You are previewing Effective Help Desk Specialist Skills.
O'Reilly logo
Effective Help Desk Specialist Skills

Book Description

All of today’s help desk support skills, in one easy-to-understand book

  

The perfect beginner’s guide: No help desk or support experience necessary

Covers both “soft” personal skills and “hard” technical skills

Explains the changing role of help desk professionals in the modern support center

Today, everyone depends on technology–and practically everyone needs help to use it well. Organizations deliver that assistance through help desks. This guide brings together all the knowledge you need to succeed in any help desk or technical support role, prepare for promotion, and succeed with the support-related parts of other IT jobs. Leading technology instructor Darril Gibson tours the modern help desk, explains what modern support professionals really do, and fully covers both of the skill sets you’ll need: technical and personal. In clear and simple language, he discusses everything from troubleshooting specific problems to working with difficult users. You’ll even learn how to manage a help desk, so it works better and delivers more value.

Coverage includes:

• How the modern help desk has evolved

• Understanding your users’ needs, goals, and attitudes

• Walking through the typical help desk call

• Communicating well: listening actively and asking better questions

• Improving interactions and handling difficult situations

• Developing positive attitudes, and “owning” the problem

• Managing your time and stress

• Supporting computers, networks, smartphones, and tablets

• Finding the technical product knowledge you need

• Protecting the security of your users, information, and devices

• Defining, diagnosing, and solving problems, step by step

• Writing it up: from incident reports to documentation

• Working in teams to meet the goals of the business

• Using ITIL to improve the services you provide

• Calculating help desk costs, benefits, value, and performance

• Taking control of your support career

Powerful features make it easier to learn about help desk careers!

• Clear introductions describe the big ideas and show how they fit with what you’ve already learned

• Specific chapter objectives tell you exactly what you need to learn

• Key Terms lists help you identify important terms and a complete Glossary helps you understand them

• Author’s Notes and On The Side features help you go deeper into the topic if you want to

• Chapter Review tools and activities help you make sure you’ve learned the material

Exclusive Mind Mapping activities!

