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12 Years Later - Seven Rules for Being a Great Help Desk Analyst

08/16/2011 by: The SunView Team

There is an article on TechRepublic from 1999 I recently dug up about the rules for being a great help desk analyst. It is now twelve years later and although computers are faster and more reliable, help desks are receiving even more calls due to the increase in technology, not only in the office but now also mobile.
Let's review the original seven rules:
  1. Gain the trust and confidence of the user first.
  2. Before any attempt at solving the problem, restate the problem to the user.
  3. Avoid asking the user questions that begin with the words "Did you..."
  4. Do your best to have the same setup as your users.
  5. Never pretend you know more than you actually do.
  6. One word: Empathy.
  7. Do everything you can to make the call an enjoyable experience for the user.

Here is some analysis along with opinion on whether each rule is still valid

  1. Trust is important and should still be the first step. - Still valid, but organizations should provide more self-service options like having an actionable service catalog to reduce the need for direct contact with a help desk analyst.
  2. Restating the problem makes sure you understand the question correctly. - Still valid.
  3. Try and work through the problem instead of spending time asking about things the person likely has already tried. - Still valid, but having a searchable knowledge base available to users will help them resolve more issues before making a call.
  4. Having the same setup is still valid if the computer is locked up or if the issue is hardware related. If the computer isn't locked up, a screen sharing program can give the analyst the chance to fix an issue without actually being there. - Partially valid.
  5. You should not pretend you know more than you do but now information is easier to access. Take a step back, search the knowledge base, gather information, and if you can be knowledgeable after that point give that answer with a disclaimer. - Partially valid.
  6. Empathy is the name of the game, if you make the person feel like you care, you usually succeed. - Still valid.
  7. This rule pretty much encompasses everything else on the list. If you do everything else on the list, this rule will never come into play. - Not necessary.
This list was well constructed, and you can tell someone involved with service was involved with writing. As seen in my analysis, this list still holds up for the most part. Advances in technology have adjusted how service is done and therefore have slightly changed the game. However, following these seven rules will still keep employees happy and feel more inclined to ask for help.

| ITIL / IT Service Management / IT Operations