Do Strong Techs = Good Help Desk or Onsite Resources?

We’ve occasionally struggled with this issue at our company.


We find a smart-as-a-whip IT tech eager to work on our Help Desk or in Onsite Client Support. He or she seems to have all the necessary IT skills, aptitude and instincts and we’re blown away in the interview. But as we dig deeper, or even put them on duty in a monitored, probationary setting, we see that their other, softer skills are lacking…things like problem-solving, customer relations, patience, and the ability to relate to a client’s business environment.


They know their stuff and they can solve an IT problem for sure. But have they been able to explain the issue well to our client? Educate them about the matter so maybe it won’t slow them down next time? Left them with a good feeling about this online help session?


An IT managed service provider Help Desk tech is more than a problems solver. He or she is an extension of the client’s team. Interactions must be professional and pleasant and the client needs to feel better informed after the session than before. With each encounter, whether with the small- to midsize company owner or his or her administrative assistant, that person should move on with a little more knowledge about, and comfort with, their system, software, or network. And we want them to feel welcome to reach out to that tech again before little problems get big or affect productivity.


Over time, we’ve developed a two-step screening approach for vetting potential Help Desk and onsite IT technicians. First, it’s about the skills. Hands-down, the person needs to be comfortable with the state of the art in networks, devices, software, and Cloud solutions. But we’ve found that you can’t really have the IT skills our small-to midsize company clients need without having lived in that business world—either employed or with experience as a contracted support person.


Second, it’s the soft skills. Techs are teachers, coaches, consultants, and sometimes hand holders. They must be prepared to deal with people of all levels of proficiency…including people who are not as proficient as they think they are. They’ll be dealing with people sometimes at their worst—stressed, frustrated, and defensive, for example. Through it all, the focus on listening, education, and patience must shine through.


When we find a team member who can put those hard and soft skills together, we have an awesome resource to share with our clients. And we’re sure to nurture those techs, providing them continuing education and accreditation opportunities.


What’s the answer to the question in the headline? “No.” Good techs do not always make a good IT managed service provider resource. Strong technical skills are just the first requirement.


Need help managing your day to day technical challenges, moving your company ahead with technology, or making recommendations to improve your existing IT infrastructure? We can take the stress out of this by providing the right (good) resources that are needed for you.


Ron Bauer
Vice President, COO
Analytics Computer Information Systems, Inc.