As a service desk operator, you’ll be the first point of contact for computer users who’ve got problems or need assistance. You may be working for an information technology company helping its customers, or as part of an internal service desk team supporting other employees. Either way, you’ll be helping users to continue working efficiently and increasing satisfaction levels.
You’ll need a detailed knowledge of information technology to deal with the more complex support questions you’ll face. A bachelor’s degree in computer science or information science is valuable, though not essential for this job, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (see reference 1) Experience in an IT support or troubleshooting role is a good background for a service desk role. Maybe you’ve been an IT technician or system engineer, so you’re familiar with installing, operating or maintaining IT systems.
When users are in trouble, they want to have confidence in the service desk. They look on you as the expert, so you’ll need to have in-depth knowledge of the systems they’re using. You can gain that by taking product certification programs run by manufacturers such as Cisco, Apple, Microsoft or Dell. And, you should be familiar with the the types of questions users ask and the latest service issues for the products you support.
Stress, inconvenience and frustration are just a few of the emotions users feel when they’ve got computer problems. To cope with that, you’ve got to be a good listener. You need to put users at ease and get them to describe their problems clearly. Then, you can use your analytical skills to diagnose the problem by asking a series of logical questions. It’s essential to keep in contact with users while you’re trying to fix the problem. Keep them up to date with progress and let them know when they can return to work.
When you’re trying to solve a user’s problem, you can draw on support technology. You’ll need to be familiar with using diagnostic tools to access users’ computers so you can carry out tests or collect data for analysis. You’ll be able to draw on the information in a support database. You’ll find solutions to support issues that have occurred before and a list of common questions that users have asked. Information like that helps you solve problems quickly and get users back to work.
You don’t just solve problems -- you use the information to build up a picture of the equipment and the users. You must be a good administrator to record all the details of the support request and your solution. If service desk records highlight recurring problems with one type of equipment, you may need to alert the manufacturer to resolve the problem. If you find the same questions coming up from a number of users, you might recommend training to improve their ability to use the equipment.
Based in the United Kingdom, Ian Linton has been a professional writer since 1990. His articles on marketing, technology and distance running have appeared in magazines such as “Marketing” and “Runner's World.” Linton has also authored more than 20 published books and is a copywriter for global companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and economics from Bristol University.