• Organize important ideas visually–in your mind, in your words

• Learn more, remember more

• Understand how different ideas fit together

Table of Contents

  1. About This eBook
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Contents at a Glance
  5. Table of Contents
  6. About the Author
  7. Dedication
  8. Acknowledgments
  9. About the Technical Reviewer
  10. We Want to Hear from You!
  11. Reader Services
  12. Introduction
    1. Organization of the Text
    2. Key Pedagogical Features
    3. A Brief Word on Mind Mapping
    4. Conclusion
  13. Chapter 1. Introduction to Help Desk Support Roles
    1. Chapter Outline
    2. Objectives
    3. Key Terms
    4. Understanding the Support Center
      1. A Little History
      2. The Evolution of the Support Center
      3. Understanding an Incident and Incident Management
      4. The Role of the Support Center
      5. IT Tiers within an Organization
    5. The Role of the Help Desk Professional
      1. First Line of Support for Users
      2. Assessing Problems and Identifying Solutions
      3. Recognizing Required Skillsets
    6. Understanding Users
      1. User Categories
      2. Services Provided to Users
    7. Typical Incident Process
      1. Steps in a Typical Incident Process
      2. Tracking Incidents
      3. Taking Ownership of Incidents
    8. Chapter Review Activities
      1. Answer These Questions
    9. Answers and Explanations
      1. Define the Key Terms
      2. List the Words Inside Acronyms
      3. Create Mind Maps
      4. Define Other Terms
      5. Case Studies
  14. Chapter 2. Communication Skills
    1. Chapter Outline
    2. Objectives
    3. Key Terms
    4. Elements of Communication
      1. Verbal versus Non-Verbal Skills
      2. Effective Questioning Skills
      3. Active Listening Skills
      4. Methods to Improve Customer Interactions
    5. Recognizing Communication Barriers
      1. Filters
      2. Previous Contact
      3. Cultural Sensitivity
    6. Comparing Different Communication Methods
      1. In-Person
      2. Telephone
      3. Text-Only Communications
    7. Handling Difficult Situations
      1. Expect the Best
      2. Common Situations
      3. Handling Conflict
      4. Defusing Incidents
      5. When to Escalate
    8. Chapter Review Activities
      1. Answer These Questions
    9. Answers and Explanations
      1. Define the Key Terms
      2. List the Words Inside Acronyms
      3. Create Mind Maps
      4. Case Studies
  15. Chapter 3. Personal Skills
    1. Chapter Outline
    2. Objectives
    3. Key Terms
    4. Recognizing the Value of Attitude
      1. Positive Attitude
      2. Attitude versus Aptitude
      3. Service Attitude
      4. Problem Ownership
    5. Managing Stress
      1. Distress vs. Eustress
      2. Stress and Adrenaline
      3. General Adaptation Syndrome
      4. Effects of Distress
      5. Recognizing Burnout
      6. Identifying Stressors
      7. Managing Stress
    6. Managing Your Time
      1. Document, Document, Document
      2. Manage Priorities
      3. Give Yourself More Time
    7. Managing Your Career
      1. Career Paths
      2. Certifications
    8. Chapter Review Activities
      1. Answer These Questions
    9. Answers and Explanations
      1. Define the Key Terms
      2. Create Mind Maps
      3. Case Studies
  16. Chapter 4. Technical Skills
    1. Chapter Outline
    2. Objectives
    3. Key Terms
    4. Working with Personal Computers
      1. Reviewing PC Hardware
      2. Understanding Firmware
      3. Understanding PC Operating Systems
      4. Supporting Software Applications
    5. Working with Networks
      1. Introducing Protocols
      2. Understanding Common Network Components
    6. Working with Mobile Devices
      1. Comparing Operating Systems
      2. Comparing App Stores
      3. Configuring Email
      4. Implementing Security on Mobile Devices
      5. Comparing Landscape Modes to Portrait Modes
    7. Understanding the Product
      1. Getting Certified
      2. Continuous Learning
    8. Chapter Review Activities
      1. Answer These Questions
    9. Answers and Explanations
      1. Define the Key Terms
      2. List the Words Inside Acronyms
      3. Create Mind Maps
      4. Define Other Terms
      5. Case Studies
  17. Chapter 5. Security Skills
    1. Chapter Outline
    2. Objectives
    3. Key Terms
    4. Protecting IT Resources
      1. Introducing the Security Triad
      2. Protecting Confidentiality
      3. Protecting Integrity
      4. Protecting Availability
    5. Understanding Malware
      1. Replicating Malware
      2. Recognizing Malware Symptoms
      3. Protecting Against Malware
      4. Removing Malware
    6. Managing Risk
      1. Recognizing Threats
      2. Identifying Vulnerabilities
      3. Implementing Security Controls
    7. Chapter Review Activities
      1. Answer These Questions
    8. Answers and Explanations
      1. Define the Key Terms
      2. List the Words Inside Acronyms
      3. Create Mind Maps
      4. Define Other Terms
      5. Case Studies
  18. Chapter 6. Troubleshooting Skills
    1. Chapter Outline
    2. Objectives
