Help Desk (FBLA)

Category: Objective Test & Role Play
Type: Individual


Two (2) parts: an objective test and interactive role play or presentation. A 60-minute objective test will be administered onsite at the NLC.

Objective Test Competencies: Communication; Help Desk Operations and Procedures; Customer Management; Support Center Infrastructure and Procedures; Professional Career and Leadership Skills

Case: An interactive role-play scenario will be given based on customer service in the technical field.

Skills: This event provides recognition for FBLA members who demonstrate an understanding of and ability to provide technical assistance to end users. The ability to provide technical assistance to the users of computer hardware and software is essential to the success of any organization and its continued operation.


Event Specific

Performance Guidelines—Final Round
  • Two (2) 4"x6" note cards will be provided to each competitor and may be used during event preparation and performance. Information may be written on both sides of the note cards. Note cards will be collected following the presentation.
  • No additional reference materials allowed.
  • Individuals should introduce themselves, describe the situation, make their recommendations, and summarize their cases.
  • All questions raised in the case must be addressed during the presentation.
  • Objective test scores will be used to break a tie.
  • Final performances are not open to conference attendees.
Penalty Points Deducted by Judges
  • Five (5) points are deducted if competitors do not follow the dress code.
  • Five (5) points may be deducted for not following guidelines.
General Performance/Demonstration

Performance Guidelines

Fifteen (15) competitors/teams—or an equal number from each section in the preliminary round—will advance to the final round. When there are more than five preliminary sections for an event, two competitors/ teams from each section will advance to the final round.

In the case of team events, all team competitors are expected to actively participate in the performance/demonstration.

Competitors cannot be replaced or substituted for prejudged events with the exception of the chapter events—American Enterprise Project, Community Service Project, Local Chapter Annual Business Report, and Partnership with Business Project.

All competitors must comply with the FBLA‑PBL dress code.

Prejudged materials and résumés will not be returned.

Technology Guidelines

  • The following will be provided for the final round of technology presentation/demonstration events that allow viewing: screen, power, table, and projector. It is up to final round competitors to decide if they wish to use the provided technology.
  • Competitors utilizing Apple products or other devices that do not have a VGA port or HDMI will need to provide their own adapters.
  • Internet access will be provided for:
    • 3-D Animation
    • Coding & Programming
    • Computer Game & Simulation Programming
    • Digital Video Production
    • E-business
    • Electronic Career Portfolio
    • Mobile Application Development
    • Public Service Announcement
    • Social Media Campaign
    • Website Design
  • Internet access may not be WiFi, so competitors should plan appropriately when selecting laptops/tablets on which to present.

Performance Competencies

  • Demonstrate excellent verbal communication.
  • Display effective decision-making and problem-solving skills.
  • Express self-confidence and poise.
  • Work well as a team when applicable.
  • Exhibit logic and systematic understanding.
  • Conduct a professional business presentation.
  • Answer questions effectively (when applicable).

Penalty Points Deducted by Judges

  • Five (5) points are deducted if competitors do not follow the dress code.
  • Five (5) points may be deducted for presentations over the allotted time.
  • Five (5) points may be deducted for not following guidelines.


  • Preliminary performances/demonstrations are not open to conference attendees.
  • Final performances/demonstrations may be open to conference attendees, space permitting (with the exception of interview and prep/case events). Finalists may not view other competitors’ performances/demonstrations in their event.
  • Recording performances/demonstrations is prohibited.
  • All electronic devices must be turned off.
  • All attendees must follow the dress code and wear their name badges.

The general event guidelines below are applicable to all national competitive events. Please review and follow these guidelines when competing at the national level. When competing at the state level, check the state guidelines since they may differ.


  • Dues: Competitors must have paid FBLA national and state dues by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on April 1 of the current school year.
  • NLC Registration: Participants must be registered for the NLC and pay the national conference registration fee in order to participate in competitive events.
  • Deadlines: The state chair, or designee, must register each state competitor on the official online entry forms by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the second Friday in May.
  • Each state may submit four (4) entries in all events except LifeSmarts, Virtual Business Finance Challenge, and Virtual Business Management Challenge.
  • Each competitor can only compete in one (1) individual/ team event and one (1) chapter event.
  • Each competitor must compete in all parts of an event for award eligibility.
  • A team shall consist of two or three members. Exceptions are Parliamentary Procedure which must be a team of four or five members, and LifeSmarts which must be a team of two members.
  • All members of a team must consist of individuals from the same chapter.

