When you work in an IT help desk position, you need a wide array of skills in order to master your tasks. People focus often on hard skills only, thinking they will get the job done without a doubt. However, while hard skills are quantifiable and easy to test, soft skills are a valuable addition that can take the job to the next level.
Soft skills refer to a person’s ability to interact with others with ease and professionalism and those individuals that will be most successful in their help desk job.
Let’s walk through 5 of the most desirable soft skills in IT help desk technicians:
# Critical Thinking
Although help desk technicians rely on documentation and standard procedures to solve most encountered problems, it is not realistic to want to cover the whole range of situations with such charts and resources.
So what do you do when you are facing a unique problem? You need to engage your critical thinking:
Be active – use a mix of intelligence, experience, logical reasoning to come up with a solution
Question everything – it is common for critical thinking to use questions to find potential answers. It is through questions that you can research and find solutions or ideas on how to tackle the problem.
Multiple perspectives – the ability to look at the problem from different points of view can give you an edge when coming up with a solution. Look at facts and potential causes and use the various scenarios.
# Communication & Writing Skills
Being able to communicate effectively in writing is one of the building blocks for a successful IT help desk position. This is truest of companies that work with CRM systems, for example. Such systems require you to document the problems you encountered and give clear but succinct descriptions. These descriptions will subsequently help others evaluate your work or fix problems.
# Active Listening
This skill is invaluable in everyday life, not just in help desk jobs. When you are offering support with a problem, you need to first listen actively and fully understand the situation. Only then can you search for the best and most efficient solution. Listening, making eye contact and showing that you follow what someone is saying comes with great rewards. In time, this is also a way of building strong connections and positive relationships.
# Verbal Communication
Being able to communicate verbally in a kind, useful and understanding manner is your top priority. Not all customers express clearly what problem they have or give you little information. It comes down to your ability to dig for information. Knowing how and what questions to ask and in what manner. You want the user to feel patience in your voice and guidance with a proactive attitude of “let’s see how we can solve this problem”. Do not attack them with “why” questions that they might find difficult or make them feel embarrassed.
# Conflict Solving Attitude
At times, even if your language is peaceful and polite, a user might act angry and unwilling to work with you. A technician needs to be prepared to approach these situations with calm and respect while also finding an optimal solution to their complaint.
The first step in such cases is to understand that the anger is not aimed at you personally, but at the problem and you are the middleman. Show empathy and focus on the problem no matter what, instead of the user’s frustration. Talk them through, wait for them to finish talking, reassure them that you will come to a solution and slowly diffuse the tension.
In conclusion, if you are pursuing an IT help desk position be aware that your technical skills will not suffice. You’ll also have to work on your soft skills!