IT Support refers to technical services which entities offer to end users of different technology products or services. In simple terms, IT support simply provides help to users regarding particular technical issues with a particular product or service, instead of offering customized support, modification or training of the product. While this is not a complex or sophisticated concept, in a practical environment, IT support is often delivered by means of a company’s IT support service provider or an independent IT specialist. The IT support service provider is typically a professional who works on contract as an independent IT specialist.
It’s a fact that not every IT specialist is proficient with every piece of software applications. Many IT support service providers actually work on an in-depth software analysis of a client’s system and then creates customized solutions based on these findings. On the other hand, some IT specialists simply perform basic troubleshooting on a system. A typical IT specialist’s job may involve testing software applications such as Windows and analyzing hardware components such as motherboards, processors and hard drives.
When a customer calls on IT support services, he is usually asking questions about a particular software program. For example, he may be wondering what type of anti virus software he should get for his computer, whether he should get a Microsoft operating system, or what type of graphics software to use. The IT specialist’s goal is to assess the needs of the customer and then develop an appropriate solution for him based on the customer’s requirements. IT support service providers normally have comprehensive knowledge and expertise in a number of computer hardware platforms such as Windows, Mac OS, Linux and other operating systems. They also have a broad knowledge of specialized software applications, including database management systems, web servers and networks and software vendors such as Microsoft, Cisco, Red Hat, Sun and others.
Since IT technical support specialists must work closely with end users, it is important that they possess a broad understanding of how end users manipulate and utilize computer hardware and software programs. As part of their training, they should be given a detailed citation needed form every specific piece of hardware or software that they will work on. For instance, if a person called up requesting information on a router, he would fill out a form requesting the name and address of the IT specialist to whom the router should be directed.
IT support specialists should also be able to apply their knowledge and skills to real life situations. For instance, if a person called up asking about buying a new laptop, an IT specialist should know the best brands, specifications and features to look out for when making a decision. In addition, he should be capable of explaining to the customer how to troubleshoot hardware issues such as a slow computer, error messages and random shut downs using different software applications.
IT support specialists must also have an excellent level of communication skill. It is necessary for him to be able to effectively listen to and address customers’ concerns. In order to do so, he needs to understand both the positive and negative comments that come through telephone lines. In addition, he needs to be able to provide informed suggestions to help the customer resolve his computer problems. This means he should be familiar with computer software applications, including the functions of the task bar, desktop, and window menu, as well as the structure and location of the computer’s desktop icons.
IT technical support professionals need to be highly organized. They need to be detail oriented and able to organize equipment by type, model, manufacturer, port configuration, serial number or model number, manufacturer’s part number, and licensing information into a file format that can be opened by other computer software applications. They must also be able to store this file in a dedicated folder for future referencing.
IT technical support professionals are exposed to a number of challenges on a daily basis. Because they spend a great deal of time working with computer systems, they frequently come in contact with a wide variety of equipment, software, devices, and other people. These individuals must be comfortable handling a wide variety of people and situations. In order to perform their job duties satisfactorily, it is essential that they possess excellent verbal communication skills. IT technical support professionals need to be proficient at identifying and isolating computer software and hardware faults, understanding networking technologies and operating systems, following specific instructions, documenting procedures, and following up with customers to follow up on issues. Above all, IT technical support personnel must have a genuine desire to improve the quality of services provided to customers.