A plus 1002 Sub-objective 4.7 – Given a scenario, use proper communication techniques and professionalism

Welcome to ExamNotes by Certblaster! This section will examine 220-1002 Objective 4.7 Given a scenario, use proper communication techniques and professionalism. The foundation of your relationship with the user or customer rests on your professional appearance, the manner in which you present yourself, and the degree you are able to educate the user while making repairs. Engage them in the process wherever possible. If the user comprehends the nature of the problem, they may be able to avoid it in the future. At the very least, the user will be able to provide actionable details when calling the help desk.

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Use proper language – avoid jargon, acronyms, and slang when applicable

Always use the correct terminology when discussing the customer’s issue. Using acronyms and slang will more often than not lead to confusion. Acronyms and slang may make you feel that you are impressing the customer with your technical mastery when in reality, you are simply confusing them. Try your best to be easily understood.

Maintain a positive attitude / Project confidence

Your demeanor sets the customer’s first impression regarding the quality of service they will be receiving. Appear confident but not cocky. Be calm and assured. Never say “Uh-Oh” and show doubt. Regardless of the circumstances, maintaining a positive attitude will enable the customer to respect your skills and lead to a generally positive experience.

Actively listen (taking notes) and avoid interrupting the customer

During the initial phase of a service call, you will be sent the help desk notes and a problem description. Hold off on using this information immediately. First, have the customer describe the condition in their own words as their remarks may uncover details that are not in the ticket. This also adds a comfort level for the user by enabling them to explain issues in their own terms and validate your understanding. Take good notes and never cut off a user off when they are talking. If the problem can be reproduced, have the user demonstrate their process.

Be culturally sensitive

Remember that during any professional encounter, from the help desk down to a personal service call, you are representing your entire company. Restrict any non-technical discussions to only those initiated by the customer. This will help you stay in safe conversational zones around topics that interest them and that are generally of the “How about this weather?” nature. Avoid topics involving religion, race, gender, and politics. If you sense a conversation is going south, steer the conversation back to the service call. People are less likely to be confrontational with you personally but will quite easily report anything negative to your superiors during a follow-up call. Protect yourself and your company against any negativity.

Use appropriate professional titles, when applicable

Professionalism can be gauged by how a customer is treated during general conversation. Always address them using the best professional title that applies, even if it is simply Mr., Mrs., or Ms. This practice signifies your respect for them as a person. Next, identify yourself accurately and state the nature of your visit. It is good to ask if this is a convenient time for them and to give a fair estimation of the amount of time you’ll need.

Be on time (if late contact the customer)

The objective states to contact the customer if you are going to be late. This is undoubtedly good practice since a customer will begin to formulate a positive opinion of you and the visit if you call ahead of time and give them your location and ETA. It’s also good to ask if the time still works within the customer’s schedule. A little respect goes a long way.

Avoid distractions

When you are working on a customer’s equipment, it is imperative to give the matter your undivided attention. If a customer feels that you are distracted, it will directly impact their faith in you and the company. That is unacceptable. Unless your employer requires personal devices to be on at all times, turn them off. If they must remain on, silence the ringer. There should be no external distractions.

Personal calls

There is no good reason to make or take a personal call during a customer encounter. Period.

Texting / Social media sites

Your company policy will adequately cover Texting and Social Media sites. However, it goes without saying that this activity is 100% not permitted during customer interactions.

Talking to co-workers while interacting with customers

You should not initiate any conversations with coworkers during a trouble call. The only exception would be a case where you need advice and in this case, keep the conversation brief.

Personal interruptions

While you are working on a customer’s device, realize that your presence is keeping them from their job duties. You may not be able to control a coworker initiating a conversation, but you can cut it short. Make it clear that you are busy and schedule your conversation for a better time.

Dealing with a difficult customer or situation

Realize that you don’t know what you don’t know. The statement sounds simplistic yet is profound. Take for example a work order, flagged as Urgent, which only states that the customer’s email is not working. Given that computer failures are never at a good time, consider the customer’s overall situation. Do they have a tight deadline? What are the repercussions of not meeting their deadline? Could this problem cost the company a sale or even a prospective customer? There could be a bonus, raise, or even promotion on the line. The full situation is unknown and a cavalier attitude during the service call could potentially send the customer over the edge.

