Calling all Support Professionals - save yourself 5 minutes per user per month

I really feel for Support Professionals - those usually faceless people who respond, day after day, to endless streams of user questions, deal with errors (system and user) and remain polite and helpful even when they want to scream ‘You stupid person - I told you this last week!' down the phone at times.

Of course, we can help them but only if they let us in. How many support teams liaise regularly with their training team colleagues to discuss recurring user issues? If they do, they will find that their colleagues can build training around these issues, evaluate its effectiveness through analysis of support desk calls or even support individual users who appear to have recurring support issues that indicate a skill shortage. If an investment of 30 minutes in the training room or deskside saves the support desk even 5 minutes per user per month, the return on investment across the organisation is fairly rapid and the time saved can be put to use by proactively supporting users rather than having to react to the same problem again and again.

Training Practitioner Week day 2 call to action!

If you are a training professional, go and find your support counterpart, say hello and tell them that you would like to help them save 5 minutes per user, per month. If you are a support professional, go and find your training counterpart and ask for their help. Of course, you could always comment on today’s blog if you prefer.

More information about Training Practitioner Week, including today's profile, can be found on the SG website http://www.bcs.org/server.php?show=conWebDoc.34125

Comments (5)

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  • 1
    Michelle Kaye wrote on 2nd Feb 2010

    Another side to this is:
    For the support person, could they change how they offer support so that the person is learning rather than having it done for them?

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  • 2
    Iain wrote on 3rd Feb 2010

    @Michelle Kaye: In my experience support call centres for the general public will talk the user through the solution, as they don't have the same access to the machine as an in-house support team would have. In the company I work in the support person tries to talk the users through all the problems, the users here though don't always learn.

    We have a weekly meeting in the support department which includes the network team, the technicians, managers, helpdesk and me the developer. This works well as the everyone is kept up-to-date on the various problems the company is facing (in IT related areas). We find it works really well, although there are only 13 of us in total so it's a lot easier.

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  • 3
    Iain wrote on 3rd Feb 2010

    Forgot to mention: we don't really have much user training, it's achieved through user docs. Training is a different department's job, and they aren't very good at making sure the users know what they are doing.
    We switched to Office 2007 last year, and I don't think anyone was prepared, even though they had forewarning.

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  • 4
    Ali Jarman wrote on 3rd Feb 2010

    I worked at an IT trainer in a company where there was a very strong relationship between the support team and the training team. As trainers we were the experts on what the client required, as we did all configuration too. This company was very forward looking, I was involved with the development of the product, respected for my awareness of the client's needs and their ideas for the software. As a result we were in a good position to train the support staff when new versions came out. But there was also a huge repository of knowledge in support to and we learned from their experiences with the customers.
    It was an exciting, vibrant and refreshing place to work.

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  • 5
    Elaine wrote on 3rd Feb 2010

    Jooli, thank you so much for this great piece. As a support professional, I see part of my job as training, to enable the colleagues who contact support to know more about the systems and processes. It's for the benefit of the colleagues, and for our benefit, as information is power and knowing more can either prevent or cure issues before they need to contact support. You're the best!

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About the author
Jooli Atkins (FBCS, CITP) has been involved in the IT profession for the past 25 years, mainly in Learning and Development. She is the Chair of the BCS Learning and Development Specialist Group and CITP assessor as well as being an accredited SFIA consultant, specialising in Business Change.

See all posts by Jooli Atkins

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