Importance of upskilling staff providing support

The importance of upskilling staff providing support to the business cannot be under estimated.

It is all too easy to assume that the staff providing support for a product or system have all of the knowledge or expertise that they need to be able to do that. Often they don’t.

What is the service expectation

Firstly, what are the expectations of your customer or business owner, have you asked them?  It is important to find out what they see as provision of good support.  They might have expectations that all of those people dealing with their customers provides great customer service within a one hour turnaround window.  You might have been of the assumption that as long as the call is logged in the right technical queue and responded to by the tech team within 24 hours, then you were doing what was needed.  Two very different expectation sets.

If your customer or business owners expectation is for excellent customer service, do you know that those people answering the phones or dealing directly with the customers have the desired level of skill in order to provide that service?  Have you considered testing it.  I have personally found that a lot of technical staff are very good technically, but not so great at what I would class top level customer service.  Consider, what additional skills the person or team might need in order to get a good response from your client/business owner.

What level of technical knowledge is expected?

Next you need to consider if your business team (perhaps these are the people providing the very first level of customer support and they are good at that aspect of things), have the desired knowledge when it comes to the technical side of things.  What level of technical knowledge do they need in order to be able to triage the support call when it comes in?  Do they know how to log the service request so that it can flow through to the technical team who would be responsible for handling it?  There are different skill sets needed here and ones that a large number of business operations staff would not necessarily have.  These staff would also need to be trained up, but in the more technical aspects of things.

Who is in the analysis space?

Are there staff who are sitting in the space of analysing the technical issues in order to be able to escalate them?  Do they have the desired level of skills to be able to do this efficiently.  Here you need someone who is able to know how, and where, to get to information or test assumptions, or find technical detail of build or change material so that they can first hand determine if there are coded issues that need to go to the programming team, for instance.  What do these staff need to bring them up to speed?  Is it more in depth system knowledge, or is it access to people who can help them build up their analysis skills.

You can see that there are many different facets of provisioning a support team in a way that is really going to support the desired outcomes for the end user, your customer.

What’s the gap?

It is of value doing this analysis to see if there are any skill gaps of the staff at each level of the support model and then determining how you are going to manage the up skilling requirements for each and every aspect of where a gap has materialised.

You will be providing a better and more efficient level of service if you take the time to study this aspect of your support model.



Written by Karen Munro

*Image courtesy of Renjith Krishnan at