    3. Key Terms
    4. Recognizing Key Troubleshooting Steps
      1. Identifying the Problem
      2. Establishing a Theory of Probable Cause
      3. Testing the Theory to Determine the Cause
      4. Establishing a Plan of Action to Resolve the Problem
      5. Implementing the Solution or Escalating if Necessary
      6. Verifying Full System Functionality
      7. Documenting Findings, Actions, and Outcomes
    5. Following Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
      1. Using Troubleshooting Guides
      2. Using Software to Solve Incidents
    6. Understanding Problem-Solving Skills
      1. Critical Thinking Skills
      2. Types of Thinking
      3. Making Decisions
    7. Chapter Review Activities
      1. Answer These Questions
    8. Answers and Explanations
      1. Define the Key Terms
      2. List the Words Inside Acronyms
      3. Create Mind Maps
      4. Case Studies
  19. Chapter 7. Writing Skills
    1. Chapter Outline
    2. Objectives
    3. Key Terms
    4. Comparing Writing Styles
      1. Comparing Active Writing to Passive Writing
      2. Using Short Sections
      3. Using Stories and Analogies
      4. Avoiding Absolutes
      5. Using Pronouns
    5. Understanding Technical Writing
      1. Knowing Your Audience
      2. Planning
      3. Following the Process
      4. Spelling Out Prerequisites
    6. Writing for Customers
      1. Following the 3-30-30 Rule
      2. Contributing to Web Pages
      3. Creating FAQs
      4. Writing Tutorials
      5. Contributing to Brochures
      6. Contributing to Newsletters
      7. Writing White Papers
      8. Writing Technical Manuals
    7. Writing for Internal Personnel
      1. Comparing Internal Documents to External Documents
      2. Using a Knowledge Base
      3. Documenting Incidents
    8. Chapter Review Activities
      1. Answer These Questions
    9. Answers and Explanations
      1. Define the Key Terms
      2. List the Words Inside Acronyms
      3. Create Mind Maps
      4. Case Studies
  20. Chapter 8. Training Skills
    1. Chapter Outline
    2. Objectives
    3. Key Terms
    4. Effective Training Skills
      1. Attitude
      2. Skills and Techniques
      3. Understanding Your Subject Matter
    5. Steps Involved in Training
      1. Understanding How People Learn
      2. Understanding Why Adults Learn
      3. Developing a Course
      4. Creating Training Materials
      5. Delivering the Training
    6. One-on-One Training vs. Group Training
      1. Training Computer Users
      2. Training Help Desk Personnel
    7. Chapter Review Activities
      1. Answer These Questions
    8. Answers and Explanations
      1. Define the Key Terms
      2. List the Words Inside Acronyms
      3. Create Mind Maps
      4. Define Other Terms
      5. Case Studies
  21. Chapter 9. Business Skills
    1. Chapter Outline
    2. Objectives
    3. Key Terms
    4. Reviewing Core Business Skills
      1. Communicating Effectively in the Business
      2. Writing Skills in the Business
      3. Understanding Presentation Skills in the Business
      4. Solving Problems in the Business
      5. Working with Customers
      6. Managing Projects in the Business
      7. Managing Conflict
      8. Maintaining Your Personal Appearance
    5. Shaping the Business
      1. Creating Vision Statements
      2. Creating Mission Statements
      3. Identifying Values
    6. Aligning the Business
      1. Governing IT
      2. Comparing a Cost Center to a Profit Center
    7. Understanding ITIL
      1. Defining an ITIL Service
      2. Tracking Services Through Their Lifecycle
      3. Understanding ITIL Certifications
      4. Understanding ITIL Is Not All or Nothing
      5. Understanding Service Level Agreements
      6. Using Good Practices
      7. Understanding the ITIL Service Desk
      8. Comparing ITIL to ITL
    8. Chapter Review Activities
      1. Answer These Questions
    9. Answers and Explanations
      1. Define the Key Terms
      2. List the Words Inside Acronyms
      3. Create Mind Maps
      4. Define Other Terms
      5. Case Studies
  22. Chapter 10. Calculating Help Desk Value
    1. Chapter Outline
    2. Objectives
    3. Key Terms
    4. Calculating Value with Performance Metrics
      1. Measuring the Performance of Your Help Desk
      2. Analyzing Trends
      3. Capturing Statistics with Computer Telephony Integration
      4. Comparing Intrinsic Motivation to Extrinsic Motivation
    5. Identifying Help Desk Costs
      1. Personnel Costs
      2. Hardware Costs
      3. Software Costs
      4. Facility Costs
      5. Overhead Costs
      6. Budgeting
      7. Calculating Cost per Ticket
    6. Creating a Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA)
      1. Comparing Tangibles and Intangibles
      2. An Example CBA
      3. Calculating Return on Investment (ROI)
    7. Chapter Review Activities
      1. Answer These Questions
    8. Answers and Explanations
      1. Define the Key Terms
      2. List the Words Inside Acronyms
      3. Create Mind Maps
      4. Define Other Terms
      5. Case Studies
  23. Appendix
  24. Glossary
  25. Index