Important IT Support Skills To Excel In Tech Support Roles
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A tech support specialist manages, maintains and repairs the information technology (IT) infrastructure of an organisation and also helps other employees use their IT systems efficiently. If you enjoy resolving technical issues and have a natural aptitude for helping others, a career as an IT support specialist may be a good career choice for you. If you are already pursuing that path, you can consider developing these tech support skills to give you an advantage in your career. In this article, we explore the different IT support skills and share tips on developing them.
Essential IT support skills for tech support specialists
The following IT support skills can help you complete tasks efficiently as a tech support specialist. The role's primary responsibilities include diagnosing and repairing faults with IT systems, resolving network issues, installing and configuring hardware and software. You may also interact with clients by providing tech support for products and services, which makes having a mix of both technical and soft skills is essential for the role. Here are the top skills that employers look for in tech support specialists:
IT support specialists work in a wide variety of industries and fields. You can be a part of a company's in-house tech support team or work for an organisation that provides technical support to other businesses and customers. Irrespective of the type of role, the technical skills for the job are the same. Tech support specialists perform the following essential IT tasks:
instal and configure software and hardware systems, printers and scanners
manage security and set up accounts on mobile, desktops and laptops
plan and implement maintenance upgrades
respond to breakdowns and other technological troubles
investigate, diagnose and solve hardware and software issues
assess and strengthen enterprise security
Having the necessary technical skills to carry out the aforementioned tasks is essential for technical support specialists. Initially, basic computer competency and general product knowledge are sufficient to handle low-level support issues. As you advance in your career, you might deal with high-level support issues that require basic coding knowledge, the ability to maintain data reports and read and analyse application logs.
2. Communication skills
Besides resolving technical troubles, tech support representatives also interact with employees or clients while fixing their technical problems. Having strong verbal communication skills can help you interact with users, understand the issues they are experiencing and explain the solution efficiently. Additionally, written communication skills like drafting answers to customer questions can help you offer technical support via email or chat as required. Being bilingual or multilingual is an added advantage as it enables you to connect with customers in their preferred language.
3. Patience and listening skills
Often, tech support associates deal with frustrated and worried customers. So, having patience, empathy and keen listening skills are an advantage on the job. These skills help tech support agents hear the user out, understand the problems they are dealing with and provide them with a practical solution, resolving the issue amicably and satisfactorily.
4. Problem-solving skills
A vast majority of the job of a tech support specialist involves solving problems that users are facing. Problem-solving skills help you ask the right questions to the customer to understand their issue, identify the right solutions and deliver them effectively. Quick decision-making and creative problem-solving skills can help you resolve customer issues quickly without requiring further escalation.
5. Learning skills
Tech tools and products evolve constantly and the willingness to learn new technologies and apply their knowledge on the job can help you advance in your IT support role. Part of the learning process is attending workplace training and presentations and incorporating the new skills into your daily tasks. Additionally, you can expand your knowledge base by attending online webinars and courses related to your job.
6. Organisational skills
IT support roles are challenging, as you are likely to simultaneously manage multiple people's needs. Organisational skills, multitasking skills and project management skills help you meet deadlines, reach goals and complete your tasks with precision and efficiency. You can use calendars or online tools to help you improve your organisational skills.
7. Time management skills
Time management is a crucial skill for those working in IT support. Strong time management skills like prioritisation, planning, delegation, and goal-setting help you resolve as many customer issues as possible in a day. Additionally, IT support requires time-consuming software installation. By combing software installation with other background tasks, you can resolve more than one issue at a time. Efficient time management ensures that you complete all assigned tickets without spending extra time on them.
8. Being open to constructive criticism
You are likely to receive regular feedback and performance review reports from your supervisors or team leaders in tech support roles. Being receptive to feedback and acting on it can help you get better at your job and advance your career. Develop the ability to evaluate feedback objectively and take the necessary steps to remedy your limitations.
9. Technical curiosity
Being technically curious is an advantage in the IT sector as it helps you learn the inner workings of tools and products and show initiative to learn more about your daily tasks. Managers value tech support specialists who are curious as they are likely to exceed customer expectations and add value to the organisation.
10. Attention to detail
IT support often requires multiple steps and several details. Attention to detail ensures that you complete all crucial steps without missing critical information. This skill can also help you save time and complete the job quickly by avoiding repeating already completed work due to careless mistakes.
Tips to improve IT support skills
If you are working as tech support, you can use these tips to excel in your role and advance in your career:
Practice active listening
Making the user understood and heard plays a significant role in delivering efficient IT support. You can develop active listening by practising it daily with your teammates or family members. Here are a few tips for building your active listening skills:
mentally repeat what the user is saying makes it easier to concentrate on their issue
avoid interrupting the user until they have finished talking completely
listen for non-verbal cues
ask relevant questions to show that you are listening and to get more clarity about the issue
end the call with a quick summary so that the user knows whether you have understood the problem correctly
2. Use positive language
When attending to a user's problems, positive language helps alleviate the stress of the situation. Use positive verbs that soothe and calm the client or employee. For example, instead of saying, 'do not click on the red button,' you can say, 'the green button is the best choice here.' Other positive phrases you can use are:
'Can you help me understand more about the problem you are facing?'
'No worries, I can help you with your issue.'
'Great question; I can find that out for you.'
3. Know your products, services and tools comprehensively
Having a deep knowledge of the software and hardware products and services helps you resolve customer issues quickly and efficiently. Before attending to customer tickets, you can spend some time reviewing the various features of the software or app so that you are ready to handle any questions from the user. Also, learn troubleshooting tips and tricks that you can share with the user, making it easier for them to use the product.
4. Be solutions-focused
IT support work can be emotionally challenging at times, especially when dealing with angry or frustrated customers. Stay resilient, calm, confident and determined to provide a positive solution. Shift from a problem-focused mindset to a solutions-focused mindset that helps you deliver the right solutions to customers at the right time.
5. Stay updated
As mentioned above, IT support is a fast-evolving field. With new products and software solutions launching in the market, staying updated is crucial to improving your skills and keeping yourself relevant at the workplace. Webinars, online courses or certifications can also help you update your technical skills and expertise.
6. Remain calm under pressure
IT support can be a high-pressure job, especially when you have multiple requests to handle simultaneously. Building your ability to remain calm under pressure helps you focus on the job without getting distracted. Multitasking, prioritising using lists, improving your technical skills are a few ways to increase your ability to work well in a stressful environment.
7. Be humble
There may be situations where you instal the wrong software product that costs time or money for the end-users. Errors are part of the job and the quickest way to resolve the issue is to openly acknowledge the error and let the user know that you are working to resolve the issue. If you are unable to handle the problem independently, you can escalate it to a team leader or supervisor. Consider this as a learning opportunity and work on ways to avoid this issue in the future.
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