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Technical Skills or Customer Service Skill?

Discussion in 'Employment & Jobs' started by Darkfunnyguy, Sep 25, 2010.

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  1. Darkfunnyguy

    Darkfunnyguy Byte Poster

    If you ask this question in a interview what would be your answer please.

    What is more important technical skills or customer service skills?
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCP, MCDST, MCSA 2003
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  2. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

    Both :biggrin

    Seriously though, in some cases if people are not customer service driven they never will be.

    If you are a technical guru but can’t build up a decent relationship with customers (especially if you work in an outsourced IT company) then you will have problems.
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  3. onoski

    onoski Terabyte Poster

    As Sparky has mentioned I would also answer the question by saying my technical skills is very relevant on how I deal with resolving technical issues.

    On the other hand my customer service skills is more important with handling and resolving issues raised by a client, end user or customer so would say it's more important in this respect.
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  4. Darkfunnyguy

    Darkfunnyguy Byte Poster

    The problem is you may have very customer service skills but little technical skills therefore how can you fix the problem if you don't know to fix it, therefore customer service skills is no use. Now you have a complaint from the customer as you have not fix the problem.

    In my eyes both are important. :blink:blink
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCP, MCDST, MCSA 2003
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  5. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

    Both... And adding to that, depending on what type of IT job it is you can throw in alittle management and business skills :)

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  6. soundian

    soundian Gigabyte Poster

    People are more likely to complain if they feel they have had bad customer service, much more so than if they have to wait to get an issue resolved because it has to be escalated or researched further but have been informed politely, and in a way they can understand, why they have to wait.
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  7. SimonD
    Honorary Member

    SimonD Terabyte Poster

    Actually it really depends on the kind of role you're going for, as a server engineer who doesn't interact with clients, having a good customer facing persona really won't help him too much, having a good technical ability would.

    I know some great techies who, unfortunately have shocking customer skills, however it hasn't held them back because the work they do means they don't have to answer calls to the customer, I also happen to know a chap who has great customer skills but lacks the ability to pass his A+ exam (he sat it 3 times). This chap happens to be the one who closes the most calls on the service desk as well because he pretty much does the crappy password resets\printer mappings. Could I get him to build a server (and would I trust him to do so)? hell no, but he can be relied upon to keep the customer happy.
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  8. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

    I'd agree with SimonD.
    Depends on the role. Many IT jobs are customer-facing (especially when you consider the concept of internal customers) and so people skills are important. On the other hand, backing up databases in a locked room overnight - probably not as important.

    Both is a good answer. If you don't have the technical skills, you can't solve the problem - if you don't have the people skills, you don't get to understand the problem in the first place, or pass on the solution in the last.

    If you are going for a relatively junior role, don't forget that there will be others there to support you with technical skills, but nobody else is going to help you speak to the customer.
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  9. Theprof

    Theprof Petabyte Poster Premium Member

    I agree with Simon, however depending on the type of duties as an engineer you have might require both skills to be equal. I'll give you an example. We had consultants who came in to setup our entire VMware infrastructure back in 2006. The consultant basically went over the design, answered all the questions we asked him, he then gave us a quick session on basic VMWare administration uses once he completed the project... Aside from just being very technical he also had to interface well with the client and provide support until he was done.
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  10. skysparkles

    skysparkles New Member

    Einstien said "intelligence is not knowing all the answers but knowing where to find them" - with this in mind I think technical skills can be learned on a call by call basis but customer service skills are a must have.
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  11. twizzle

    twizzle Gigabyte Poster

    While techncial skills can be learnt, i think its harder to learn customer service skills, you either have them or you dont. But both are defiantley as equal as each other. I have good technical skills, i have to fault find on both hardware and software plus build servers and pcs etc. But i also have to interact with our customers face to face and on the phone. Without both sets of skills i couldnt do my job.

    What i do find is that i can easily look up technical stuff if i dont know it, however its harder to please an unhappy customer and calm them down. You can always blag it with most customers and make them feel your doing something for them even if your not, technically your either fix something or you dont. Customers get more unhappy if your not seemingto do something than actualy failing to do something.
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  12. Josiahb

    Josiahb Gigabyte Poster

    Definitely true, I called in a technical fault to our broadband provider recently and sat on the end of the phone while he ran line tests etc in complete silence. His failure to feedback on any individual test or explain what he was doing were both far more frustrating than his eventual failure to find the fault.

    Its easy enough to teach the basic rules of customer service to someone, the difficult bit is training someone in the detail, many times the arguments which people have with anyone in a customer service role are the result of an unwise turn of phrase or tone of voice and that sort of thing is a lot harder to train out of someone (if the person in question is a brummy you may as well give up before you start! :p).

    Although technical skills can be taught they also rely on the person being trained having a certain set of necessary base skills before you can start and, just as its very difficult to teach someone to adjust their tone of voice, its incredibly difficult to train someone who has no analytical skills in the technical knowledge required to be a good tech. A good tech has to be willing to make that next leap of logic beyond what they know to problem solve effectively, there are a fair number of problems which can crop up in the course of the working day which don't have an answer in any book or on any website.
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  13. Darkfunnyguy

    Darkfunnyguy Byte Poster

    Josiahb, You mention tone of their voices I think there are headset to change your tone of voice I am not sure if I am wrong or correct.

    I am delighted with all the response to the question yet rightly it depend on the role some jobs both are important and other are one or the other.
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCP, MCDST, MCSA 2003
    WIP: Server+, Vista,

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