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Key Skills for User Support Jobs
What is a User Support Specialist?
A user support specialist is a front-line employee who deals with customers when they encounter problems with a product or service.
User support services are required to help consumers resolve their issues, either via telephone, email, online chat or in person.
A user support specialist may also provide services relating to the use of computer software and hardware, including installation, word processing, printing, electronic mail, or help with operating systems
Large or medium-sized organizations who provide products or services usually hire their own in-house technical support staff. However smaller companies and private individuals often rely on outsourcing their IT support to specialist organizations.
The Job Outlook and Market Demand
According to US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for user support jobs will increase up to 22% in 2020. The same report also states that the health industry in particular will experience strong demand for user support specialists over the next decade.
Employment opportunities in the IT support specialists sector is projected to increase by 8% from 2019 to 2029, growing more rapidly than the average for all other occupations. IT support specialists will be much in demand as governments and organizations move towards computer-based information systems and cloud computing.
There is therefore great potential for an exciting and rewarding career in this field. If you are interested in a career as a user support specialist, we can guide you through the essential skills that will both help you find your first job and then allow you to climb that career ladder.
1. Technical Skills
Above all you need to have in-depth technical knowledge of how to operate and troubleshoot the relevant computer, software, or other electronics. These technical skills require training and experience to master. They are also typically a type of hard skill.
Whether it’s a software application, hardware or a service that you are dealing with, organizations usually provide in-depth training and guidance on the technical aspects before you start dealing with consumer issues. These training sessions are very important and have the potential to make or break your career. So, you need to have technical skills and knowledge in the right field to be able to move forward in a user support career.
It is essential for IT support specialists to cover procedures that are intended to maintain failsafe IT infrastructure and reduce costs. To be a professional user support specialist, it is important to not just understand the systems that you work with but also to have an in-depth knowledge of new developments in related devices and software.
2. Communication Skills
Effective communication is more than just exchanging information, it’s about understanding the emotion and intentions behind the information. As well as being able to clearly convey a message, you need to also listen in a way that gleans the full meaning of what is being said and makes the other person feel heard and understood.
Clients you interact with will not have technical knowledge of the product or service your organization offers. To deal with consumer issues, you therefore need to know how to demonstrate a technical solution in a way that is easy for a customer to understand and implement. You need to be fluent during customer interactions as communication needs to be short, to the point, and easy to understand. Being able to understand and adapt to different accents is also very important as the consumers you deal with may be from different regions and backgrounds. Don’t try to end communication until the customer is satisfied and the problem is resolved.
3. Time Management Skills
Time management skills are key to your success in any organization. You need to listen to consumer’s problems and briefly explain the solution. But while this is your main job, it is not your only job. To keep growing in an organization, you need to solve the maximum number of problems and deal with the highest number of consumers every day compared to any of your colleagues.
To achieve this, you need to be organized before attending any call or dealing with consumer in person. There will be well known faults that consumers face and so you need to develop time saving solutions for these type of problems. Doing so will help you save lots of time and allow you to deal with the maximum number of customers.
These elements will also help you achieve your daily goals:
- Identify and create solutions to frequent problems that users encounter;
- Reduce Interruptions and distractions;
4. A Positive Attitude
The ability to establish a good working relationship with clients quickly is very important. If you interact with clients with a positive attitude, they will be more likely to explain their issue in a way that is easy for you to understand and respond to in a short time.
Organizations seek employees with good personal skills because they are better able to effect positive outcomes for their companies. These employees are typically more reliable, complete tasks successfully and meet deadlines. In addition, such people are motivated and passionate about their work, which contributes to their success.
The benefits of a positive mindset are not just limited to a one time interaction. If a consumer experiences excellent after sale services, he or she will be more likely to leave good reviews for you and recommend your product or service to relatives, colleagues and friends.
Here are some ways to help you maintain a positive attitude:
- Spend time with positive people;
- Control your language;
- Start every day on a positive note;
- Open yourself up to humor;
Further Reading from Skills You Need
Develop your interpersonal skills with our series of eBooks. Learn about and improve your communication skills, tackle conflict resolution, mediate in difficult situations, and develop your emotional intelligence.
The Qualifications Required for User support Jobs
The qualification requirements for user support jobs vary with different organizations’ recruitment policies. It is possible to find organizations who accept candidates without degrees if they can do the work.
And while some employers demand degrees, they may not necessarily care about the type of degree as long as you meet their requirements.
Having a college degree will help you to standout, especially if your degree is related to IT, but it’s not only thing which is going to get you a job as some organizations prefer skills over degrees. If your knowledge and experience are better than a candidate with a degree, you’ll be more likely to get a job as selection criteria can differ from organization to organization.
About the Author
Hassan Khan is SEO Content Writer for SAA Marketing.