The IT Professional
A technician’s good communication skills are an aid in the troubleshooting process. It takes time and
experience to develop good communication skills and troubleshooting skills. As your hardware,
software, and OS knowledge increases, your ability to quickly determine a problem and find a solution
will improve. The same principle applies to developing communication skills. The more you practice
good communication skills, the more effective you will become when working with customers. A
knowledgeable technician who uses good communication skills will always be in demand in the job
11.1 Relationship between Communication Skills and Professional Behavior
Whether you are talking with a customer on the phone or in person, it is important to
communicate well and to represent yourself professionally.
• Determine the computer problem of the customer
• Display professional behavior with the customer
• Focus the customer on the problem during the call
• Use proper Netiquette
• Implement time and stress management techniques
• Observe service level agreements (SLA)
• Follow business policies
126.96.36.199 Using Communication Skills to Determine Customer Problem
• One of the first tasks of the technician is to determine the type of computer problem
that the customer is experiencing.
The technician should:
• Practice active listening skills.
• Do not interrupt the customer.
• Listen carefully to what the other person is saying, and let them finish their thought.
• After the customer has explained the problem, clarify what the customer has said.
• Ask some follow-up questions, if needed.
• Use all of the information to complete the work order.
188.8.131.52 Displaying Professional Behavior with the Customer
Handle customers with respect and prompt attention. On a phone call, know how to:
o Place a customer on hold.
o Transfer a customer without losing the call.
o Help the customer focus on and communicate the problem.
o Stay positive by focusing on what you can do to help.
o Convey an interest in helping the customer.
The following is a list of behaviors to avoid when communicating with a customer:
• Avoid minimizing customer problems.
• Avoid using jargon, abbreviations, acronyms, and slang.
• Avoid a negative attitude or tone of voice.
• Avoid arguing with customers or becoming defensive.
• Avoid culturally insensitive remarks.
• Avoid being judgmental, insulting, or calling the customer names.
• Avoid distractions or interruptions when talking with customers.
• Avoid taking personal calls when talking with customers.
• Avoid talking to co-workers about unrelated subjects when talking with the customer.
• Avoid unnecessary holds and abrupt holds.
• Avoid transfers without explaining the purpose of the transfer and getting customer consent.
• Avoid negative remarks about other technicians to the customer.
Focus the customer on the problem during the call
• Part of a technician’s job is to focus the customer during the phone call.
• When the customer stays focused on the problem, the technician controls the call.
• Do not take any comments personally and do not retaliate with any comments or criticism.
If you stay calm with the customer, finding a solution to the problem will remain the focal point
of the call.
Working with a Customer
One of the first tasks of the technician is to determine the type of computer problem that the
customer is experiencing. Remember these three rules at the beginning of your conversation:
Know - Call your customer by name.
Relate - Use brief communication to create a one-to-one connection between you and
Understand - Determine the customer’s level of knowledge about the computer to know
how to effectively communicate with the customer.
Keeping the Customer Focused on the Problem
• There are many different types of customers. The list of problem-customer types below is not
comprehensive and often a customer can display a combination of traits.
• A technician needs to be able to recognize which traits their customer exhibits. Recognizing
these traits will help them to manage the call accordingly.
Handling the Different Types of Customers
A talkative customer discusses everything except the problem and uses the call to socialize.
• Allow them to talk for one minute.
• Gather as much information about the problem as possible.
• Politely refocus the customer. This is the exception to the rule of never interrupting a customer.
• Ask as many closed-ended questions as you need to once you have regained control of the call.
• Avoid conversation that is not related to the problem.
A rude customer complains during the call, makes negative comments, may be abusive and
uncooperative, and may be easily aggravated.
• Listen very carefully, as you do not want to ask them to repeat any information.
• Follow a step-by-step approach.
• Try to contact the customer’s favorite technician to see if they can take the call.
• Apologize for the wait time and the inconvenience, even if there has been no wait time.
• Reiterate that you want to solve the problem as quickly as possible.
An angry customer talks loudly, tries to talk when the technician is talking, is usually frustrated and
upset that they have to call somebody to fix the problem.
• Let the customer tell their problem without interruption, even if they are angry.
• Sympathize with the customer’s problem.
• Apologize for wait time or inconvenience.
• Avoid putting this customer on hold or transferring them.
• Avoid talking at length about the cause of the problem.
• Focus on solving the problem.
A knowledgeable customer wants to speak with a technician that is equally experienced in
computers and usually tries to control the call.
• If you are a level-one technician, try to set up a conference call with a level-two technician.
