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Contractor Spotlight with Chantal B., Technical Support

December 2017- Interview by Erica Woods, Manager of Contractor and Community Relations, Principal

Apex Systems is always pleased to receive glowing feedback about one of our contractors. We were particularly proud of the one we received recently for Apex contract employee, Chantal. One of Chantal’s Technical Managers wrote: “[Chantal] is really doing a fantastic job, and may be the best Help Desk person we have. She often helps out with issues that happen here at the client site that are way above the level of a Help Desk Technician. She works very hard and is a great contributor to the success of our Help Desk here!”

Chantal CE Spotlight

We caught up with Chantal to learn more about her background, advice, and what she attributes some of her success to!

Chantal fell in love with IT in the 4th grade; she was hooked after one of her teachers taught her the fundamentals of computers, including how to build a computer as part of an IT class her elementary school offered. How incredible to discover your passion that early! She started her professional career in a university lab and has been focused on technical support for the last 10 years.

What traits/skills make a successful tech support professional?

Chantal:

  1. Being flexible. You have to be willing to go whichever way the wind is blowing. Every day is different, and change is constant, and you have to just roll with it!
  2. Always learning. You have to be willing to further your education and knowledge to become as close to a subject matter expert with the areas and technologies you support.
  3. Relationship building. You have to develop your ability to build relationships with everyone around you, which makes work and solving problems more rewarding, and has other benefits, such as then leveraging your network/co-workers for continuous learning when you encounter issues you’re not sure how to approach or resolve.
  4. Listening is crucial! Put on your “requirements gathering hat” and ask users/customers important “investigation” questions to really uncover the problem. Ask questions like “What is the true issue? How often does it happen? When did it last happen?”

What have you done specifically that you think has set you up for success?

Chantal:

  1. Positive attitude. I go into everything with a positive mindset; I try to mirror the happy face emoji! This role was originally out of my comfort zone, but I approach each day with a positive attitude and come to work with an open mind, ready to soak up as much as I can.
  2. Learning mindset. Our team is using new software that is a proprietary tool, so no one on the team had experience with in; I went in the tool just trying to learn and play with it as much as possible, capturing everything I learned in my “cheat sheet” binder.
  3. Patient, supportive, and understanding with clients. I’ve recognized that customers just want someone who understands them and won’t get frustrated with their questions or issues. Patience is extremely necessary in a technical support role. You need to be a bit like a duck, and let the water roll off your back. Customers struggle with explaining their problems, but you need to be patient and exhibit a “cool to the core” mentality and seek to understand them, often taking a nurturing stance.
  4. Focus on always being a team player! If someone is stressed, reach out and help calm them down. If someone calls out, you might need to step up and help out even if it’s the last thing you want to do. You need to be that person who is dependable, reliable, positive, and team-oriented.
  5. Always be productive with your time! If I have downtime at work, I focus on watching some quick hit trainings. There’s always something you could be doing to contribute or learn, which you sometimes need to seek out!

Do you have any best practices when it comes to troubleshooting?

Chantal:

  1. I try to think outside of the normal “troubleshooting process/steps” (what’s written on paper) and bridge the gap between the development team and the end client to really understand the problem, identifying the root cause, before getting into problem-solving mode.
  2. Strong how-to documentation. I make my own cheat sheet of all the tech issues I encounter, and capture how to troubleshoot.
  3. Open and collaborative dialogue with more senior folks. When I encounter an issue I don’t know the answer to, I involve the right people and get their thoughts on how to handle, and then capture on my cheat sheet. I don’t just pass the issue off and wait for the answer; I try to act as a sponge and observe how they handle so I can learn for the next time!

Do you have any certifications?

Chantal:

I have my Server+ Fundamentals Certification am certified in Dell and HP; I’m also working on my Apple Certification right now, even though it is terrifying. Certifications have been a great learning channel for me!

How much time do you invest in learning? What are your favorite resources for education/training?

Chantal:

  1. I invest 2+ hours a week typically for training and development/study time, focusing on reading and learning “what’s the latest.” I always am reading CNN Tech and think through questions like: “Is this relevant for me? How can I incorporate this?” I keep up with the key technologies I support, such as VMWare.
  2. I use SkillSoft and their digital lab, which is great! They have a lot of little quick hit courses/videos. I took some of their customer service videos, and it changed how I interact with my customers. They’ve also helped minimize my anxiety when dealing with tough customers.
  3. I engage in peer to peer knowledge frequently! I pick the brains of the Senior Techs I work with; I’m not scared to ask them questions and take opportunities to shadow them when they’re researching/investigating a problem I don’t know how to fix already myself.

What do you do to unwind? What are some hobbies/interests you enjoy?

Chantal:

  1. Glamping! I love going RVing with my in-laws! It’s a great way to disconnect! I’m a producer of RV destinations, a local RV TV show, and help piece together the show. Our whole family is involved! You can check it out at https://www.rvdestinations.tv/.
  2. I love spending time with my husband, kids, and dogs.
  3. I enjoy comedy shows! I am known to break out into random songs and jokes to make people laugh.

Congratulations Chantal for being featured in our Contract Employee Spotlight and thank you for sharing your career advice with us!

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