Your business is growing, your product is changing, and customers are contacting your customer service team more frequently as your business scales.
You took the initiative and installed a help desk software for your customer service team, but like any new business tool, employees need to learn basic help desk skills before they put it into practice.
In this post, we'll list some basic skills every rep should have and share the best help desk certifications available for your customer service team in 2022.
Basic Help Desk Skills
- Effective Communication Skills
- Customer Service Skills
- Critical-Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills
- Product Knowledgeability
- Interpersonal Skills
- Adaptability Skills
- Time Management Skills
- Composure Under Pressure
1. Effective Communication Skills
If you can’t communicate the solution the customer needs, then working at a help desk will be a challenging feat. Customers don’t know the product as you do, so you need to explain IT terminology and workflows in a way that someone from the outside can understand.
2. Customer Service Skills
The help desk is another form of a customer service team. While you may not be the first employee in the operation to greet customers, you are a reflection of them in terms of your attitude when they do get to you. Customer service skills are equally as important as your ability to solve for the customer in this role.
3. Critical-Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills
Your job at the help desk is to find the solution the customer is looking for, and for that, you need to be a critical thinker. The answer to a customer’s question may not always be black and white and may take additional information like context or understanding of the system from different perspectives to conclude.
4. Product Knowledgeability
This may seem obvious, but you have to understand the product to explain it to the customer. If you don’t have good product knowledge, you may lead the customer astray with false information, or elongate the time necessary to help them by having to ask for assistance or even hand them off to another help desk team member.
5. Interpersonal Skills
The help desk is a customer-facing role, so how you conduct yourself interpersonally is a huge factor in your success. You need to make your interactions positive, value-adding, and thought out, both in terms of how you solve problems and how you address the client before you.
6. Adaptability Skills
You have to be able to pivot from one situation to another well to find success in a help desk. No two customer requests will be the same, so being adaptable means that you can change your approach to each item to best meet the needs of the customer before you.
7. Time Management Skills
Punctuality is major in a help desk interaction. Customers want help from you fast, and their patience can run thin quickly if they’re left waiting too long for assistance. The more strategic you are with time management, the more efficient you’ll become when meeting customer needs.
8. Composure Under Pressure
Working in a help desk system is not for the faint of heart. To find success in this role, you have to understand and expect to multitask in time-sensitive situations. Not every day will be as smooth as the last, and having that composure to keep working even when it gets tough is invaluable in this role.
The customer is relying on you when they reach out for a helping hand. In addition, the rest of your team is relying on you to do your job and do it well. A help desk rep has a big responsibility to handle from an internal and external perspective, and guaranteeing that you’ll do your best is a vital skill to possess for it.
Customers come to the help desk of a business because they aren’t able to find solutions themselves. Oftentimes they’re not tech-savvy and may have already spent a great deal of time trying to find and get help from a representative, so they’re already not in the greatest mood upon first interaction. You have to be patient with customers as they come to keep them calm and solve their pain points.
Help desk reps often will help one another in different situations to resolve user concerns. To achieve this common goal, you shouldn’t shy from using teamwork, and should feel empowered and comfortable enough to reach out to other members of the team when need be.
Fortunately, there's training that can teach your team how to use a help desk to optimize their workflow. These courses, paid or free, can consist of various exercises that help reps become familiar with fundamental help desk features and common customer interactions. When a course is complete, reps receive credible certifications showcasing their mastery of help desk software to better serve your business.
Top Help Desk Certification
- HubSpot Academy
- ITIL Foundation
- Google IT Support
- Comptia A+
- Udemy IT Help Desk Professional
- HDI - CSR
1. HubSpot Academy
In addition to HubSpot's free help desk, HubSpot Academy offers free, online training that helps you get familiar with its customer service tools. The "Understanding Help Desk" course breaks down each tool in the ServiceHub suite and explains how your reps can use each feature to save time and automate functions. By having your reps complete this course, you'll be able to quickly and efficiently onboard your new help desk software without reaching out to customer support.
