Voices for Support Center

Job #246

Job Posting Details

Job # 246 Voices for Support Center

Posted Date
Mar 19, 2005 @ 12:30
Respond By
Apr 15, 2005
Word Count
Age Range

Job Description

As use of Information Technology in business has grown, the volume and complexity of support calls has generated a need for a specialist group to handle these calls. More and more companies are meeting this need by setting up Support Centers. A Support Center is a single point of contact for providing solution-oriented support services.
At the end of this lesson, you will be able to:
· Identify the evolution of Support Center.
· Identify the different types of Support Centers
· Identify the roles and responsibilities of the
Support Center.
· Identify the roles and responsibilities of a Help
Desk Analyst.

Evolution of the Support Center
At the end of this topic, you will be able to identify various phases in the evolution of the Support Center.

Ever since computers have been used in business, there has been a need for user support. Providing support to the user goes under various names, such as:
? Help Desk
? Technical Support
? Information Center
? Support CenterThe names may or may not indicate the
different types of support services provided by

Origin of the Support Center
The origin of the Support Center dates back to the early 70s when mounting technical problems resulted in ‘technical staff’ stepping in to handle the growing number of customer calls. The technical staff not only helped resolve problems but also addressed requests for information and advice.However, these ‘technical experts’ felt that such tasks were distracting their focus from the main objective.To release expensive technical experts from what they often saw as a demeaning role, other staff were brought in. This led to the emergence of the early Help Desks.
Early Help Desks
The early Help Desks however were frequently less than ideal. Some drawbacks of the early Help Desks were:
? Staff was assigned based on availability, and not
? The infrastructure was minimal. Often Help Desk
staff was confined to a ‘dungeon-like’ room with
poor lighting and high noise levels.
? The tools amounted to little more than a multi-line
telephone, and all processes were manually
? There were no call tracking or problem management
systems in place. The customer complaints were
written on slips of paper and forwarded to the
technical staff to solve.
Present-day Support Centers
Attempts to remove the drawbacks of early Help Desks resulted in the evolution of the present-day Support Center industry. Today’s Support Center is more customer focused than ever before. It aims to deliver support in a professional, timely and cost-effective manner. The characteristics of present-day Support Centers are:
? Staff is recruited for customer-handling skills and
technical knowledge.
? Proper infrastructure and the latest tools help the
support analysts to function effectively.
? Support staff is trained in customer-handling
skills and have sufficient technical knowledge
prior to taking live calls.
? The role, the responsibilities and the objectives
of the Support Center are clearly defined.TIP TipIn the USA in 2000 about 734,000 people worked
as computer support specialists and systems
administrators.Of these, 506,000 were computer
support specialists and 229,000 were network and
computer systems administrators.(Source: U.S.
Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2002-03 Edition)
These four points will come as click areas on this
graphic. Showing all four characteristics of the
present Support Centers.Show a present day Help
Desk Analyst on her seat. The area is properly
lighted, there is a computer machine, the analyst has a hands free mike and headphones, and she is smiling and answering the call.Analyst: Good morning this is Margaret, how may I help you ?(No audio required for this dialogue)

Phases in the Evolution of the Support Center

Present day Support Centers have moved on from manual systems to using the latest technologies. Some such systems are:
· Phone based systems (voice and fax)
· Automated call logging and tracking systems
· Internet and Web-based systems
· Instant messaging
· CRM – Customer Relationship Management
· Universal queue and universal agent
· E-mail
· Customer self help/self service

Moving On
Support Centers have evolved over the years. Most organizations today have a Support Center as one of the departments through which they are able to provide quick and consistent support services to their customers, whether they are internal or external. There are various types of Support Centers that may or may not work in shifts, or in different kinds of shifts. You shall learn about this in the next topic.

Topic 3: Types of Support Centers
Objective: At the end of this topic, you will be able to identify the different types of Support Centers.

Types of Support Centers

Different organizations have different types of Support Centers. The kind of Support Center an organization has depends on the kind of services it provides and to whom it provides these services. For example, a Support Center that provides highly technical service is termed as a technical Support Center.

Types of Support Centers
The type of Support Center an organization has depends on the:
· Size of the organization
· Need for having a Support Center
· Nature of its business.

Types of Support Centers
Support Centers can be of different types, such as:
· Internal Support Center
· External Support Center
· Non-technical
· Skilled
· Expert or Technical

· Internal Support Center: This provides services only to users within an organization.
· External Support Center: This provides services to users who are the customers of that organization. Usually, such Support Centers provide support services in the form of after sales service.
· Non-technical: A non-technical Support Center would only receive calls and perform minimal query resolution. Such Support Centers are sometimes called ‘log and go’ Support Centers, but are now generally in a decline.· Skilled: A skilled Support Center performs a large percentage of technical query resolutions that are within its capacity.
· Expert or Technical: An expert technical Support Center is expected to resolve all issues that are reported to it. It is more skilled and is regarded as the expert.
Types of Support Centers
A Support Center performs various activities to resolve customer issues. Depending upon the nature of work and the staff, a Support Center can also fall into one or more of the following categories:
· Problem management and resolution
· Request management
· Relationship management
· Front-line
· 2+ staff
These are not types of Support Centers, but activities that a Support Center typically performs.

· Problem management and resolution – Technical expert Support Centers perform this activity best. However, other less technical Support Centers may also deal with the aspects of roblem anagement.
· Request management – The Support Center will be expected to provide effective request management, no matter what type of Support Center they may be. Effective request management ensures that no requests or queries go unanswered, or get lost or forgotten about
· Relationship management – All Support Center staff need to be skilled in the effective and successful management of relationships, both with customers and other support teams and colleagues· Front-line –The Support Center is the ‘front line’ of IT support, the single point of contact on a day to day basis· 2+ staff A Support Center can be staffed with 2 or more Analysts. There is no specific number of personnel required to perform the role of a Support Center. It is dependent upon the size of the customer base they are supporting, and the budget allocated to them.


Note from IV: Please include a brief recording of the script provided and quote for this script from ITpreneurs, a returning client.

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