Repeat Competitors

Competitors are not permitted to compete in an event more than once at the national level unless one of the following circumstances applies:

  • Modified Events: A competitor may compete in the same event when the event is modified. Note, if the only modification is a name change, competitors may not compete in the renamed event.
  • Team Events: One (1) competitor of the team may have competed in the same event at one (1) previous NLC; however, they may not compete more than twice in the event at the national level.
  • Chapter Events: Competitors may compete in a chapter event more than once (American Enterprise Project, Community Service Project, and Partnership with Business Project).
  • Individual Entry: A competitor who competed as an individual entry in a team event at the national level may compete in the same event a second time as part of a team, but not a second time as an individual.
  • Parliamentary Procedure: Two (2) competitors of the team may have competed in this event at a previous NLC; however, they may not compete more than twice at the national level.
  • Pilot Event: Competition in a pilot event does not disqualify a competitor from competing in the same event if it becomes an official competitive event. The participant may compete in another event as well as a pilot event.

Breaking Ties

  • Objective Tests: Ties are broken by comparing the correct number of answers to the last 10 questions on the exam. If a tie remains, the competitor who completed the test in a shorter amount of time will place higher. If this does not break the tie, answers to the last 20 questions will be reviewed and determine the winner.
  • Objective and Production Tests: The production test scores will be used to break a tie.
  • Objective Tests and Performances: The objective test score will be used to break a tie based on the tie-breaking criteria of objective tests.
  • Reports/Projects and Performances: The report/project scores will be used to break a tie.
  • Performances: Judges must break ties and all judges’ decisions are final.

National Deadlines

  • State chair/adviser must register all competitors for NLC competitive events online by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the second Friday in May.
  • All prejudged components (report PDFs, resume/letter of application PDFs, and project URLs) must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the second Friday in May.
  • All URLs and PDFs for prejudged projects and reports will be submitted by the state adviser via the competitive events registration form.
  • All production tests must be received at FBLA-PBL by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the third Friday in May.
  • All production tests must be uploaded online.
  • State chair/adviser may make name changes only (no additional entries) by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the first Friday in June. Competitor drops are the only changes allowed after this date and onsite.

National Awards

The number of competitors will determine the number of winners. The maximum number of winners for each competitive event is 10. Only one (1) award is given to the schools competing in chapter events (American Enterprise Project, Community Service Project, Local Chapter Annual Business Report, and Partnership with Business Project).

Additional Materials

Certain events may allow the use of additional materials. Please refer to event guidelines.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

FBLA‑PBL meets the criteria specified in the Americans with Disabilities Act for all participants who submit a special needs form.

Recording of Presentations

No unauthorized audio or video recording devices will be allowed in any competitive event. Participants in the performance events should be aware the national association reserves the right to record any performance for use in study or training materials.


General Competitive Events Tips
Event Tips
Sample Practice Materials
    Video #1

