support channels Determine how best to integrate the tools needed to capture data Produce meaningful metrics relative to each channel Bear the cost of maintaining their Web sites Understand that telephone contacts will increasingly cost more
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Trends Influencing the Help Desk (continued)


Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) - A set of best practices for IT service management Best practice - An innovative process or concept that moves a company or department to a position of improved performance Consists of a series of books that give guidance on IT service management topics The most widely accepted approach to IT service management in the world
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Trends Influencing the Help Desk (continued)


Outsourcing - companies have services provided by an outside supplier (service agency or outsourcer) Offshore outsourcing services are provided by an outside supplier that is located or based in a foreign country One size does not fit all

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Trends Influencing the Help Desk (continued)


Service agencies: Offer a variety of services Offer many job opportunities Often base raises and bonuses on peoples performance and ability to satisfy customers Offer flexible work hours and the ability to work on a contract basis

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Trends Influencing the Help Desk (continued)


Web-based support: Customers have come to expect Does not eliminate the need for qualified analysts Does change the skills they must have Does change the types of problems and requests they resolve

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Trends Influencing the Help Desk (continued)


Web-based support: Does not eliminate the need for other support channels Creates a need for people to develop, maintain, and support the help desks systems Self-healing systems - Hardware devices and software applications that have the ability to detect and correct problems on their own Mass-healing systems - Enable help desks to detect and repair problems across the entire enterprise
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The Help Desk Analysts Roles in the Service Delivery Chain


Two types of help desks (internal, external) Two types of help desk customers:
Internal customer - A person who works at a company and at times relies on other employees External customer - A person or company that buys another companys products and services
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The Help Desk Analysts Roles in the Service Delivery Chain (continued)

If you are not supporting the external customers of your company, you are supporting someone who is!

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The Help Desk Analysts Roles in the Service Delivery Chain (continued)

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The Help Desk Analysts Roles in the Service Delivery Chain (continued)
Customer service delivery chain: Shows the relationship that exists between customers, internal service providers, and external service providers Feedback is used to communicate customer expectations Illustrates that all of the departments within a company are interdependent and must work together Every role adds value and must be respected and supported
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The Help Desk Analysts Roles in the Service Delivery Chain (continued)

One of the best ways to become an excellent service provider is to pay attention when you are the customer!

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Influencing Customer Perception


Customer satisfaction - Reflects the difference between how a customer perceives he or she was treated, and how the customer expects to be treated
Service Level Agreement (SLA) - A written document that spells out the services the help desk will provide, the customers responsibilities, and how service performance is measured
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Influencing Customer Perception (continued)

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Understanding Customer Needs and Managing Expectations


Responsiveness The help desks ability to (1) be available when customers need help, and (2) make it easy for customers to obtain help
Be there!

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Understanding Customer Needs and Managing Expectations (continued)


Responsiveness:
Involves answering the telephone promptly or responding to voice mail and e-mail inquiries within the time frame promised Involves anticipating customers support needs and providing self-services via the Web Help desk has hours during which customers are most likely to need support Help desk sets up technology in a way that is easy and adds value
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Understanding Customer Needs and Managing Expectations (continued)


A caring attitude The help desks ability to communicate that it wants to satisfy its customers needs
Caring, positive, helpful Be Willing! There is always something the help desk can do!
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Understanding Customer Needs and Managing Expectations (continued)


Skill - The help desks ability to quickly and correctly resolve customer problems and requests
Be able!

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Understanding Customer Needs and Managing Expectations (continued)


Analysts must:
Be efficient and knowledgeable Have the ability and authority to solve problems Know exactly how to get problems solved

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Understanding Customer Needs and Managing Expectations (continued)


Peer-to-peer support A practice where users bypass the formal support structure and seek assistance from coworkers or someone in an other department Help desk must convince customers that contacting the help desk is the fastest, cheapest, and best way to obtain a solution

Be there, be willing, be able!


