Who's Right for Today's Help Desk?
As help desk staffers take on more technical responsibilities, what type of person is right for today's help desk? Executives agree that a combination of people skills and technical expertise is required -- but some put more emphasis on one attribute than the other.
"There are generic traits I always look for -- attitude, aptitude, talent and initiative. But within the customer service center, your ability to multitask, work under pressure, have technical skills that span from basic networking, understanding PCs, software -- both cloud-based and on-premises -- is important. You have to be much more of a generalist," says David Stevens, CIO of Maricopa County, Ariz.
For others, personality trumps technical skills. "I'm all about aptitude and attitude," says Autumn Bernier, CIO and systems manager at Allan Brothers. If a candidate has those two traits, "I'm always willing to train them."
"Experience is good, but personality is probably a bigger component," says Kurt Plowman, CTO for the city of Staunton, Va. "You have to be a people person" -- especially when it comes to handling calls from people who are unhappy. As for technical skills, "most people have some experience in technology from the stuff they use at home," he says. "I can teach them the enterprise side of things."