It seems that nearly every day there’s a new app for this, or a new cloud-based solution for that. With information technology (IT) changing so swiftly, even the most savvy tech support rep would be challenged. Yet that same representative is tasked with delivering user-friendly IT support to customers needing help with their devices. It’s a job that requires up-to-the-minute expertise, and an awareness of customer expectations. Just as information technology has evolved over the years, so has the job of tech support. Following are the top five trends affecting IT support today.
Trend #1: Customers want anytime, anywhere access to support. That includes real-time 24-hour support. Make sure your company offers multiple interfaces, such as customer support via phone, by email and live chat. If you can’t staff customer service 24/7, offer a FAQ page that answers the most common questions.
Trend #2: Customers have high expectations of technology. There is an increasing dependence on mobile devices. In many cases, they are the center of our world. That means that people expect them to manage multiple platforms and deliver at a high level in terms of performance and sophistication. IT service reps may have to educate consumers on what devices can, and cannot, do.
Trend #3: IT must support a constantly evolving portfolio of products. As new products are introduced, and shared via a Cloud-based delivery system, IT representatives will have to stay up-to-date on an increasing number of diverse applications. Regular and frequent training will be the key to success.
Trend #4: Customers want speed and quality. They don’t want to stay on the phone, or continue an online chat for more than a few minutes. They want their problem resolved so that they can continue to use the technology, which is at the center of their lives. IT service reps are challenged to diagnose the problem quickly and get to a speedy solution.
Trend #5: Corporate social media is an important channel of communication. Customers frequently complain or “vent” on social media sites. The Help Desk needs to monitor these channels to respond to issues and deflect them. If the Help Desk steps in independently, it will be seen as a proactive response to a problem.
Look for These Characteristics in IT Support Reps
In addition to technical expertise, the skills that make a successful IT support rep are largely interpersonal. That’s not much different than the skillset needed for an effective customer support representative. According to a survey of 403 professionals by Robert Half Technology and HDI, the five skills needed for technical support included:
- Customer-service mindset; passion for supporting customers
- Desire to continue learning about technologies and trends
- Social intelligence; understanding human connection in a digital world
- Proactive approach to solving problems; creating efficiencies
- Greater collaboration with staff inside and outside the technical support center
The future of IT support belongs to an agile customer service team that is as well versed in interpersonal skills as it is in technology.