Professionalism – CompTIA A+ 220-1002 – 4.7

A technologist is expected to maintain a professional tone at all times. In this video, you’ll learn some best practices for maintaining professionalism in even the worst of circumstances.

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It’s remarkable how much you can accomplish by maintaining a positive attitude. Having a positive tone of voice lets your customers know that you’re confident, that you’ll be able to examine all of the issues and come to a resolution for their problem. You may run into situations where a problem simply can’t be fixed. If you have a hard drive failure and there is no backup, then all of that data is now gone. The only thing you have is a positive attitude and some ideas and options that you can offer for helping the customer find some of the data they may have lost.

No one wants to work with someone who is grumpy or has a bad attitude. And eventually, this problem will be resolved, or you’ll be at the end of the troubleshooting process, and the only thing left is the customer to look back and think about the entire experience, and how well it went with your positive attitude. When you’re working through these problems, you want to treat everyone with the proper level of respect. If there’s a particular title that’s appropriate to use, you want to be sure to use those. And you don’t want to be judgmental about the problem or the person who’s having the issue. You’re the person who should be helping them and teaching them about how to resolve this issue, and you’re with them as a partner at every step along the way.

The last thing you want to do is create a negative environment by insulting the way somebody is working, acting, or the way that they look. There’s an opportunity with every single one of these troubleshooting tasks that you can help make someone smarter. People who aren’t involved in technology everyday sometimes feel helpless that they have no idea how to resolve these issues. By spending a little bit of extra time with someone, they’ll be more knowledgeable of the entire process and the technologies behind it. And if this problem happens again, they’ll be much more knowledgeable on how to resolve it then.

Another reason you don’t want to be judgmental is because you’re also in a position where you can make mistakes. And you will make mistakes in your career. Some of them will be very minor and some of them will be very major. You can use these mistakes in a positive way. You can look back on the problem, understand exactly why this problem occurred, and then make sure that it doesn’t occur in the future.

When you’re working with a customer on a problem, they’re the most important person at that time. You don’t want to take any phone calls or talk with your co-workers, and you certainly don’t want to be texting on your phone. If there is an interruption of some kind that can’t be avoided, then you can address that particular interruption, but make sure you apologize to the customer that that particular interruption occurred.

Too often, I find that people are trying to avoid conversations with their customers. I like the environment to be open and inviting I’d like to put a candy bowl right on my desk and have a reason that someone would stop by just to say hi or to explain a problem they might be having. You want to keep that conversation open and going in both directions all the time.

If most of your job happens over the phone, there’s still things you can do to make those phone calls open and inviting. You want to be sure there’s no background noise when you’re on the phone. And you want to be sure you’re using a headset that you’re getting very high quality audio from. And if you’re the only one on the phone, don’t use the speaker phone he creates distance between you and your customer. Instead, use your handset, which is not only better audio, but it makes the customer know that you’re listening to everything they’re saying.

Someone struggling with a technical problem can create a very emotional environment. Whenever these stressful situations occur, you want to be sure that you’re the one to help minimize the amount of stress. You don’t want to argue or contradict what someone’s saying. You instead would like to listen to what someone’s saying and ask more questions about the problem they’re having. You want to engage with the customer and let them know that you’re willing to work with them to solve this particular problem. They may just need an opportunity to vent. And once they’ve gotten the venting out of their system, and they see that you’re willing to help, the situation may become a lot less stressful.

In these troubleshooting tasks or projects that are high-stress, you want to be sure there is always a line of communication. Someone should never be in a situation where they don’t know what’s going on. And even sending a status update that says, things are exactly where they were on our last status update is still more information than they had previously. You should never take these situations personally. And you should never share these situations with others. You should not share this information with other people in your organization. And you should certainly stay away from social media when these situations occur.

Technical issues can be very traumatic to the customer, especially when there are jobs or money on the line. A problem that seems very minor to you can have a dramatic effect on someone else. Something as simple as a mouse not working can cause an entire project to come to a stop. So it’s important that you don’t minimize these problems, but instead try to understand more about why the problem is occurring and solve it as quickly as possible. You’ll find often that you’re more of a counselor than a technician. When somebody needs to vent, you’re there to not only listen to their problems, but solve the issues that they’re having.

In a technology job, you’ll be privy to a lot of confidential information. Some of this will be company confidential information that’s stored on servers or in databases. And some of this is personal information that somebody keeps on the phone on their desk. You have a professional responsibility to keep all of this information private, not only the company’s information, but somebody’s private information as well.

We have access to so much information and we sometimes forget how important it is to keep that data private. Whenever you’re working with confidential data or someone’s private information, you want to handle that data as you would want it to be handled. And if you maintain the confidentiality of that data, you’ll be someone who can also be trusted with other responsibilities as well.