29 March 2022

IT Helpdesk Interview: five questions you’ve always wanted to ask

IT Helpdesk Interview:  five questions you’ve always wanted to ask

Quality IT support relies on a dedicated team of experts taking on problems and developing solutions. But sometimes, users don’t know when or how to use these passionate professionals’ expertise.

As a managed IT service provider, IT helpdesks often forms a big part of the solutions we provide to our clients. Essentially, it’s our job to help ensure that your IT environment works as you want it to.

Part of that process is to troubleshoot issues raised by our clients – from everyday issues with simple fixes (“have you turned it off and on again?”) to reviewing entire IT environments.

But it all starts the same way – someone, somewhere, faces an issue and logs a ticket.

To help out, we interviewed our internal IT team about their work – the challenges they face, the problems they solve, and the advice they’d like to share with the people they support.

Q: When should I log a ticket with IT support?

Log a ticket anytime there’s something IT-related that interferes with your work. If you can fix it yourself, please go ahead, but if it keeps happening, please log a ticket. That way, we know there’s an issue and can start tracking its root cause.

Q: How can I log an IT support ticket?

It depends on the issue and on who is providing your IT support. Generally speaking, phone calls are for anything that’s time-sensitive – urgent matters that are stopping work from taking place. They may affect a wide range of people or stop a report or presentation from taking place.

A ticketing portal or app is ideal for most other issues. These solutions can walk users through the various criteria IT support needs to start working on your case. At First Focus, our F-Connect portal also lets you rank your issue’s severity.

If, for some reason, you are unable to make a call or access your portal, email is a great way to get the ball rolling. Emails also work well if you can’t find a topic in your submission portal that matches your issue.

Q: What do I include in my IT support ticket?

First, the obvious stuff – your name and contact details. People sometimes forget these important details. Otherwise, it helps IT support to include as much relevant information as you can. Mention the programs and apps you were using. Explain what you were trying to do and what outcome you experienced. Include the time and date, and mention if this has happened before. If it’s happened to colleagues before, include that as well so support can investigate any underlying issues.

Attach screenshots of the relevant actions and outcomes so that your support team can try to replicate the behaviour when searching for a fix.

Don’t be afraid to put pertinent details into a ticket. IT support will have to call you to check for more information if you don’t include it. That action delays any resolution they may be able to provide, which can impact your productivity.

Q: How does IT support triage incoming tickets?

When triaging incoming support tickets, the factors involved depend primarily on the IT support provider and their agreement with the client.

Most IT support services agree that including some indication of urgency in your ticket is a good idea, as it removes a lot of guesswork from assigning a priority to the ticket.

Tickets are generally ranked according to two factors – impact and urgency.

Impact is a question of volume. How many people are affected? Is the issue limited to a single laptop, or is the entire office experiencing the same problem?

Urgency is a question of risk. Are team members able to work around the issue? Is the problem intermittent, regular or persistent? How much is this issue affecting operations? What level of operations is interrupted? Is sensitive data in danger?

Most IT support providers will rank incoming tickets using a threat matrix of these two factors – the rankings produced by this matrix determine the priority of the issue.

Q: When should I check up on the progress of my IT support ticket?

This question is a contentious one. But the consensus seems to be “when you think of it”.

Many IT support providers will include tracking in their portal or client communications, so the ticket owner can see the progress of their issue without needing to follow it up in person. But if something changes, or you feel that a problem is not being worked on to your satisfaction, get in touch! This action is vital if you have new information or experiences that can help shed light on the underlying cause of the issue.

Q: What else would you like people to know about logging IT support tickets?

SSPR – refers to a self-service password reset portal that lets users change their password without logging a ticket. These portals are usually available through any standard internet connection – so you don’t have to be logged in to a private network to make it happen.

Try to be available – if you’re in a position where you need to log a ticket, try to ensure that IT support can contact you. The team might have to ask for more information or need to inform you of a resolution. Set your mobile to accept calls from unknown numbers, turn notifications on, and make sure you check your email regularly.

Aim for clarity – IT support teams work hard to ensure that any issues you raise are dealt with quickly and efficiently. When providing information on a problem, include clear and concise details. Don’t take a shortcut by leaving out details like urgency, impact, or user information.

Replication – in some cases, your IT support team will try to replicate the issue you are experiencing in a sandboxed IT environment that mimics your circumstances. If you know that other people are experiencing the situation, then letting IT support know will help them link details that may identify an underlying issue.

Getting the most out of your IT support

The quality of your IT support depends entirely on the people you task with helping your teams navigate the technologies they use as part of their daily tasks.

At First Focus, we only work with the best in the business.

Our promise is:

  • Best people
  • Expert advice
  • Fast response
  • Zero risk

And a quality IT support team is central to this premium promise.