Too many techies get a bad rap for lacking teamwork and communications skills. The stereotype is that while techies are great at what they are trained to do, they cannot parlay their knowledge onto others. Because of the stereotype that techies cannot communicate, they also can be stigmatized that they lack adequate teamwork skills. So, what are the chances of two Helpdesk teams communicating with each other to successfully form one team while not compromising customer service?
Does this plan initially sound like an enormous task? Does it sound impossible? Not if you were lucky enough to have been on such a dynamite team like mine.
In 1997, I started working at the Ameritech Advertising Helpdesk, which was supporting Yellow Pages Salespeople, Artists and Data Entry from Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois and Wisconsin. When Southwestern Bell Corporation acquired Ameritech in 1998, procedures started to change. Ultimately, The Ameritech Advertising Helpdesk became the SBC Yellow Pages Helpdesk and we were to support clients not only in the five-state Great Lakes region, but clients in other regions in which SBC resided. SBC had Yellow Pages clients in the east in Connecticut, in the middle of the country in Missouri and Kansas, in the southwest in Oklahoma and Texas and in the west in Arizona, Nevada and California.
There were two Helpdesks: the Helpdesk who supported clients in the Great Lake region and the Helpdesk that supported clients in the eastern, middle, southwestern and western regions. The Helpdesk supported clients 24/7 during the weekdays, a part of Saturday and was on call for Sunday. The Great Lakes Helpdesk had about seven to eight dayshift personnel, two afternoon people and one mid-nighter. The eastern, middle, southwestern and western region Helpdesk had about eight to ten personnel that worked different hours from 7 a.m. until 10p.m. eastern time.
The grand plan was to combine both Helpdesks and have all of the analysts versatile in all of the applications in order to support clients from all of the 13 states. For example, most of the analysts who supported clients in the Great Lakes region had never worked with VMS systems, but were very familiar with systems like the Remedy Helpdesk software. Conversely, most of the analysts who supported clients in the eastern, middle, southwester and western U.S. had been trained on the VMS systems, but had never worked with Remedy.
Being in Information Technology, one may get used to systems and applications going wrong. It seems that in too many instances, techies are troubleshooting and fixing systems.