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1st Line Support Advice

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by Mr.Cheeks, Feb 21, 2007.

  1. Mr.Cheeks

    Mr.Cheeks 1st ever Gold Member! Gold Member

    Had a couple of weeks training, and just typing up my notes...

    Hopefully, these should be helpful for those already in 1st line or hoping to get their leg in...


    SLA - Service Level Agreement

    This is an agreement with the parties involved - generally <helpdesk company> and <customer>. These depends on what priority the call is. Again, these are agreed before hand.

    Generally there are 5 types of priority (depending on size of problem)
    5 - single user / pw reset
    4 - 2 > 10 users
    3 - 11 > 100 users
    2 - 101 > 500 users
    1 - 500+

    If the priority is low, the longer the call can be taken to be resolved (except password reset)


    user cannot open MS Word.

    This is not business critical therefore, the service desk should have a reasonable amount of time to resolve this issue normally x amount of days.

    The Exchange Service has crashed and is affecting 500 users.

    This of course is urgent, and should be dealt within x amount of hours

    Tiers - Line Supports

    Depending on your company, there may be 2 tiers, or even 4, perhaps 6? Below are what tiers may be doing...

    Tier 1
    Basic fixes, password resets, printer issues, updates etc

    Tier 2
    support Tier 1 and deal with calls that Tier 2 cannot resolve, either due to permission rights (i.e. admin rights) or just requiring assistance

    Tier 3
    Supporting Tier 2 - dealing with high priority calls, server upgrades etc...

    You get the point, higher the Tier, harder the task...


    I was thinking about this, and it could be applied anywhere really.

    Every good tech in the field should always document their problems, fixes etc... I learn't this some time ago and have my trusty notebook where ever i go to scribble notes, and fixes, incase i come across them again...


    These are statements that include, hardware details like model and make numbers, software used, inc version numbers, items that are unique

    What os are the user on?

    What software are they using (Excel, Word)?


    Something is happening to indicate something is errr wrong!

    User cannot access blob.doc - Error message "Access is denied!"

    User cannot open MS Word - Error message "Illegal operation.."


    What has the user done since it was last working

    User cannot print document orer.doc, but was able to print yesterday

    User accidentally deleted her printer <--- CHANGE


    What fixes have you done?

    Basically what the solution is and any additional steps you taken


    Added the printer in Start > Printer and Faxes.

    ...and last but not Least

    Customer Care

    Customer Care is not just vital in 1st line, its vital for every type of business out there...

    If you cant satisfy your customers, then they'll go else where! common sense really huh!

    First Impressions
    Vital - you have to impress your customer <end user> or if you have an interview to go to, then its the same principle - you have to impress your interviewer. I'm sure that they wont be impressed if you constantly talking slang to your interviewers!

    Tone of your Voice
    You probably wont realise how fast or slow you speak, but the end user does.

    If you think speak fast, then try and slow down (but not to a crawl) and vis-a-ver-sa.

    Something i struggle with, background noise on both sides, dodgy phone line, and other factors can all cause problems...

    If you are totally unsure of what the end user said, then ask them to repeat, if you are sure but not 100% sure, then confirm the message back to them.

    Be Confident
    If your nervous, then will make them nervous, also will show that you are not confident, therefore, the user may not trust your judgment.

    Remember they are calling you for support! You're the one with the know-hoW!

    and finally

    Please, Thank You, Your Welcome blah blah blah....
    Treat others how you want to be treated yourself <or whatever that saying is!>


    I could of went into more depth but never wanted to make an essay, just something brief...

    Hopefully this should be useful to some people, maybe not, who knows???
  2. mondos

    mondos Kilobyte Poster

    It's given me a bit more of an insight into the type of work I'm looking for as I don't have any experience in any IT roll as yet.I'm still studying though and that first job in IT is only round the corner I'm sure .
    It's very informative for the uninitiated like myself, nice one.
    Certifications: A+
    WIP: N+, MCDST and finding a job!
  3. Raffaz

    Raffaz Kebab Lover Gold Member

    Nice post, this is covered in the MCDST books aswell :)
    Certifications: A+, MCP, MCDST, AutoCAD
    WIP: Rennovating my house
  4. Kraven

    Kraven Kilobyte Poster

    I know everyone says this is the best way to get your foot in the door of the IT industry. But I really don't want to be working at a call centre, I hate speaking to people on phones and I find it hard to instruct someone how to do something while on a phone. I'd rather be next to them or be able to do it myself.

    Certifications: Network+, MCSA, 70-680
    WIP: A+, 70-685
  5. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    There are entry-level desktop support positions available in many small-to-mid-sized companies (although some still require some phone work for remote locations).
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  6. Kraven

    Kraven Kilobyte Poster

    Yeah that would be ideal.

    Certifications: Network+, MCSA, 70-680
    WIP: A+, 70-685
  7. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

    Just being pedantic as usual Cheeks but *Printers and Faxes* is not a program as such, hence it is found in Control Panel or (depending on the start menu setup) *Start > Printers and Faxes*.

    Otherwise an excellent bit of insight mate! 8)
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
    Honorary Member

    UCHEEKYMONKEY R.I.P - gone but never forgotten. Gold Member

    There's one thing missing off the list!

    Don't talk Technical Jargon to the customer, use clear but concise english to get the message across.

    What type of software does the help desk use?

    At Work they use Sunrise.

    Caller rings in, call is logged date and time. then broken down into the following levels.

