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Service Desk Analysts – Or The Translators Of The Techy Jargon

By Jess Hill, Application Support Analyst, Marval Software


Customers are important for any business. Customers are the reason why the business exists. Without any customers, no business would survive - probably why many successful businesses have adopted the motto “Customer is King”.

What happens when the King speaks a different language, though? And I am not talking about overseas customers with no understanding of English. I am talking about the customers who call the Service Desk to raise a request which they can hardly describe. Either due to the fact they have no technical background (or even basic computer skills), or due to their stress and frustration, customers might find it difficult to describe the issue in enough detail to help us appreciate the size, volume and urgency of the incident. How do we serve a King whom we don’t understand and they don’t understand us, then?

This is where we need someone to translate “business” to “techy” and Service Desk Analysts sit between the business and technical worlds. They are the communication bridge that ensures business needs translate to technical requirements and solutions.

Being a Support Analyst myself, I often come across customers who struggle to explain their situation. They do try their best but they just don’t know where to start and what terms to use. Customers are not ignorant, they might not use the same terminology that we use, but they know the effect. Just like a patient asking for the doctor’s advice, customers can see and appreciate the symptoms - and that should suffice. If I was visiting a doctor, I wouldn’t be expected to make a diagnosis myself and ask them for the medicine. I would be expected to describe the symptoms in my own words and ask the doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.

The same rule applies to the Service Desk. The customer doesn’t have to diagnose the problem; they should only be asked to describe the symptoms in their own words. The Analyst should listen and guide them through conversation, using simple leading questions, to collect an accurate and detailed description of the problem. Here’s some basic steps you can take:

  • Listen carefully and read between the lines. Ask them to verify the facts, to make sure the information provided is accurate.
  • Talk with the customer and not at the customer. Avoid lecturing. They may have made a mistake, but who hasn’t at some point? Our job is to help them overcome the issue and have the incident resolved as fast and smoothly as possible.
  • Communicate with clarity. Always keep in mind that different people have different levels of technical knowledge. Avoid complicated explanations and translate the techy speak to a level which the customer will understand. Make sure the customers understand what you are saying and are able to follow your advice and apply any recommendations. If you feel there may be any difficulty, rephrase.
  • Always stay calm, never rush the conversation or raise your voice. Remember to smile on the phone as it helps keep your tone of voice level. Remember they are just trying to do their job and can only explain what and how they do their work.
  • Build a rapport with them. Just like any relationship between doctor and patient, it is important they can trust you and feel comfortable talking to you for any issue that has occurred. If you manage to develop a level of trust, it is more likely they’ll feel safe to delve into details (or admit any mistakes!).
  • Put your ITSM tool in good use. Smart ITSM solutions, like Marval MSM, have pre-defined mandatory fields and associations to help you ask the right questions (all of them) and collect the data you need to come to a fast resolution of the case. Use customer history and your knowledge library to connect the dots.

The customer is King, and Kings can sometimes be difficult to read, excessive with their demands or even overwhelming in their approach. Customers are not ignorant of the situation or effects of technical issues, we just need to translate the techy jargon and make sure that the communication between us is effective.

Once we conquer that communication bridge, we can then deliver an impeccable service fit for a King.


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