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Understanding Customer Needs and Managing Expectations (continued)

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Understanding Customer Needs and Managing Expectations (continued)


Help desks use data captured by tools and technology to produce the metrics They also use:
Customer satisfaction surveys - A series of questions that ask customers to provide their perception of the support services being offered Monitoring When a supervisor or team leader listens to a live or recorded call, monitors an analysts data entry and keystrokes during an email or chat session, or sits beside an analyst to measure the quality of an analysts performance during a customer interaction
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Demonstrating a Positive Can Do Attitude


Delivering high-quality customer support is incredibly challenging: 1. Customers are people whose feelings and expectations can change from minute-tominute 2. Customers today are more sophisticated and demanding cheaper, faster, and better service 3. Technology is increasingly complex and changes very rapidly
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Demonstrating a Positive Can Do Attitude (continued)


A can do attitude - Means that rather than telling a customer what you cannot do, you tell them what you can do Enables customers to perceive that they have been helped
The customer may not always be right, but they are always the customer!
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Demonstrating a Positive Can Do Attitude (continued)


Analysts must learn to strike all negative phrases from their vocabulary

What I can do!

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Demonstrating a Positive Can Do Attitude (continued)


Saying No is difficult
Few companies have the resources to give customers everything they want, when they want it

Companies must:
Maximize their resources Provide a high level of service, even if it means limiting the scope of services

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Demonstrating a Positive Can Do Attitude (continued)

If the help desk tried to be all things to all people, its resources would quickly be stretched too thin and its level of service would decline across the board!

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Going the Extra Mile


Satisfied customers are not necessarily loyal

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Going the Extra Mile (continued)


Companies must go beyond customer satisfaction to customer delight
Go the extra mile

Give a little extra


Within the help desks boundaries or the cost will deplete the companys profits

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Going the Extra Mile (continued)


Two key ways to delight customers:

1. Save them time 2. Enhance their self-sufficiency

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Developing the Right Mix of Skills


Business skills The skills people need to work in the business world. Includes:
The ability to understand and speak the language of business (business knowledge) The skills that are unique to the industry or profession the help desk supports, such as accounting skills or banking skills (industry knowledge) The skills that are specific to the customer service and support industry, such as understanding the importance of meeting customers needs and knowing how to manage their expectations (service industry knowledge)

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Developing the Right Mix of Skills (continued)


Technical skills The skills people need to use and support the specific products and technologies the help desk supports
Includes basic computer and software literacy skills

Soft skills The skills and personality traits people need to deliver great service
Includes listening, verbal communication, customer service, problem solving, writing, the ability to be a team player
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Developing the Right Mix of Skills (continued)


Self-management skills The skills, such as stress and time management, that people need to complete their work effectively, feel job satisfaction, and avoid frustration or burnout
Includes the ability to get and stay organized and to continuously learn new skills

Finding people that have the right mix of skills is one of the most difficult challenges facing help desk managers today!
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Developing the Right Mix of Skills (continued)


Companies look for people:
With positive can do attitudes who genuinely enjoy helping other people and solving problems Who are team-oriented and enjoy working with other people

Companies are willing to provide technical training to individuals with good interpersonal skills and a customer service orientation Companies may hire people with very strong technical skills and provide extensive customer service training
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Developing the Right Mix of Skills (continued)


Smart companies let their customers needs and expectations driving their hiring decisions People who understand that all of these skill sets (business, technical, soft, and self-management) are important will create for themselves the greatest opportunity

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Chapter Summary
There is tremendous demand for technical customer support
The help desk is the first point of contact for this support A successful help desk utilizes all of its assets: people, processes, technology, and information
People are by far the most important component
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Chapter Summary (continued)


Numerous business trends are influencing the direction in which the help desk industry is heading
Each affects how help desks are run and the opportunities they present

The support industry is evolving and its dynamic nature represents a tremendous opportunity for people with the right mix of skills

Skills needed include business, technical, soft and self-management


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Chapter Summary (continued)


The business skills and technical skills you may choose to develop are wide-ranging and diverse Soft skills and self-management skills are somewhat universal
Skills such as listening, communication, and stressmanagement skills are excellent life skills that will serve you well regardless of your chosen profession!

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