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IT isn't enough!!

By sean ·
As strange as this may seem, sometimes IT knowledge is not enough. I am sure that we have all at one time or another run across a person who knows everything that there is to know about the problem you are having, however they are unable to help you. Unfortunately there are always those that don?t play nice with others?. This does not mean they are not useful members of your team, it does however mean that you as a manager need to recognize that their strengths lie in their ability to resolve the issue, while working alone. This is the kind of person that you can give tasks and be sure they will do their best to complete them in time and probably with more efficiency than you were expecting, it is probable that they will add additional features that you hadn?t thought of, or requested. These members or your team usually don?t interact with the client directly, however they help to give a solid foundation to your team and help to support those on the front lines.

It is important that you try and shield the client from this kind of person, and this is not because they cant help, it is because they don?t necessarily have the people skills to realize that there are users out there who don?t know how to start a computer.

So for your frontline agents, you are wanting those that have a high degree of customer service skills, and an acceptable level of technical ability. The reasons for this are simple really, when a person calls your service desk the first impression that they get is the one they are going to hold, if the person answering the phone appears unfriendly (even though they are trying their hardest to be friendly) then it doesn?t matter if the problem is resolved or not, the perception the client will have, is that the service desk is unfriendly, and as a result they will avoid calling. This is obviously something that you want to avoid.

Just as bad however, is if you have a person who is totally inept and cannot help the caller. Even if they have superlative customer service skills, the client will have the perception that they service desk is unable to help, again something that you want to avoid.

So it?s important that you as the manager of the service desk navigate these treacherous waters carefully. At all levels you are looking customer service skills, and the appropriate level of technical ability.

Sadly it is possible that you will have agents who are not up to the standards you require, this can be a challenge. You will need to make sure of your ability to coach and mentor them so that the desired result can be achieved. Unfortunately there are those that never reach the expected standard, how you deal with this is up to you, for my part I believe that anyone who is not helping the team is hindering it, and those that are preventing the team from reaching its full potential are not welcome on the team.

No matter what you do, you should at all times be building your team and helping them to achieve their goals, hiring team members that fit together and boost each others potential is one of the most powerful ways you have of doing this.

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The big problem here is that few have both the tech and people

by Deadly Ernest In reply to IT isn't enough!!

skills at the right level. Many people move into technical work because they want to get away from people, and have no people skills worth discussing. I know of one company that sends two people out on every job, one has high tech skills, and the other has high people skills - works well, but not cheap.

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The people skills are a killer

by Daniel.Muzrall In reply to The big problem here is t ...

You're right...people with tech and people skills are in woefully short supply. I count myself lucky in that I have enough of both to do a fairly decent job of both.

I think a lot of the people skills come from your environment: when I was younger, I did a lot of teaching (environmental education in a summer camp setting), and by the time I was in high school had really developed a love of computers and all things tech. I married the two, working as an environmental educator and helpdesk/desktop support guy through college. Now I'm a Sr. Project Scientist and Network Administrator. With my experiences in educating, I feel that I can do a better job explaining the causes and fixes for the IT issues that I confront to even the most techniphobic end user.

Maybe everyone in IT should have to have some experience with teaching/public speaking in order to deal with non-IT folks!

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I couldn't agree more

by michael.mulvihill In reply to IT isn't enough!!

We have too many IT people here that see no value in our people with only business knowledge. I work in the Health Care industry and the level of arrogance in this IT department is outrageous.

We have what I think is a typical IT structure for health care, a technical team which handles the servers, OS, software development etc, and some functional/process analysts which are clinical people with a touch of computer experience. I was at a tech team "***** session" once and the only topic was how un-knowledgeable, and therefor useless, our functional people were about technical stuff. I had to point out that "you don't know how to take vitals or run a doctors office", a senior member of the OS team replied, "but I could learn all that in an afternoon." At first I thought he was trying to be funny, but I later got the idea that he meant it!

I think IT needs to realize that in most cases we are a tool to serve the business needs. We can not possibly know everything a business needs to know about both business processes and technology.

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Both Ways

by dogknees In reply to I couldn't agree more

The problem I see with this is that IT staff are expected to learn the soft-skills that others already have, but others aren't expected to learn the hard-skills most IT people have.

Not the detailed technical knowledge, but the formal problem solving techniques and other skills of that sort. Things like being able to analyse their own work and describe it in precise logical terms.

Being able to work out a good filing methodology is a great example. This is a skill I'd assume every professional in any field should have, but the majority don't. I'm happy to assist people in the technical side of building a folder structure, but I'm often also expected to design the structure because the business people can't do it effectively. Documenting a workflow is another one. Why can't the people who do the job everyday describe it accurately and concisely? Why shouldn't they be expected to do so?

Being able to research something effectively is another that anyone with a degree should have. How else did they learn anything in university?

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