Even if you aren't using HubSpot's tools, you can complete their academy lessons for general customer service skills. For example, the "Customer Success and Account Health Checks" training teaches participants how to use help desk tools to monitor and manage customer relations. The skills taught in these lessons apply to any customer service team using help desk software.
Customer Support Specialist, Kahla Pruett, cites HubSpot Academy courses during the beginning of her role as practical and purposive to her success in satisfying customers. She states, “HubSpot Academy allowed me to better understand the tools and features of HubSpot to troubleshoot cases better. I continually cite the different array of service courses offered as I’m met with more unique customer inquiries, and have become more efficient in solution-making because of it.”
2. ITIL Foundation
Axelos offers a popular ITIL Foundation training course teaching participants the basics of customer support and how to use help desk tools. ITIL shares the best practices that are used when providing IT services to consumers. This course explains each best practice and provides exercises that help service reps master the ITIL approach.
What's great about this course is that participants can choose to attend an in-person training session with an ITIL expert. These sessions last two days and provide a final exam at the end of the lessons. If there isn't training nearby, you can self-study for the final exam using the ITIL Foundation book, offered both online and in hard copy.
3. Google IT Support
Google offers a Google IT Support course teaching customer support fundamentals to participants who may not have a background in IT or customer service. This online course is great for beginners just starting their careers and learning how to properly troubleshoot complex technical issues. The training includes interactive labs and reviewable assessments that help users understand universal troubleshooting steps.
One notable feature of this training is how Google incorporates customer testimonials within the lessons. Throughout the course, you'll hear from real Google users who have used this training to propel their careers to the next level. This motivates reps to complete the course because they see the tangible value of obtaining the certification.
4. CompTIA A+
CompTIA is an online training provider offering an array of career-building training programs. Its CompTIA A+ course is designed to teach participants the basic skills they'll need for an IT or customer service career. This includes a breakdown of the help desk tools they can expect to see when working in a support role.
CompTIA A+ also has a security lesson that teaches your reps how to properly handle sensitive information. It discusses some common threats most devices are exposed to and provides some best practices for securing valuable data. 92% of consumers expect your company to protect their information, and with this training, you can meet customer demand and differentiate your service team from competitors.
5. Udemy IT Help Desk Professional
Udemy's IT Help Desk Professional course is an advanced customer service training that teaches reps how to become help desk specialists. After covering basic troubleshooting fundamentals, this online course unpacks complex customer roadblocks that are common in an IT or customer support role. This includes installing operating systems, managing hardware, and analyzing applications for major operational flaws.
This course is formatted into a two-hour instructional video followed by a final exam. What's great about this setup is that you can access the video on a TV or mobile device. That way, participants can take the training home with them and complete it outside of work.
Network+ is a help desk training program provided by CompTIA. This course focuses on troubleshooting network issues affecting customer service tools like poor connections and network security. Since most help desk software operates through the internet, this training ensures your tools stay up and running in the event of a network malfunction.
The course begins with explaining network concepts and how technology, like wifi, works with your help desk tools. Then it breaks down the proper ways to handle network hardware and what to do if your network connection isn't up to par. Finally, the course concludes with a lesson in network security explaining what your reps can do to prevent a cyber-attack on your system.
HDI-CSR is an online, help desk course that's aimed at customer service reps. This training spends more time explaining the customer service aspect of help desks and how your reps can use these tools to enhance their soft skills in communication. For example, one lesson explains how your reps can use a ticketing system to manage customer requests and breaks down the steps needed to implement this process.
Like the ITIL Foundation program, this course also offers live classroom training that can be attended in person or online. They are six-hour sessions taught by experts in the customer service field.
Solve for Your Customers Better
Improving your help desk to better serve your customers can aid in your business’ growth. With more effective and streamlined interactions, you’ll be able to satisfy customers and potentially build long-lasting relationships from the reliability of your help desk. We hope your team can take these certification recommendations and achieve these possibilities.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in May 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.