Here at Chartall Business College, we run a small help desk to support our students throughout their learning journey. Edith is our student adviser and she has learnt a thing or two about the effective management of our help desk. She has made these notes to share her insights.
- Take time to listen to the specific requests of a client. Do not try and anticipate what their question or issue may be and rush to an answer because you assume to know what they need. Sometimes they answer their own questions by verbalising what they want. And listen as much to what they do say as what they don’t say – be aware of their tone, sarcasm and silences because they often tell you as much as the actual words.
- Always have a pen and paper or computer notes screen open so that you can capture every detail from your client. Start by taking down their name and contact details in case you get cut off. Then take details of their question so that you can assist them correctly or refer them to someone who can help them. It is best to try and help them yourself if you can, but if you can’t there is nothing more frustrating for your client than having to tell their story over and over to different people.
- Make the interaction a pleasurable one. Use your client’s name correctly and do not be too casual with them (in fact, it is probably best to call them Mr or Ms unless they ask you to call them by their first name). Using their name correctly make them feel valued and important.
- If you have to refer the client to one of your colleagues for a solution, you should still take charge of the client and the solution. Follow up with your colleague and make sure they keep the promises you made to your client in the first call. This is especially important if you promised to get back to them by a particular time or date.
- Always remember to use a professional tone when speaking or writing to clients. The help desk may be the only point of contact that the client will ever have with the organisation, so it must be a pleasurable and professional one.
- Remain calm and always be polite in your conversations, even if they are rude to you. Always keep your cool, but be firm. If you are being abused or shouted at, point out calmly that you cannot accept that language and that you will escalate the call if they don’t treat you civilly.
Lastly, be happy with yourself, love what you do and everything else will fall in place.
By Edith Marufu