Help desk is a challenging job.
It’s not the hours – for me, anyway. As a tier one tech I typically put in a pretty standard schedule, although our escalation technicians routinely put in on the high end of 50 hours every week. Most days I get to the office around 8 am. The lights are still off and the phones haven’t started ringing in earnest yet – that will come around 9 a.m. That’s when it gets interesting.
That’s when the calls start rolling in.
What makes help desk at Hilltop unlike any other job I’ve had is the calls. There is no predicting what’s coming up when the phone rings. On any typical day I might see issues ranging from someone being locked out of their email to a downed Exchange server to computer slowness caused by a sound driver generating a 175GB log file that filled up the hard drive (this happened, I have pictures). One call may be comprised of modifying distribution lists, the next you may be talking to a partner at a K street law firm about cloud storage. Every call is different and no two calls are the same.
It’s not just the technical side that’s dynamic, either. Every caller is different, with different needs, time requirements, and technical backgrounds. One caller might be a receptionist, the next caller a C-suite executive. Some clients are technically adept and could easily be technicians in their own right. Others are less experienced and convinced that they “can’t do computers” (which is tosh, everyone can do computers – I used to be an English teacher!). It’s a fine balancing act to adopt a level of technical language that is enough to communicate efficiently with the client, but not full of so much jargon that you sound like a NIST white paper. Where that sweet spot lies depends on the client, and it’s the technician’s job to determine what’s appropriate- and quickly.
Then there’s time. Technicians at Hilltop typically work in 30 minute blocks, and that includes phone calls. I typically spend about 20 minutes actively working an issue, with the rest of the time devoted to setting up the ticket, researching previous tickets, or escalating if necessary. There’s very little room for inefficiency, so it’s important to get the ticket created and start troubleshooting quickly – regardless of the issue. I’ve quickly learned to leave my comfort level at the door and dive right in, because even if I don’t know how to solve something, I can still lay the groundwork so the senior techs spend less time establishing the basics.
Help desk at Hilltop is challenging. It is also rewarding, both professionally and personally. Since I’ve joined the company my technical capabilities have skyrocketed- being exposed to so many different clients and environments has drastically increased my ability to think on my feet and quickly get to the bottom of an issue. The diversity of environments and issues I see every day means I’m never bored when someone calls, because no two calls are the same. On a personal level, I’m growing at Hilltop in unprecedented ways – the supervisors and senior techs regularly encourage me to take a crack at tough tickets, and are always willing to explain the intricacies of a particular issue or client. That’s pretty special, and also pretty rare in IT. If you’d like to hear more, give me a call! I’d be happy to chat.