Think back to the rules of engagement. New information regarding the customer’s situation helps explain why a customer could be agitated. Acting properly can help avoid any escalation. Proper action also helps the customer determine that the right person was sent to fix the issue.

If the customer is venting, let them finish and above all, do not argue any aspect of their issue. They could easily be the cause of the problem but it is inadvisable to mention things of this nature at that point of the service call.

Upset customer – You never want to get a user to this place…

Do not argue with customers and/or be defensive

An irate customer will likely blame anyone in the chain that is even remotely involved in the service call, even you personally. Whatever you do, do not argue. Let them go on. They will also attack programs and devices that are not related to their issue. Do not defend anything.  Apologize and offer help. Assure them that you will resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

Avoid dismissing customer problems

Another area of conflict with a customer arises when a technician dismisses or minimizes the customer’s input. Customers know how to do their job using their tools. As a result, it makes sense to hear them out regarding any theory that could cause a problem. Avoid dismissing their theories without investigating them first. Recognize that the customer represents the only witness to the matter at hand and use them fully as a resource.

Avoid being judgmental

It is easy for some people in the IT community to feel that they know more than a user on a particular matter.

This is not always true. The technician may have an advanced skill set in programming and operational matters, but it is the end-user that will have an intimate day-to-day knowledge of the cause and effect between frequently used applications. Pay attention to their input.

Clarify customer statements (ask open-ended questions to narrow the scope of the problem, restate the issue or question to verify understanding)

Positive interaction with the customer can be the difference between a quick fix and needlessly wasted time. When talking to the customer, always ask questions that require more than a one-word response. Questions such as “When did you first notice the problem?” will yield more information if you add the following clarifier, “and what else were you doing at the time?” You may learn that they were listening to a Webinar and taking notes when the incident occurred. With this information, you can start to investigate the browser, anti-spyware, browser plug-ins, and toolbars that you otherwise would not have suspected.

Do not disclose experiences via social media outlets

Social media is highly addictive to some people. They often share details, interactions, and experiences from their life without considering the potential audience. Social media is banned or restricted in the workplace because it represents a security vulnerability. Think of a hacker, who is a fake friend of a friend, being able to determine the schedule and whereabouts of the IT staff by finding and viewing a simple retirement party invitation. The hacker will know all of the attendees, where they will be (GPS), and for how long they will be away from their desk, allowing the hacker to find a perfect time to launch an attack. Don’t use social media for work-related matters however innocent they may appear.

Set and meet expectations timeline and communicate status with the customer

A customer should be kept informed regarding your ETA and any details involving the schedule. The best call you can give a customer is “I’ve finished my last call. I know it’s early but would you like me to come now?”

Offer different repair replacement options if applicable

When faced with a situation that requires a part replacement, consider solutions that will get the user back up and running while you wait for the part. Let’s say you have a damaged USB 3.0 port. In this case, suggest that the device can operate on an unused USB 2.0 port. The device will be slower but it will still work. This is an example of a workable short-term solution.

Provide proper documentation on the services provided

All service-related calls must be documented. As a technician, ensure that the work request is complete, containing the username, location, date, time of call, and problem description. When you arrive at the location, note the arrival time and the state of the machine to be fixed. Do your fact-finding interview. Take clear concise notes. Note any actions taken, parts needed, and the condition of the machine once you’ve finished. If necessary, include recommendations for further action and their date/time.

Follow up with customer user at later date to verify satisfaction

A good technician will follow up with the customer the following day in order to ensure customer satisfaction and to ensure the repair was complete and satisfactory. This shows the customer that the technician is concerned about their matter.

Deal appropriately with customers confidential and private materials Located on a computer, desktop, printer, etc

When you enter a customer’s workspace, you will undoubtedly come across items of a personal nature along with potentially sensitive work data. It is important that you confine your attention to only the matters that concern you. There may be information on their screen so suggest that the user saves and closes their applications. Any materials on their printer should be secured by the user. Make every effort to avoid exposure to confidential and personal information.

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Well, that covers it for 220-1002 objective 4.7. Keep on plugging away, you’re almost there! Good luck with the test.

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