People are the foundation of any support organization, as a matter of fact, fair or unfair, the help desk is the face of the entire IT department. In a recent survey by MetricNet, of global large-cap companies, 84% of respondents said that the help desk was a very important factor in determining their overall satisfaction with the entire IT department.
When staffing a help desk many would think to hire the most technical people, however, the most technical people are not always the most social; and the help desk is about personal service. Our company, Global Help Desk Services Inc. (GHDSi), has learned over our 16 years of delivering high-quality help desk services, that hiring employees with emotional maturity, or EQ, versus their technical ability, or IQ, lead to more successful agents by factor of 4:1.
In his book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, Daniel Goleman defines EQ as the ability to understand, use, and manage emotions in oneself and others. And unlike IQ, EQ can be taught and learned. Those with High EQs tend to have five qualities or competencies in common:
- Self-regulation: The ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods, and the propensity to suspend judgement and to think before acting. Hallmarks included trustworthiness and integrity; comfort and ambiguity; and openness to change.
- Internal motiviation: A passion to work for internal reasons that go beyond money and status - which are external rewards, - such as an innver vision of what is important in life, a joy in doing something, curiosity in learning, a flow that comes with being immersed in an activity. A propensity to pursue goals with energy and persistence. Hallmarks include a strong drive to achieve, optimism even in the face of failure, and organizational commitment.
- Empathy: The ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people. A skill in treating people according to their emotional reactions. Hallmarks include expertise in building and retaining talent, cross-cultural sensitivity, and service to clients and customers. (in an educational context, empathy is often thought to include, or lead to, sympathy, which implies concern, or care or a wish to soften negative emotions or experiences in others.) See also Mirror Neurons. It is important to note that empathy does not necessarily imply compassion. Empathy can be 'used' for compassionate or cruel behavior. Serial killers who marry and kill many partners in a row tend to have great emphatic skills!
- Social skills: Proficiency in managing relationships and building networks, and an ability to find common ground and build rapport. Hallmarks of social skills include effectiveness in leading change, persuasiveness, and expertise building and leading teams.
The more of the qualities a person possesses, and the more they use them, the higher EQ they typically have.
At GHDSi we hire people who can understand problems as well as solve them. Giving our customers a great experience when they call our help desk. Our company culture is one of integrity, honesty, a spirit of excellence, and customer service. Our mission is to provide a distinctly pleasant, efficient, and consistent help desk experience by applying the best in people, process, and technology.
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