Moving Up to Help Desk Manager
Unless you’re one of the rare, supremely content individuals who feel as though your job is all you’ll ever need, at some point, career advancement will be a concern. For the help desk professional, it might be helpful to consider the following skills, which might be necessary to successfully attain and perform in the role of manager.
“The key for a successful help desk manager is to be somebody that wants to be very process-oriented, has a good analytical base but is still very customer service-oriented because, at the end of the day, the most important thing is that you can understand your customer needs and deliver them in a business manner,” said Heather Brizzi, Bristol West Insurance Group support services manager.
While making those incremental steps up the career ladder Brizzi said it helps to have worked on a help desk so you can understand what the analysts are going through on a day-to-day basis.
Further, a reporting background or knowing how to run reports and for what types of metrics to look is important when determining whether help desk support services are delivering on expectations.
Then there are the softer skills to consider such as business acumen and how to build and retain customer relationships.
A lot of managers aren’t necessarily deeply technical in the help desk arena, Brizzi said, because technical aptitude, while obviously necessary to help build, grow and coach desk analysts, is not necessarily as important as having strong business and customer relationship skill sets.
“You need somebody who can wrap it all into a package,” Brizzi said. “My experience has been a training background. Then I moved into the help desk arena and from there, I moved from an analyst all the way up through management. That was an excellent base for me to be able to see it from all different aspects so I can best serve the customer at the end.”
While there is no surefire length of time that will ensure you’re completely equipped to assume a managerial role on the help desk, Brizzi said six months to a year is often ample time to understand the integration of various components of the role.
It might be better, however, to have experienced graduated levels of promotion through different help desk roles before taking on a supervisory or managerial position.
“If you are really passionate about people, process and can really grab onto change, you’re somebody who would do well in this role,” Brizzi said. “You are the beginning of change management in the support organization. You’re the one who’s got to push it forward, you’re the one who’s got to nurture it and grow it, and from the perspective of managing people, I think that you have a wonderful opportunity because so many people view the help desk as a stepping stone.
“You get to mentor and grow so many people who are going to be dispersed within your organization and other organizations. I think that’s a great responsibility, and that’s what I love most about my job.”