• Tell the customer the overall approach to what you are trying to verify.
• Avoid using a step-by-step process.
• Avoid asking the customer to check the obvious.
An inexperienced customer has difficulty describing the problem and may not be able to follow
• Use a simple step-by-step process of instructions.
• Speak in plain terms.
• Avoid using industry jargon.
Avoid sounding condescending or belittling.
As a technician, you should be professional in all communications with customers. For email and text
communications, there is a set of personal and business etiquette rules called Netiquette
General rules that apply to all your online interactions with customers and co-workers:
Be pleasant and polite.
Open with an appropriate greeting.
Check grammar and spelling.
Remember you are dealing with people.
Follow the standards of behavior that you follow in the rest of your life.
Know where you are in cyberspace.
Respect other’s time and bandwidth.
Share expert knowledge.
Respect the privacy of others.
Forgive other’s mistakes.
Use mixed case lettering. All upper case lettering is considered SHOUTING.
Never send chain letters through email.
Do not send or reply to flames.
If you would not say it to their face, then do not send or post.
The ergonomics of your work area can help you do your job or make it more difficult.
Make sure that your desk layout works well.
Have your headset and phone in a position that is easy to reach and easy to use.
Adjust your chair to a comfortable height.
Adjust your monitor to a
Place your keyboard and
mouse in a comfortable
Minimize external distractions
such as noise.
Observing Service Level Agreements (SLA)
An SLA is a contract that defines expectations between an organization and the service vendor to
provide an agreed-on level of support. When dealing with customers, it is important to adhere to that
customer’s service level agreement (SLA). Some of the contents of an SLA usually include the
• Response time guarantees (often based on type of call and level of service agreement)
• Equipment and/or software that will be supported
• Where service will be provided
• Preventive maintenance
• Part availability (equivalent parts)
• Cost and penalties
• Time of service availability (for example, 24X7; Monday to Friday, 8 am to 5 pm EST; and so on)
Following Business Policies
• As a technician, you should be aware of all business policies
about customer calls. You would not want to make a promise to a customer that you cannot keep. You
should also have a good understanding of all rules governing employees.
Most call centers have very specific rules on how to handle
• Maximum time on call (Example: 15 minutes)
• Maximum call time in queue (Example: three minutes)
• Number of calls per day (Example: Minimum of 30)
• Rules on passing calls on to other technicians (Example: Only when absolutely necessary and not
without that technician's permission)
• Rules on what you can and cannot promise to the customer (See that customer's SLA for details)
• When to follow SLA and when to escalate to management
There are also other rules to cover general daily activities of
• Arrive at your workstation on time and early enough to become prepared, usually about 15 to
20 minutes before the first call.
• Do not exceed the allowed number and length of breaks.
• Do not take a break or go to lunch if there is a call on the board.
• Do not take a break or go to lunch at the same time as other technicians (stagger breaks among
• Do not leave an ongoing call to take a break or go to lunch, or go to a personal appointment.
• Make sure another technician is available if you have to leave.
• Contact the customer if you are going to be late for an appointment.
• If no other technician is available, check with the customer to see if you can call back later,
possibly in the morning.
• Do not show favoritism to certain customers.
• Do not take another technician's calls without permission.
• Do not talk negatively about the capabilities of another technician.
The following rules should be followed by all employees to ensure
• Set and meet a reasonable timeline for the call or appointment and communicate this to the
• Communicate service expectations to the customer as early as possible.
• Communicate the repair status with the customer, including explanations for any delays.
• Offer different repair or replacement options to the customer, if applicable.
• Give the customer proper documentation on all services provided.
• Follow up with the customer at a later date to verify satisfaction.
Ethical and Legal Issues in the IT Industry
There are several computer-related activities that are not only
unethical, but are definitely illegal. Be aware that this is not an
• Do not make any changes system software or hardware configurations without customer
• Do not access a customer's or coworker's accounts, private files, or e-mail messages without
• Do not install, copy, or share digital content (including software, music, text, images, and video)
in violation of copyright and/or software agreements or applicable federal and state law.
• Do not use a customer's company IT resources for commercial purposes.
• Do not make a customer's IT resources available to unauthorized users.
• Keep sensitive customer information confidential.
• Do not knowingly use a customer's company resources for illegal activities. Criminal or illegal
use may include obscenity, child pornography, threats, harassment, copyright infringement,
university trademark infringement, defamation, theft, identity theft, and unauthorized access.
Actions such as the following are generally considered illegal.
• It is not permissible to make any changes to system software or hardware
configurations without customer permission.
