The story of my work now is identical to when I used to work in a print shop. Every morning, we would sit down and have our production meeting. We’d meet from 8–9 and hammer out a schedule for the day.
What jobs are in now? What are we expecting? What paper or toner do we need to order? Is something big about to break loose for our top client demanding all of our equipment all day? We’d plan the day out by the job and by the hour. I would walk up front to my behemoths of toner and fire and would start the first runs of the day.
Then it would all fall apart.
Planning for Change
Every morning we would meet and by the time we left the meeting, it would all be for not. We would joke that our plan at 9am was out the windows by 9:05.
The print industry is fluid. Change is the constant and you never know what’s going to happen from hour to hour. Tech support is the same way.
I serve a desktop support role. I’m that guy that shows up at your desk to fix your computer when you call the help desk.
And I can’t plan my day out any better than when I had daily production meetings.
While it is impossible to plan my day out more than a few minutes into the future, I have come up with a couple tricks to guard my remaining sanity.
Get an overview
When I open my ticket queue for the first time in the morning, I look through every ticket to get a feel for my day. I look at what has come in over night and what I need to finish up from the previous day. I try to guess how much time each request will take, who made the request and what is the urgency? (Everyone thinks everything is urgent.)
Once I’ve done that, it’s usually time to reassess because something has changed. But if not, I will group the tickets into batches by urgency and location. I used a lined notebook with split into two columns where I write the requestor’s name, location and issue. I leave myself room to make notes or to write additional information when I arrive at their desk.
Before I leave my desk, I will email or call the requestor and see if they are in their office or at their desk. There’s no point in running all around a building chasing people who are not around.
Many people like to put in requests with a high urgency, then head off for lunch or leave for the day. If someone is at their desk and available for me to help them, I can resolve their issue faster.
Preparation is key
Before I leave my desk, I try to prepare as much as I can for the task at hand. I search for an error code or download an installer to my thumb drive. I always try to show up at the requestor’s desk as prepared as I can be to resolve their issue quickly and correctly.
The first thing I have in mind whenever I visit someone is the entire reason I am there, to serve the customer For as long as I am there, they are not able to work. It is my job to resolve their issue quickly and correctly.
Technical support is as much about customer service as it is about fixing computers. Everything I do works towards being in and out as quickly as possible and delighting my customer.
(Photo credit: Railway via Shutterstock)