Working as a help desk support staff person isn’t the easiest job in the world. Users often come up with queries that could be daunting and difficult to solve. Sometimes even though the solution is relatively simple, a twisted question may throw you off guard, and figuring out how to help the user may take longer than you would have anticipated. In this post we will take a look at the top 10 help desk skills your staff need and you should look for when hiring for your help desk team.

If you run an organization of IT staff serving users, you may want to consider specialized software so your team can stay at the top of their game. The introduction of new technology like this often requires extensive training so that everyone is on the same page. There are however easy to use and effective software tools like Track-It which is easy to operate and easy to use, allowing you and your team to keep track of what’s going on without adding a great deal of complexity. You will also need to ensure your team is up to date and prepared to handle any questions a user may throw at them. 

1. Put the End User First

Working at a user service desk can be a thankless job. Most users who call up the help desk are frustrated, annoyed, or utterly confused. It’s rare that a user calls the help desk to thank them for the excellent job that they’ve done. When hiring your IT help desk personnel, you need to look for people that will be able to handle users regardless of how irrational or angry they may be.

An easy way to address the problem effectively is to envision yourself in the shoes of a user and try to understand their urgency. Every user will have a different way of dealing with the same problem, but when your help desk team is well trained, they will be capable of handling any query with ease.

2. Business Awareness

If you want your help desk personnel to be successful at what they do, they must have an understanding of the business, including information on the products and services that the company provides. If there is a new product or service launched, they need to be trained on it, and all available information needs to be available to them.

This is also where Track-It comes in handy because remembering all of this information can be difficult for a technician, especially when you have dozens or even hundreds of products or services. Having a documented library of possible resolutions the technician or even the end user can reference or search through not only makes the user experience better, but also helps reduce the workload of your IT staff considerably since they won’t have to reinvent the wheel on every call. Another positive side effect is your users will be happier since shorter calls mean less time on hold waiting for a technician and less time spent on the phone working through the issue. A 30 to 60 minute call may only take a few minutes if a knowledge management solution is within easy reach thanks to Track-It.


3. Be Empathetic

Empathy is a valuable skill for personnel working the IT help desk. The more compassion you show towards users, the easier it will be for you to handle a call. A tactful and empathetic IT help desk person will be able to manage even the most irate users and convert them into happy users by the time they hang up. 

Being empathetic involves having excellent listening skills. An IT professional should not be in a hurry to close out a call, but should wait calmly and listen to the entire problem that the user is facing. Some users let out a lot of frustration and may not even get to the core problem until they have let it all out. Being able to wait and listen to them calmly will give you a higher success rate. It will also help the user feel better. If speaking to the user on the phone or via video conference, acknowledging the user as they speak is also a great habit to get into. Acknowledging the end user as they describe what they are going through eliminates awkward silence during a conversation, confirms you are hearing what they are saying and helps calm the end user.

The interaction between a user and the technician should be a positive experience for the end user.  When you have software like Track-It to assist you, IT professionals will not have to ask as many questions, will have an accurate history of previous help desk interactions with that user and the technician will have a library of answers ready for any queries that the users may throw at them.

4. Analyze Effectively

A good IT help desk person should be able to analyze the end-user problem without wasting too much time. They should be able to quickly absorb information from the user and have enough knowledge of the systems they manage to be able to begin to quickly pinpoint the problem area or function to look into. A good help desk technician should also be able to decipher incomplete information from an end user in order to help determine the true root cause of the issue.. 

5. Work Well Under Pressure

Working on a help desk is no easy task. It can be stressful, especially when the call volume is high. Organizations need people that are good with multitasking and possess the ability to prioritize what’s most important. The staff should also have the technical knowledge, confidence and tact to handle various situations throughout the day. The life of a technician will involve a lot of ups and downs and can often involve high pressure situations when users are facing technical issues that hamper their ability to do their work which in turn could hamper your company from being able to properly serve your customers. 

6. Willingness to Learn

An essential skill that most organizations overlook is humility. If a technician is open to the idea of learning something new because they are not well versed with it, the better that technician will be down the road. Being able to accept constructive criticism from coworkers is something that will take them a long way and help them become an asset to any company. These staff members also tend to serve their users much better, which helps increase user satisfaction with your help desk. When a business has satisfied users it leads to satisfied customers. 

7. Patience

Looking at the dashboard when the call volume is high can stress out anyone. Being on a call with a user that is ranting unnecessary information can get tedious for even the most experienced employee. Even in the most pressing scenario, patience with the user will almost always lead to the best possible outcome. 

Interrupting a user while they are talking will cause them to become more upset and lead to an even worse experience for them and for the technician. It is best to let the user vent, tell them you understand their situation, you are sorry they are experiencing it and that you are going to do everything you can to help them. 

8. Team Player

Being a part of a help desk team often means you need to work together and collaborate with other technicians to solve problems. When you have new members joining the team, they may not be as well equipped in terms of their knowledge as compared to their seniors and this will require teamwork and training. The ability to lend a helping hand and assist other colleagues as well as not being afraid to ask for help are skills that will help the technician and their co-workers grow their skills and serve their users more effectively. Being a team player helps ease the pressure of the workload and leads to a more relaxed atmosphere and helpful atmosphere. 

9. Listening

It’s vital for IT support staff to pay attention to small details when they are on calls with users. While the user may project the issue to be one thing, this may only be a symptom of the actual root cause while the real problem is somewhere else. Listening carefully and really paying attention to what the user is saying will help a technician to fully understand the problem and lead to solving it much quicker. 

10. Time Management

While Track-It software can help you reduce the amount of time you spend on a call, the IT team members still need to be able to balance multiple calls and other tasks in order to effectively manage their workload. Track-It! can help by automating certain tasks like ticket assignment, prioritization, SLA monitoring, email notifications and provides the technician with a knowledgebase of possible solutions to help them find resolutions more quickly but the help desk staff also need to be good at balancing tasks in general. This will help cut down on wait times and resolution times, allowing technicians to serve more users and solve more problems each day. Poor time management will cause all sorts of productivity issues for any help desk. 


The above-mentioned top 10 help desk skills are some of the most important attributes of successful help desk technicians. Help desk technicians with these skills will help you build a supercharged team that delivers exceptional service to your users resulting in a more successful business overall. It is more important to have the right technicians with the right attitude and skills than it is to simply have more technicians. Having the right technicians backed by reliable help desk software like Track-It! eases the pressure on help desk staff and allows them to provide timely and effective solutions, which helps your end users and ultimately the entire organization.

Cris Coffey

Cris Coffey

Cris is the Principal Product Manager for Track-It! and BMC Client Management. Track-It! is a help desk software application designed for small to medium sized businesses and Client Management is an End Point Management software application designed for Medium to Large sized businesses.