As implied by the name, technical support representatives answer technical questions by phone on the use of a product or service. They use their specialized knowledge to provide customers with personalized assistance. For example, they can guide callers on the steps to follow to repair a breakdown. Often, they simplify complex terms or mechanisms in order for customers to understand. Technical support representative can work full or part time. Training is usually provided by the company that employs them.
A diploma in a relevant technical field and a good knowledge of the company’s products will allow you to master your topic. An aptitude for computers, electronics or mechanics will be helpful by giving you access to the sectors that are hiring the most call centre technical representatives.
Knowledge of a second language (e.g. French, Spanish, Mandarin) is sometimes required for companies that get calls from Quebec or abroad.
Interpersonal skills are fundamental to optimize telephone contacts with customers. You have to be a skillful communicator and be patient regarding technical problems. Good analytical skills and highly developed organizational skills will make you more efficient. Finally, some companies have rotating shifts, so you have to be able to keep up the pace, either alone or on a team.
WHAT THE PROS SAY
INTERVIEW WITH ANDREW ROBERTS,COMPUTER TECHNICAL SUPPORT REPRESENTATIVE IN MONTREAL
Andrew Roberts has been working for a few months in a technical support centre for users of specialized pharmaceutical data entry software. On a daily basis, he assists doctors and nurses having technical problems with the interface. “I like it because I get to help people. I tell them to click here, and there, and guide them in navigating the software to resolve the problems they encounter,” explains Martin. “I have to adapt to different levels of computer knowledge and remain patient with users who are often super stressed out.”
The call centre in which Andrew plies his trade works for a U.S. software provider that sells its programs all over the world. Not surprising, then, that the ability to speak many languages is one of the main hiring criteria. “You have to have basic computer knowledge, be very knowledgeable about the Internet and have a talent for finding information,” says Andrew, 39 years of age. “But what’s especially important is being able to speak English and another language in order to answer international callers’ questions. In my case, I speak Portuguese fluently, which has been very helpful. In my work, I like to get to hear different accents every day. It gives me the feeling of working in a global environment.” This “globalization” has a consequence, however—Andrew starts work at 3 a.m. because of the time zone difference. “At the beginning, I had a tough time,” he admits. “But after a few weeks, I got used to it and now I actually like it because the schedule allows me to do tons of things on the side!”