As an IT Support Professional, I found it natural to join a professional association in my industry, so that I could stay abreast of trends and issues. I have been a member of the largest IT Service and Technical Support association (called HDI) for 10 years. While I have personally gained a tremendous amount of both technical and soft skill knowledge over the last decade from my time in HDI, I have also been able to help others by volunteering as a local board member to plan and execute educational and training programs for members of our association, both in my own city and across the United States and Canada.
This month, I was able to participate in HDI’s annual recognition program for technical support staff. The program originates at the company level, where Help Desk Analysts and Desktop Support Technicians are recognized for their work over the course of the year. Each metropolitan area (Sacramento, Phoenix, Atlanta, Dallas, etc.) then holds a competition in which the winners of each area are determined. Those winners are recognized and then compete at a regional level (the Western U.S., the Southeast, etc.), and once the regional winners are determined, they go on to compete at the National level at HDI’s annual conference.
I have nominated several of my employees over the years, one of which won the local and regional competition, and went to compete at the National level. It is a huge recognition to not only the employees, but also the companies, and to the betterment of all, it is at no cost to the nominees, or their companies.
In the past few weeks, as I have interviewed nominees for the Western Regional competition, I have been blown away by the professionalism and excellence of each person who works in Customer Service day after day. I’d like to share a few nuggets of knowledge that I heard in response to questions about how nominees describe Customer Service.
1 – It’s important to make them feel important.
Truer words have never been uttered about Customer Service. When you go to a restaurant, when you step into a store, or when you call your bank, Credit Card Company or utility provider, don’t you want to feel important? Does the person you interact with display boredom and surliness, or are they happy to see you and act as if you are a VIP?
2 – Listen First.
It’s rare to have someone listen. The old adage goes, ‘Two ears, one mouth, listen twice as much as you talk’. In today’s narcissistic society, interacting with a Customer is not time for “me, me, me”. Companies who listen first, and then respond, see the payoff, literally.
3 – Take initiative.
This is perhaps the biggest thing that sets great employees apart. They do things. Whether it is for a Customer, their peers or the company as a whole, they don’t wait to be told what to do every part of the day. Rather, they determine what needs to be done and they occupy their time in doing those things which are productive.
Luckily for me, I still get to participate in q few more interviews over the next week or so, and I would be more than happy to share any further insights that I learn.
Thanks for reading,