3 Soft Skills Required for an Effective ITSM Staff

Your IT service desk employees need to have a fairly unique blend of skills to work effectively. On one hand, you need them to have the technical expertise needed to interact with IT systems and employees easily. On the other, they need to be personable and patient enough to support non-tech workers having technology problems. This blend of technical and interpersonal competencies is hard to come by, and it makes a good service desk worker an invaluable asset in any organization.

These core competencies are only part of the process of developing good support workers. You need employees to have hard technical skills and customer support training, but they also need plenty of soft skills, secondary competencies that aren't always easy to measure, if you want to optimize your service desk. Three especially noteworthy service desk soft skills include:

1. Multi-Tasking
At any given time, a worker on your IT service management team may need to be working on an ongoing incident, talking with a manager via built-in chat tools about an ongoing issue, taking an urgent phone call from a business user and documenting a resolution that he/she has discovered. Processes move quickly in the service desk and workers need to be able to move from one workflow to the next efficiently. This often means being ready to have multiple task types happening at once. A good support worker will be skilled at multi-tasking and know how to prioritize different functions to avoid running into any problems.

A good ITSM solution will empower employees to multi-task by giving them customizable dashboards that put the most relevant information at their fingertips, freeing them to take care of many work functions at once from their central work portal.

2. Collaboration
Not everybody works well with others. In some cases, a person is just better suited to functioning without any sort of disruption, leaving them in a situation where they do not do a good job of collaborating because they are over-focused. In others, a person may struggle to collaborate because they are so competitive that they don't want to share knowledge and expertise. There are also situations in which a person just doesn't want to do the extra work, and many other ways that a support employee can struggle to collaborate effectively. Effective team building is extremely important in the service desk, and it's vital that you find ways to get your staff to buy in to working together.

Whether collaboration is needed to document incidents, help new workers resolve frequent incidents more easily or identify trends in the service desk, you need to find ways to get your users to communicate. You can teach these skills and build them into your processes to make collaboration an organizational competency. You can also get a service desk with built-in collaboration tools to make working together easier for everybody.

3. Discipline
Punctuality, the ability to work with minimal supervision and following best practices at all times are all good signs of a disciplined worker. You need this on the service desk so your managers can focus on big-picture issues like improving staff technical competency, delivering business value and identifying operational trends, instead of having to spend their time making sure support workers are working like they should. Disciplined service desk employees make life easier for everybody on the support team and create significant value for the organization.

A good service desk will provide support leaders with key performance indicators and other metrics that help them identify disciplined workers and reward them, giving other employees motivation to step up their game.

There are many soft skills that go into a successful ITSM plan, and a good service desk platform will give you the tools you need to promote these abilities.

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