• It is not permissible to access a customer’s or co-worker’s accounts, private files, or
email messages without permission.
• It is not permissible to install, copy, or share digital content (including software, music,
text, images, and video) in violation of copyright and software agreements or the
• It is not permissible to use a customer’s company IT resources for commercial purposes.
• It is not permissible to make a customer’s IT resources available to unauthorized users.
• It is not permissible to knowingly use a customer’s company resources for illegal
• It is not permissible to share sensitive customer information.
Computer Forensics is the collection and analysis of data from computer systems, networks
wireless communications, and storage devices as part of a criminal investigation.
Illegal computer or network usage may include:
Using a computer to sell counterfeit goods
Using pirated software
Using a computer or network to create or sell unauthorized copies of copyrighted
Two basic types of data are collected:
Persistent Data –stored on a local drive, such as an internal or external hard drive, or an
optical drive. When the computer is turned off, this data is preserved. Volatile Data –
Stored in Ram and cache, disappears when computer is turned off.
Cyber law is a term to describe the international, regional, country, and state laws that affect
computer security professionals. Cyber laws explain the circumstances under which data
(evidence) can be collected from computers, data storage devices, networks, and wireless
First response is the term used to describe the official procedures employed by those people
who are qualified to collect evidence. System administrators, like law enforcement officers, are usually
the first responders at potential crime scenes.
The following, at a minimum, should be documented if illegal activity is discovered:
• Initial reason for accessing the computer or network
• Time and date
• Peripherals that are connected to the computer
• All network connections
• Physical area where the computer is located
• Illegal material found
• Illegal activity that you have witnessed (or you suspect has occurred)
• Which procedures you have executed on the computer or network
Chain of Custody - For evidence to be admitted, it must be authenticated. A system
administrator should be able to prove how this evidence was collected, where it has been
physically stored, and who has had access to it between the time of collection and its entry into
the court proceedings.
Describe call center environment and technician responsibilities
A call center environment is usually very professional and fast
paced. It is a help desk system where customers call in and are
placed on a callboard.
184.108.40.206 Level One Technician Responsibilities
• Level-one technicians may be known as level-one analysts, dispatchers, or incident screeners.
• The primary responsibility of a level-one technician is to gather pertinent information from the
customer. You will have to document all information in the ticket or work order.
• Some problems are very simple to resolve and a level-one technician can usually take care of
these without escalating the work order to a level-two technician.
220.127.116.11 Describe level-two technician responsibilities
• Level-two technicians may be known as product specialists or technical-support personnel.
• The level-two technician is usually more knowledgeable about technology, or has been working
for the company for a longer period of time.
• An escalated work order is usually about a problem that the level-one technician could not
resolve within ten minutes. The level-two technician receives the escalated work order with the
description of the problem. They then call the customer back to ask any additional questions
and resolve the problem.
Here is a list of guidelines detailing when to escalate a problem to
a more experienced technician. These are generic guidelines; you
should follow your company's business policy for problem
• Escalate problems that require opening the computer case.
• Escalate problems that require installation of applications, operating systems, or drivers.
• Escalate problems that will take a long time to step a customer through - like CMOS changes.
Escalate down calls - the entire network is down, and a more experienced tech may be
able to resolve the issue faster.
Usually more knowledgeable about technology.
May have been working for the company for a longer period of time.
Receives escalated work orders from level-one technicians.
Calls the customer back to ask any additional questions.
May use remote access software to access the customer’s computer to diagnose the problem
and possibly to resolve the issue.
Which two actions should a technician take if illegal content, such as child pornography, is discovered on
the hard drive of a customer computer? (Choose two.)
Confront the customer immediately.
Remove and destroy the hard drive.
Contact a first responder.
Shut down the computer until authorities arrive.
Document as much information as possible.
What is the definition of cyber law?
a single law defining criminal acts that are committed online
the collection of international, country, and local laws that affect computer security professionals
a contract that defines expectations between and organization and IT service vendors for an
agreed upon level of support
the process of collecting and analyzing data from computer systems, networks, wireless
communications, and storage devices
When performing computer forensics, what can be prevented with a properly and carefully documented
chain of custody?
copying of copyrighted materials
During the process of troubleshooting, a technician gains access to customer private information. What
is expected that the technician do with this information?
Document all information in a log file.
Keep it confidential.
Send this information to the manager of the customer.
Send this information to the technician manager.
Back up the information just in case the customer needs it some day.
the exhibit. During the troubleshooting of software that is installed on a computer system, a level one
technician requires help from a level two technician. The file shown in the exhibit must be sent to the
level two technician. How should the level one technician deliver this file?
