A Day in the Life: Service Desk Agent


“I’m feeling a little downhearted, I really want to help the customer with their issue and get this fixed. So I make a conscious decision to tell the customer I will escalate his issue directly with the team responsible so that this gets picked up as soon as possible so that he is not left waiting. I was delighted to see the next day that the team had responded and had fixed the issue.”

By Service Desk Team Lead, Patrick Neal-Wright

The day where I will work as a Service Desk agent arrived, I’d promised the team I would return to my roots for a day and join them on the front line. From the get-go my day was beginning very differently. I wake up earlier but still don’t have time for a coffee and make my way to work to arrive at the office for 6:50am. The usual service desk crowd are already there, all smiles and ready for the day at hand.  

First things first, let’s see how the previous shift went. The night shift workers are on a Teams call, ready to handover any info we may need. Luckily for us, the night has been quiet, and they do not have much to mention. They did have one scare of a major Incident early in the night though when some monitoring alerts were received, but after thankfully after a thorough investigation these lead to nothing.  

Now it’s time for me to understand what I am doing today. I look to my senior agent of the day who has a list ready and waiting for me. Today I will be taking calls for our main customer, focusing on reviewing all our open tickets and getting these escalated if needed. During my downtime I will work on knowledge-based articles. I see that in our knowledge base we have 92 knowledge articles need updating so these will get my attention today. 

Next, I go to the open ticket review and begin work on all our open tickets. We are in a good place; most tickets have a good update in them.  

Two hours pass and I have yet to take a phone call. This is unusual, usually on a weekday an agent would get at least 5 calls in a day and most of those are in the morning. During this time, I have been able to fix a few tickets from the open ticket review, call a customer from our call back list and escalated a list of tickets that need attention from 3rd level teams. Open ticket review is complete.  

Suddenly, my phone rings, I have my first call of the day! 

“Hello, my account seems to keep locking, I only reset my password recently and called up previously, but my account is locked again” 

The customer sounds understandably frustrated, and I think I know what the cause is.  

“Not a problem, let me take a look at that for you and see what we can do to fix your issue” 

The team around me are listening in, waiting for opportunity to provide their ideas and what could be the cause of the issue, however, I think I know what to do. With confidence, I open the knowledge base and search for “Account keeps locking”. There, I am presented with an article, that refers me to the events that can lead up to a repeat lock of someone’s account. I am referred to another tool whereby I can view log in traffic and the reasons for bad attempts of logging and exactly why the attempts failed. Immediately, I can see the issue. I can see that there is a long list of events that have happened not 2 minutes between one another in a 2-hour period. These attempts are bad password attempts that eventually lead to the customer account being locked

“So, I believe I have found the root cause of your issue, are you in the office?”  

After the customer confirms this, I am able to advise him that he has another device that is using an old password for his company account that is constantly re-signing in trying to authenticate against the corporate network Wi-Fi.  

We realised that it was on his phone so, after “forgetting the office Wi-Fi” on his mobile device, he is able to confirm that he is once again up and running and his account is no longer being locked. I can also see that through my system.  

Riding high on my first time fix, I celebrate with the team and then continue to work. There’re not many tickets are coming through so now is the perfect time to work on the knowledge queue. I start to review the knowledge and update anything that needs it and retire anything that is no longer valid. Another 4 hours pass and the knowledge list to be reviewed is now gone! 

At this point I am really happy, I have been able to work with the team to confirm the knowledge, and ultimately ensure that the information we hold is relevant. A very worthwhile exercise.  

During the afternoon, I start to feel a little lethargic. I have only received one call today. I have worked on cases for multiple customers and been able to complete all bits of my work. I look at the time and see its half past 4. I would usually be on my way home, if not home already by now! I know that I am working until 7 pm so I will take myself for another break to recharge and get some time away from my screen so I can work again. Just as I am about to do so, another call comes through!  

This time, the call is not so simple. My customer is having issues with a system that monitors and tracks flight information, and I know this is important to him. After performing some triage, I can determine that the issue is localised to him and that his machine is running extremely slow. Unfortunately, I am unable to help any further. We have tried the standard “turn it off and on again” and have explored more technical avenues such as task manager process and CPU runtime. It is obvious looking at the intensiveness of the application that the machine is having a hard time coping and so I need to get this escalated to the application owners. I once again opt to consult my knowledge base and am able to find the people I need to fix the issue.  

At this point, I am feeling a little downhearted, I really want to help the customer with their issue and get this fixed. It is so close the Christmas and I know that given the priority of the ticket, and the issue itself there is a good chance this will not be picked up until after the Christmas break. So, in response to this, I make a conscious decision to tell the customer I will escalate his issue directly with the team responsible so that this gets picked up as soon as possible so that he is not left waiting. I was delighted to see the next day that the team had responded and had fixed the issue.  

Closing the call, I then take my break and have some time to think. I wind down for 15 minutes and get back to work. The team get together and talk about the day, discuss any further tickets or process we think could improve or be better.  

Finally, it’s time to do the handover document, ready for the meeting at 6:50pm. I fill in all the events for the day, the key information the shift needs to be aware of and send off my form.  

The night shift team arrive, and we have our meeting when midway through I receive my final call for the day! My colleagues jump into action and take over talking through the shift while I handle the call. Luckily for me, the call is just a password reset, which is fairly simple to do. I talk the customer through this and ensure they are up and running with their new password before I leave. The customer confirms she is happy, and I am done for the day!  

It was good to go back to where I started at IT Naturally and get stuck in again with the team as an agent. I think it’s really healthy for the agents to see their Team Leader do the job they are doing. This way I can lead by example but also show them I am willing to muck in and do what needs to be done. 

My key takeaways from doing the job of a service desk agent are:  

  • The team are always available to help 
  • Nobody leaves a call unresolved or without a clear path forward 
  • There is always work to be done 
  • A 12-hour shift is very tiring, it is important to have regular breaks away from the screen and to drink plenty