Top 5 Traits of the Ideal Shared Service Desk Agent
Service desk organizations have to be flexible when developing a delivery model that aligns with a potential client’s internal IT operations and business goals. At the same time, they have to remain price competitive yet still deliver quality support. In order to achieve this, service desk providers typically consolidate client call volume via an ACD and queue so it can be handled by a pool of resources otherwise known as shared service desk agents. With a dedicated agent model, the client benefits from the depth of expertise gained by agents trained solely on its IT environment, but pay the same fixed per agent rate whether the phone rings or not. With a shared agent model, pricing is more usage driven and assessed on a per incident basis and often more attractive to clients running on a lean operational budget. As a result, the shared staffing model tends to be the one most service desk clients prefer which means the agents handling those multiple accounts have to be extremely versatile. Granted, an agent who can be all things to all clients is a rarity. So long as they are knowledgeable, customer service oriented IT professionals, the combined talent of the team includes varying degrees of the top 5 traits crucial to a shared service desk agent’s success.
1. Tech Savvy
Obviously, technical competency is a prerequisite for any IT position. At Level 1 this translates to a strong familiarity with different systems, processes, and tools. Although all agents must have the technical acumen to perform advanced troubleshooting, they also have to be satisfied handling the more routine tasks such as resolving VPN connectivity and password reset issues. As for breadth of the IT environment, larger clients tend to use more than one operating system so shared agents who support Mac OSX and Windows from XP to 8.1 are better equipped to resolve related incidents quickly. Likewise, for clients using Outlook, Lotus Notes, Webmail, or all of the above, agents tend to have depth or subject matter expertise in one messaging system so they may require training in the others. A willingness to learn and expand support capabilities is an essential trait of the shared agent not to mention ultimately beneficial to their career advancement.
2. Focused and detail oriented
Great service desk agents can multitask and switch gears in their heads without missing a beat. Since service desk outsourcing is a solution private labeled as an extension of the client’s internal IT team, agents are not only using client-specific tools and processes but also need to follow different greetings and scripts. This means from call to call they have to identify themselves under the correct banner of each inbound contact as well as thoroughly document (contact info, notes, CTIs, etc.) and troubleshoot the issue in the manner specified during the initial and ongoing training sessions. When an on-site presence or secure permissions are required, the agents have to follow the proper workflow and escalate the ticket to the appropriate IT group. So keeping track of those rapid-fire moving parts requires a diligent, unwavering intensity of focus.
3. Well versed in different ITSM tools
As a brand-neutral service desk vendor supporting various clients who are often fully invested in their ITSM tool of choice shared agents must be familiar with the intricacies of ticketing systems such as Service Now, RemedyForce, Footprints, and others. In addition to being ambidextrous with those dual monitors and multiple windows, ideal agents can triage, document, and resolve issues using the ticketing system in the same way the client’s IT team or their employer’s development team customized it to perform.
4. Multilingual capabilities
In order to support global clients with a linguistically diverse and geographically dispersed end-user population on a 24 x 7 x 365 basis, agents are required to have a native fluency in the local language supported for their primary accounts. And of course, for many stateside clients requiring clear, articulate, dialect-free English support, those skills must also be readily available.
5. Flexible in schedule
Although work and home don’t always balance out harmoniously in the modern IT world, the most appreciated and sought after agent will align their work schedule with fluctuating call volume peaks and valleys as well as backfill for colleagues who call in sick or go on vacation. Since many remote support agents have the luxury of working from home, they often return the favor by being able to log in and handle contacts at a moment’s notice.
Certainly, these are not superhuman traits of the Marvel Comics variety and reasonably achievable with training and the proper work ethic. But agents who on a daily basis can handle several accounts on several systems and resolve a plethora of issues during stress-inducing peak periods are nothing short heroic to the service desk and the end users that they support.