    Type of problem Hardware, software or Network.
    Description of the problem, Callers name, dept. contact No. and the most important bit - urgency

    Level 1 :- Critical Immediate response within the hour
    Level 2 :- Urgent response within 3 hours
    Level 3 :- High response within 1 day
    Level 4 :- Medium response 1 -3 days
    Level 5 :- Low response 5 days
    Level 6 :- When Convient
    Level 7 :- Pending

    Hopefully this will give some insight to people entering 1st line support but what about everyone else?

    Are you in 1st line support if so what software or information do you use when a customer calls??
    Certifications: Comptia A+
    WIP: Comptia N+
  9. Mr.Cheeks

    Mr.Cheeks 1st ever Gold Member! Gold Member

    @ Kraven - the vast majority of service centres would have some type of remote util to connect to the pc... i admit at times, usres are a pain, however, all you need is their computer name, and that is, once your in, they can re-create the error and you can simply fix it, or do whatever you have to do with the least interaction with the end user, which is what i do...

    UCM - we are using Remedy Solution EARS, which is intergrated with another system... Sunrise (what i used in my previous role) is a piece of piss compared to this tool. we have a lot more detail to cover... more likely due to the volumes of calls we recieve and of course managers stats and KPI's...
  10. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

    You generally have to troubleshoot over the phone to some extent when supporting a network and end users. If a user phones up and cant connect from home then its a case of getting them to check connections etc. Fun and games! :biggrin
    Certifications: MSc MCSE MCSA:M MCSA:S MCITP:EA MCTS(x5) Security+ Network+ A+
    WIP: Office 365, Server 2016, CEH
  11. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

    True, it's the same for any service type industry, there is always a lot of phone support, for a starters someone ring you up for advice because they might be able to fix it themselves with your help - it's only when you have esablished that you need to get involved that the call gets esculated. I am a one man band and I have to take the calls, which is very much like being on a help desk.

    Oh and as I state on my site, they get free phone support - and they cane it :)
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  12. wizard

    wizard Petabyte Poster


    I hate talking on the phone, but I have to do it otherwise I have no job. Not working on an IT helpdesk at the moment, but on another kind of helpdesk. I like every other aspect of the job I'm doing apart from what my agency are paying me is rubbish.
    Certifications: SIA DS Licence
    WIP: A+ 2009
    Honorary Member

    UCHEEKYMONKEY R.I.P - gone but never forgotten. Gold Member


    What is your response time to fix the problem?

    Also can you fix the problem using Remote Desktop Connection?
    Certifications: Comptia A+
    WIP: Comptia N+
  14. Mr.Cheeks

    Mr.Cheeks 1st ever Gold Member! Gold Member

    response time varies depending on type of problem / solution... i always remote onto their machine, as its alot more quickier...

    edit: we response straight away, when the phone rings if that's what you mean? unless you mean something else?
  15. zimbo
    Honorary Member

    zimbo Petabyte Poster

    Also its important to remember NEVER assume the user knows what you talking about - nor make them feel they stupid! :biggrin
    Certifications: B.Sc, MCDST & MCSA
    WIP: M.Sc - Computer Forensics
    Honorary Member

    UCHEEKYMONKEY R.I.P - gone but never forgotten. Gold Member


    That's excellent advice:thumbleft

    How do you get the message across when some users don't know what a desktop is and think it's something to do with furniture??:rolleyes: :p

    I had to spend almost an hour explaining to a secretary what a desktop is and how to create shortcuts and yet to get a secretary's job it asks for ECDL???:blink
    Certifications: Comptia A+
    WIP: Comptia N+
  17. Mr.Cheeks

    Mr.Cheeks 1st ever Gold Member! Gold Member

    i tell them to minimise all the screens or right click their clock and select show desktop or explain that its the first thing the see after they log on (ctrl+alt+del). but yeah, we do get some totally non it understanding people... although i try not to take the piss out of them behind their backs, as its not nice.
  18. AJ

    AJ 01000001 01100100 01101101 01101001 01101110 Administrator

    We get a lot of that with the teachers not knowing what the "desktop" is. As the vast majority of the PC's in the school have a corporate wallpaper (the school crest) all we say is "do you dee the school crest?" or "close all the windows until you get to the school crest and that's your desktop."

    You are perfectly right Mr. Cheeks, that belittling ANY user is a one way ticket to the exit door. When no-one is around and ther phone is on the hook the a giggle all round is almost the law.
    Certifications: MCSE, MCSA (messaging), ITIL Foundation v3
    WIP: Breathing in and out, but not out and in, that's just wrong
  19. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

    Can i just point out that an SLA isnt actually an agreement on priority as such. Its actually an agreement on what services are provided and at what kind of level.

    For instance, providing a server for file storage is an SLA, as is an agreement that we will maintain, say, 90% availability of said service.

    Service level agreements can cover all forms of the IT service. We have SLA's with the business that all calls are answered within 30 seconds, that high priority calls are picked up for investigation within 30 minutes and resolved within about 2 hours (i believe).

    These arent hard and fast rules though, since we cant guarantee availability of servers, or that all calls are guaranteed to be answered within a certain time, but they are the targets that are set.
    Certifications: ITIL Foundation; MCTS: Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010, Administration
    WIP: None at present
    Honorary Member

    UCHEEKYMONKEY R.I.P - gone but never forgotten. Gold Member

    True, but there are users who don't really want to know what wrong with the computer but just want a quick fix.

    I find this the hardest part of my job.. Most department or wards in the NHS have different software and different network drives and yet when a PC stops working. They expect you to replace it with a new one off the shelf and with the software they use.

    It takes me about an hour to extract the information from them.

    q) have you ever come across a an error message that says limited or no connectivity??
    Certifications: Comptia A+
    WIP: Comptia N+

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