This file should not be shared with the level two technician.
Replace all passwords in the file with <password omitted> before emailing the file and then supply
the passwords by secure means, if required.
Send the file as it is to the level two technician.
Deliver the file in printed format only.
What are two sections that are usually included in an SLA? (Choose two.)
time of service availability
supported equipment and software
service provider part suppliers
home contact information of the technician
contact information of other clients
Which two rules pertain to the general daily activities of employees in a call center environment?
If a technician takes a call from a customer the technician does not like, the technician should
pass the call to another technician.
The technician should be sure to treat all customers equally.
If a customer complains about another technician, the technician who is taking the call should
agree with opinion of the customer.
The technician should adjust the work chair to a height that is high enough so that wrists angle
downwards toward the keyboard.
The technician should contact the customer if the technician is going to be late for a follow-up
Which statement describes a best practice related to time management?
The technician should take the easier calls first, regardless of the urgency.
The technician should give better service to a customer for whom the technician feels more
The technician can take the call of another technician, even without permission to do so.
The technician should make sure to call the customer back as close to the callback time as
Which two statements are correct about level one and level two technicians? (Choose two.)
Level two technicians are usually more knowledgeable about technology than the level one
Level two technicians prepare a work order and escalate it to a level one technician if a problem
cannot be resolved within ten minutes.
Level one technicians usually work on the problems that require opening up the computer case.
Level two technicians usually respond to the "down calls" as they may be able to resolve them
Level two technicians are often referred to as "incident screeners," and level one technicians are
often referred to as "product specialists."
What should a level two technician do immediately after receiving an escalated work order from a level
Call the level one technician and ask questions about the problem.
Call the customer back to ask any additional questions and resolve the problem.
Document suggestions to solve the problem in the work order and return it to the level one
Send the work order to a level three technician and ask for support.
A customer calls to report a computer problem. Which two actions can the technician take to establish a
good rapport with the customer? (Choose two.)
Personalize the call by periodically asking questions unrelated to the computer problem.
Allow the customer to speak without interruption.
Use technical terms to determine the level of knowledge the customer possesses.
Ask only closed-ended questions.
Refer to the customer by name whenever possible.
What is the correct way to conduct a telephone call to troubleshoot a computer problem?
Always gather information from the customer and escalate the problem.
Maintain professional behavior at all times.
Ask personal questions to get better acquainted with the customer.
Explain each step to help the customer understand the troubleshooting process.
A technician receives a call from a customer who is too talkative. How should the technician handle the
Talk over the customer and quickly gather the necessary information to be of help.
Allow the customer to speak without interruption and then try to use closed-ended questions to
Use open-ended questions and repeat all the information back to the customer to politely show
that unnecessary information is being given.
Politely step in and gain control of the call by asking the customer social questions.
What are two examples of displaying professional communication skills while talking to a customer?
the use of active listening, with occasional interjections such as "I see" or "I understand"
clarifying what customers say after they have finished their explanations
interrupting customers with a question to gather more information
asking customers to paraphrase their explanations
focusing on what you cannot do to give customers an idea of the magnitude of the problem
What are three pieces of information a level one technician should gather from a customer? (Choose
description of the problem
details of any recent changes to the computer
output from diagnostic software
output from a remote connection to the customer computer
current CMOS settings
Which situation would require that a support desk call be given the highest priority?
The company cannot operate because of a system failure.
A couple of computers have operating system errors.
Some computers cannot log in to the network.
Two users are requesting an application enhancement.
A user is requesting a RAM memory upgrade.
Which two data storage locations contain persistent data that can be used by computer forensics
specialists? (Choose two.)
hard disk drives
solid state drives
In a computer forensics investigation, which type of data is considered volatile data and can be lost if
power is removed from the computer?
data stored on magnetic disks
data stored on an internal drive
data in transit between RAM and the CPU
data stored on an external drive
What customer support procedure would likely cause an upset customer to become more upset?
Ask the customer to do obvious or unnecessary steps.
Follow a step-by-step approach to solving the problem.
Apologize for the wait time if there has been no wait time.
Reiterate that you want to solve the problem.
What name is given to a certain set of general rules that apply to written communication over the
When performing computer forensics what is required to prove a chain of custody?
proper documentation procedures
an admission of guilt
What is a reason to escalate a problem from a level one technician to a level two technician?
when the equipment needs to be rebooted
when drivers, applications, or operating systems need to be installed
when the screen resolution of a customer PC needs to be adjusted
when a peripheral device needs to be replaced