7 Essential Skills Technical Support Specialists Must Have

Technical Support Specialists

How much does a bad hire cost? Think about it for a while. The cost of a bad hire is probably more than you think. The U.S. Department of Labor says it’s 30percent of an employee’s first-year earnings. For a small business, that’s a hefty price to pay, so you want to get this effort right the first time.

But you have to be careful with technical support specialists. It’s easy to fall in love with someone with awesome technical skills—especially if you’re not a tech person yourself. After all, technical expertise and product knowledge are why customers or employees seek to go to a tech specialist.

But great technical support people need more than technical expertise to excel in this position. They need a balance of hard and soft skills and some good old fashion people skills. In other words, they also need a winning personality. Unfortunately, finding technical people with the right combination of these skills is hard.

Below are seven essential, non-technical skills you want in a support specialist. Use the list below to find a support specialist that’s a great fit for your organization.

1.      Desire to help employees/customers

This attitude is essential in a tech person. He or she must have a real desire to help people—whether it’s a customer or an employee. If the tech person sees the position as just a job, chances are good this person won’t give it his full effort. If he works with customers, he could cost you a customer or customers.

2.      A positive approach to solving problems

Providing support is challenging. You’re often catching people at bad times. So, you want a person that doesn’t take things personally. Instead, you want someone that can stay focused on the technical issue at hand. You also want a person that has a positive outlook, empathy for others, and doesn’t get upset when things get tough.

3.      Thinks about what’s good for the team

Good tech specialists are team players with a collaborative spirit. She knows when to ask for help, understands how much work she can take on at one time, and helps others out when the situation calls for it. She helps the team achieve its department’s goals. If another person gets pulled into a long call, she’ll cover for him or her.

4.      Passion for technology and your product

Good tech specialists champion the company’s product. They have a natural curiosity about it, love using it, enjoy talking about it, like tinkering with it, and are always trying to improve it. Above all, they understand the product inside and out. This passion for the product is infectious.

5.      Has great communication skills

Good tech specialists are good communicators. They take the time to listen and understand a person’s issues before responding, strive for transparency, communicate diplomatically, adapt their communication style to other person’s styles, and know-how to help others understand how the product works. In short, they’re natural-born teachers.

6.      Advocates for customers (within reason)

Tech specialists empathize with customers. They look to go above and beyond to solve a customer’s issue or issues. They look to help customers by doing things that have an impact globally, like updating your knowledge base, addressing a bug, or filing a request. And they look to prioritize their day, so they don’t get hung up on one activity.

7.      Is analytical and process-oriented

Support processes in businesses are critical. Good tech specialists know this. So, they don’t just follow processes, they also support and improve them. They use their troubleshooting skills to create change and gather data to dig down into the root cause of issues.  From the moment a ticket come across their desks, savvy tech specialists know how to ask the right questions.

Bad hires are costly.  So, you want to get it right the first time, especially when hiring technical support specialists. When doing that, look for candidates with superb technical skills, a winning personality, and a collaborative attitude.

You also want candidates that are team players, really want to help people, strive to provide epic customer service, and empathize with the person they’re helping.

Those traits aren’t easy to find in one person, but you shouldn’t stop looking until you do. That’s the best way to get it right. When it comes to hiring a technical support person, measure twice, cut once.