Working for the service desk, it's not all about the hard knowledge. Agents can expect to be employing some soft skills when communicating with end-users and the rest of the organization.
But while service desk agent soft skills are often discussed, service manager soft skills can sometimes be overlooked. Managers need to deal not only with how to optimize their processes but how to help their team deliver the best service possible.
This topic is explored on the eighth episode of Ticket Volume, InvGate's podcast where our Product Specialist Matt Beran speaks with IT leaders to explore their views on service management, technology, and business. In episode eight, Matt speaks with Megan Engels, IT Support Manager for Peoples Bank.
Top 4 service desk managers soft skills
Here are a few of the key service desk managers soft skills to prioritize in order to bring their teams to the next level.
1. Content creation
When we think of "content creation," many of us might immediately think of the Marketing team. But actually, content creation may be one of the biggest and most overlooked parts of a service desk manager's workload. Whether it's through constant, systematic creation of knowledge base articles, or even a quick Loom video to demonstrate how something is done, content creation is a huge part of moving a Service Desk forward.
Not only does this content creation save time for the organization by creating an easily accessible reference point for agents and end-users, it also helps create a consistency in answers and overall messaging, which should be a priority for any help desk manager.
2. Change management
Change is, of course, a constant in the world of IT. Not only in terms of the types of issues that service desk agents will be tackling, but also in terms of the processes that are implemented in order to solve them.
It's true that change can (and often does) come with a series of complications, not the least of which is ensuring that your agents adjust to it. Identifying the resistance to change and working through it with the service desk employee is a crucial service desk manager soft skill, and constant part of what that role is all about. And this ties directly to...
3. User experience research
There really is no overstating the value of simply talking to people. By playing an active role in agents' day-to-day activities, and asking them about what they do and what they do it, service desk managers get a much more thorough and well-rounded understanding of what's going on in their processes. What's working, what isn't? What could be more user-friendly? What needs optimization?
4. Increase the agents' effectiveness
This goes hand-in-hand with the previous point. If there's a roadblock that's causing your agent to take an alternate route, or if something is causing a bottleneck effect, service desk managers are presented with the challenge to guide the user through the solution.
By taking a hands-on approach to this kind of problem-solving, you're building knowledge together. This will have a much longer lasting effect on your users and how they go about their day.
On this topic, Megan says:
"You can learn from just observing how they're working. And then I love a one-on-one, so I'll talk to them. And I'm always still being on calling people when they put in the ticket I'll be like, 'Oh, hey, do you got a second?'
(...) Have they just done it because they've always done it this way? Are they averse to change? And you can start talking that out. And I think, the thing, even with my staff is, you know, they're younger people. And they're just like, 'Well, I feel more comfortable just writing it back,' and lots of times that's okay. But sometimes you really do need to understand kind of the heart behind the hold-back, you know, what's going on."
Megan Engels is the IT Support Manager for Peoples Bank. She's an experienced IT leader concerned about making IT accessible for everyone. She has over 20 years of experience at Peoples Bank and almost 15 in IT.
You can play the full episode above to learn more. You can also find Ticket Volume on all podcast platforms.