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How to survive on-site support

This article was been published more than 6months ago. The information contained herein may be outdated.

Having worked on-site support for most of my career, I’ve seen a lot of things that can bug you. There are a few things we can do to make it a little more survivable, such as:
 

  • Bring your tools
    • Whether they are hardware or software tools, bringing them shows the client you’re prepared, and puts them at their ease while you work
  • Take notes, and lots of them
    • I have more than once needed to explain what I have done, and usually try to document new solutions whenever necessary (more than a few of my blog posts have come about that way). Taking copious amounts of notes allows me to work with off-site techs even if I’m no longer onsite, as the notes show me what diagnostics I have performed, and what results they have returned.
  • Take a deep breath
    • When the storm blows around you at its worst, take a few moments to stop and breathe. No one will die from it, and you will be better off for it, working more efficiently, and delivering better results. By doing so, you also allow yourself time to stop and think, instead of biting off the head of the poor guy who has just lost his work, or even worse, your boss.
  • Take a break
    • From time to time, put whatever you are working on down, go outside and look at the world. Sit down and read a few pages of a book, magazine or newspaper. Even changing from one task to a radically different one (say going from user administration to swapping hard drives in a computer) helps. Whatever you do, make sure to take time to get those shoulders down from ear-level to the base of your neck.
  • Listen to some music
    • If listening to music is your thing; do so. Bring an Mp3-player, a radio or play music off your computer. Music can help take your mind off the stress of the job, and help you focus.
  • Leave work at work
    • The most important thing to remember about on-site support, is that, however challenging, difficult or aggravating your client might be, don’t take the stress home with you. That’s not always as easy as saying you’re going to do it, but make an effort. You, your loved ones and your client will all benefit from it.

 
There can be no doubt that on-site support is one of the most challenging jobs for a support tech. You can’t hang up or ignore that email, your client is in the same building (and sometimes even in the same room). Do your best, and keep the above advice in mind. That’s all anyone can expect.

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