The 5 most valuable skills for a customer facing technical support/help desk role
#1 Being social
I’m putting this as the top spot because this is so utterly important. I have had so many customer service agents (CSAs) that have hated their lives in support because they are not social people. CSAs need a love for chatting, not only for their sanity but also to make customers feel connected to the vendor. A great support relationship with the customer all starts with CSAs that genuinely want to talk to them.
#2 An innate ability to empathize
Most customers contacting you are typically not impressed with you in some way. The ability to empathize, listen and lead the customer back to that happy place is truly a beautiful skill to behold. A truly exceptional CSA can take those customers who want to burn your company to the ground back to a place of calm. They do this by putting themselves in the customer’s shoes and identifying how to make them happy.
#3 Technical writing
This part is overlooked a lot, but its importance is 3rd on my list. Speaking to customers directly we dealt with on #1, #2, but the ability to take complex technical issues and write them down in a simple way goes a long way and takes many years of practice. A good rule of thumb: If your grandma can follow the steps you’ve written on how to resolve an issue, you are doing it right. Technical writing is also important for your support staff so they can start reusing and sharing solutions and eventually creating knowledge base articles for your entire customer base to find.
#4 Peripheral technical knowledge
#5 Problem solving
Technical knowledge in the support world is not good enough to be a great CSA. CSAs need to be able to follow the breadcrumbs and logically deduce whether the problem is based on their knowledge or by trial an error on where to go. Surprisingly, I find people with coding experience can make great CSAs.