Troubleshooting: What’s in it for me?

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”- Aristotle

Just like every other aspect of life, which in our opinion does not affect us we ask what’s in it for me? Troubleshooting being a realm that most people believe to be forte of ‘the technical team’ also seems to fall under the same category. Troubleshooting: What’s in it for me? Why should I know or do it? Experts seem to think that there is a lot in it for everyone, especially customer service staff. Organizational success depends on great customer service. Resting on overall organizational success is reputation and brand popularity. A successful company makes it employees happy, have more money, be more influential which leads to an improved social and family life. What’s in it for me? All that! Let us elucidate how these benefits are accruing to expert troubleshooters and the teams in which people are able to troubleshoot effectively – fast and accurately. And we are not talking about only ‘the technical teams’.

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– Organizational success

Employees can only be as successful as the success of their employer. The employee’s well-being is directly linked with the company that is employing them. With cut-throat competition around the world, if a company is not strong and competitive enough, it will not survive. Employees are rendered unemployed and the market scenario makes it tough to find new employment immediately. You may not like the company you work with but its success and failure affect you directly. Having good troubleshooting skills and working with a team that is equally competent is most definitely one important factor contributing to organizational success. A successful company makes its employees successful too.

– Reputation

Who doesn’t love a person who can seemingly fix anything or has a solution to everything? Expert troubleshooting helps build such a reputation. Even the most ‘average person’ who has mastered the art of problem solving through the logical process of troubleshooting becomes ‘the genius who can fix anything’. Reputation soars and the more number of such people in an organization, the stronger the reputation of the company as well.

– Brand popularity

For a company to have sustained productivity and un-interrupted systems, they must have either invested a company that has expert troubleshooters or have that capability in-house. If systems do not run smoothly, it is unlikely that service to customers would be great or even consistent. Customers may accept system lag as an excuse once, but on a consistent basis you can be sure that customers will be furious and will soon stop investing in the brand. Falling brand popularity spreads soon enough in the market and spells decline for a company. If the troubleshooting capability was within the company, the team responsible would soon be outsourced and individuals who fail repeatedly at troubleshooting soon find themselves unemployed and unemployable. Brand identity – individual, department or company – is a key factor contributing to value and companies are spending big bucks in promoting and sustaining it. Great troubleshooting is a low hanging fruit which can help to sustain the image of the brand.

– Money

It is not being said here that if you are a great troubleshooter you will double your income immediately. You may get more commissions, if that is how your compensation is structured. However, an effective troubleshooter is viewed as an asset – valuable and capable. Such a person will receive positive focus in the form of promotions, better salary increments, management attention and not being in the list of potential ‘layoffs’.
An effective and more productive troubleshooter appears smarter, more capable, confident and more in control. This person becomes the ‘go to person’ even for non-technical troubleshooting. Companies will even send such a person out to customers if they face a troubleshooting issue and steadily this person becomes synonymous with problem solving, adding to the earning potential of such a person.

As a manager that leads a team responsible for troubleshooting, it is vital to have effective troubleshooters. If your team consistently provides troubleshooting that leads to problem resolution, you are seen as an effective manager and your brand and net worth will rise. Conversely, if the team is constantly ineffective, the first person to be held responsible is the manager. It is in everyone’s best interest to constantly upgrade their troubleshooting and problem resolution skills to be successful or even have a job. Monetary reward for troubleshooting expertise is not instant (like all other jobs) but with consistency these accrue in to large sums.

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– Influence

Using the known process for troubleshooting makes it simple to analyze, assess and resolve most problems effectively. Enhanced troubleshooting productivity comes from following the process but increases the influence of the troubleshooter as others view it as competence, superior intelligence, leadership skills and an ability that is ‘rare’. The troubleshooter gets noticed, the prowess acknowledged and ultimately rewarded big time.

As an example – a friend related an incident that is a reaffirmation of the impact of troubleshooting on increasing influence. Her company had just employed a new technical staff member who was among the lower levels in the organization. His team was responsible for the upkeep of the computer that served around a couple hundred employees. The computer was experiencing some problems and using the troubleshooting process, he was able to determine the exact nature and location of the problem – slow processor. Staying late the next day, he asked the hardware provider for a temporary faster processor and installed it. The next day every employee could perceive the heightened speed and efficiency. The senior leadership noticed it too and purchased the borrowed hardware. This person’s ability to think logically and follow the troubleshooting process increased his influence to such an extent that he crossed ranks and was promoted to a senior level, over others in waiting.

– Happiness and job satisfaction

Wow! Almost everyone I have met has never said that they are completely happy or satisfied in their job. Overworked and underpaid and strict deadlines are the regular cribs. As an effective troubleshooter, if you are consistently following the troubleshooting process, you will have a lot less stress since it is a clear and logical process. Using process will enable the person to be able to identify the root cause quicker and save time and energy on roundabout or inconclusive analysis. Work gets done faster which in the current scenario is crucial. Consistency of work speed reduces stress and also keeps problems at bay for sustained longer periods. A person who is able to resolve problems faster is much happier on the job as the connected rewards and recognition are worth it. Being constantly recognized and rewarded makes the person happier with time and such a person carries this happiness home and in the social life. The other members in the team try to emulate it leading to a happier team and a very content manager.

– Happier social and family life

A practically stress free job, great rewards and sustained recognition naturally spill over to social and family life. Office hassles do not assail you and you are able to pay complete attention to your family and able to enjoy a well-rounded social life. The family is happier and your new found confidence and monetary increases raises your social standing making people notice you.

Troubleshooting affects every portion of your life – professionally and personally. When you are able to logically and clearly find solutions to problems, you will take pride in your work. Taking pride in your work is one such trait that is vital in all aspects and all realms in general, not just troubleshooting.

In troubleshooting, you can get increasingly better by being assured and taking pride in investigating and resolving problems. Endeavouring to stay on top of your game is vital if you wish to leave an indelible mark in the minds of people and the working scenario. Keep focused and don’t let success distract you – after all it was this focus that got you the success. Definitely celebrate the small and great successes but ‘troubleshoot’ your problems away by keeping a balance. This exposition aimed at answering the question – Troubleshooting: What’s in it for me?

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