IT Help Desk Jobs: Solving Support Desk Scenarios

By Tyler Regas

One of the best ways to become better at your IT help desk job is to imagine all of the various scenarios that may arise and try to figure out how to help different types of users in those scenarios. How would you triage the problems? How would you allocate resources? How would you approach the users? It’s actually quite fun to work out different schemes, and the more you use this tool, the better you’ll get.

Here are a few scenarios to get you started:

  • Standard desktop installations: This scenario is the most common and straightforward. These users have a static, desktop machine, and everything is clearly documented.

  • New user account creations: New employees in an organization often have specific operational questions, such as what software to use for a specified task or help with email.

  • Returning users: These users can be a special case, depending on company policies regarding data retention.

  • Travelling users: In most cases, these users will be able to get on the Internet so that you can initiate a remote session. Travel adds a layer of additional stress, so keep that issue in mind.

  • Travelling users in very remote location: Very remote locations can cause connectivity issues, so prepare users for possible disconnection.

  • Travelling users with no Internet access: IT help will have to be done entirely over the phone, so be prepared to step through everything in detail. Make sure to walk through the steps on your own system or a virtual machine, which helps you visualize what you are walking them through.

  • Visiting VIPs: Treat with kid gloves. Seriously. With in‐house VIPs, you can establish a rapport. You cannot with visiting VIPs. Don’t even try.

  • VIP users in general: Take good care of them and reduce or limit their need to interact to get a solution.

  • Visiting presenters: These people often ask for extra bits and services, which you may or may not have or offer. Be careful, though. If they are from a partner of your company, treat them like visiting VIPs.

  • B.Y.O.D.s or Bring Your Own Devices: Many companies have BYOD policies or just don’t bother to care that employees use their own devices for work. BlackBerry, Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone all support some form of enterprise management, but you may still have to limit what you will support. It’s also critical to pay attention to possible security issues.

  • Standard server: Most server administration is handled remotely because it’s far easier than plugging in a crash cart to each physical machine. For a server room, a crash cart is a media cart with a monitor, keyboard, and mouse on it that you can push around and connect to any server you need to access.

  • Custom services: Sometimes users will call seeking support for a third-party service that is not generally supported. Most companies have some form of policy to control support resources allocated for such occasions, but most of the time, if you can help them, you probably should.

  • Anything else: Create your own scenarios. It’s fun! Just take care to always pay attention to what’s going on around you so that you can help identify what could help you in the future.