Rating Sheet

Format Guide

Website Resources
1. Identify considerations for effective use of email communication.
2. Explain techniques for cross cultural communication.
3. Identify the impacts of language barriers when communicating with customers.
4. Identify options used for language assistance and explain when to obtain assistance when supporting a customer whose primary language is different than your own.
5. Define emotional intelligence and explain why emotional intelligence is important to the role of a CSR.
6. Describe an emotional hijack and explain the impact of an emotional hijack on self and customers.
7. Explain the principles and benefits of active listening.
8. Define paraphrasing.
9. Identify barriers of active listening.
10. Describe how to match a customer’s communication style and the importance of doing so.
11. List the steps of the communication process.
12. Explain the difference between deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning.
13. . Explain the difference between open-ended and closed-ending questioning.
Help Desk Operations and Procedures
1. Identify ways to promote the image of the support center.
2. Define policy and list the purpose of organizational policies.
3. Explain the role of the support center and list the responsibilities of the support center in meeting the needs of its customers.
4. Explain the value of the support center to the organization.
5. Identify common measurements used in support centers and describe how these are used.
6. List the reasons for logging all incidents or service requests.
7. Identify what information should be documented for incidents.
8. List the benefits of documentation, such as spelling and capturing complete thoughts.
9. List behaviors to avoid when documenting incidents.
10. Explain creative thinking and critical thinking and why they are important for problem solving.
11. Describe escalation and identify when to escalate.
12. Define up-selling.
13. Define cross-selling.
14. Identify the benefits of up-selling and cross-selling.
Customer Management
1. Identify ways a CSR can deliver consistent, quality customer service.
2. Define incident and explain the purpose of the Incident Management process.
3. List and explain the value and activities of the Incident Management process.
4. Describe the responsibilities of the CSR in the Incident Management process.
5. Define service request and explain the purpose of the Request Fulfillment process.
6. List and explain the value and activities of the Request Fulfillment process.
7. Describe the responsibilities of the CSR in the Request Fulfillment process.
8. List best practices for customer management during the Incident Management process.
9. Explain the benefits of using the customer’s name during the call.
10. Identify techniques for keeping the customer’s attention focused on the resolution.
11. Identify habits and situations to avoid when interacting with a customer.
12. List the steps for putting a customer on hold and for transferring a call.
13. List the steps for closing a call.
14. List the benefits of customer management.
15. List strategies for establishing effective relationships with customers.
16. Define customer differentiating.
17. Define customer competency and describe four customer competency levels.
18. Identify ways to adapt to customer competency levels and encourage and/or praise incident solving attempts by the customer.
19. List principles of negotiating with a customer.
20. Explain the difference between assertiveness, aggressiveness and passiveness.
21. List common customer emotions or actions a representative may have to deal with.
22. Explain the difference between empathy and sympathy.
23. Identify signs that a conflict is developing.
24. Explain why demonstrating confidence is important and list techniques for doing this over the phone.
25. Identify techniques that reduce and eliminate conflict.
26. Identify strategies to use when handling an irate customer.
27. Identify strategies to use when handling an emotional customer.
28. Identify strategies to use when handling a rambling customer.
29. List steps to disengage from a customer who refuses to disengage.
30. Explain the importance of keeping the customer informed of changes in status.
31. List the steps for providing live status updates to customers.
32. Explain the steps for leaving a voicemail status update.
33. Identify the characteristics of providing consistent service.
34. Identify the characteristics of excellent customer service.
Support Center Infrastructure and Procedures
1. Identify common technologies used in the support center.
2. Explain the difference between public branch exchange (PBX) and automatic call distribution (ACD) systems.
3. Define computer telephony integration (CTI).
4. Define procedure.
5. Define quality assurance.
6. Describe the types of quality assurance programs typically used in a support center.
7. Identify mechanisms for call monitoring.
8. Explain the importance of customer satisfaction surveys.
9. Describe the three most common types of surveys and the importance of each type.
10. Explain the purpose of the security management process.
11. Identify types of security policies.
12. List types of data that should be protected.
13. Explain the importance of reporting security compromises.
Professional Career and Leadership Skills
1. Identify the characteristics of an effective leader.
2. Identify ways to exhibit personal accountability.
3. Describe ethical behavior in support center.
4. Identify strategies for multitasking in a support environment.
5. Explain how to manage the use of your time efficiently.
6. List ideas for staying informed about industry trends and best practices.
7. List responsibilities of a CSR.
8. Explain the objectives and benefits of teamwork.
9. Identify characteristics of successful teams and define responsibilities of team members.
10. List techniques for establishing effective relationships with other departments.
11. Define stress and identify its causes.
12. List common physical symptoms of stress and list techniques for managing stress.
13. Identify the characteristics of a positive service attitude.
14. List the benefits of a positive service attitude.


NBEA Standards
  • Communication
  • Information Technology
Career Clusters
  • Arts, A/V Technology, & Communication
  • Business Management & Administration
  • Human Services
  • Information Techology
  • S.T.E.M.


States may submit up to 4 entries.
Competitors must be registered for NLC and pay registration fee.
Competitors must pay dues by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on April 1.


The top fifteen (15) scoring individuals advance to the final round.


Test: 1 hour
Prep: 10 min
Equipment Setup: N/A
Performance: 5 min
Warning: 4 min
Time Up: 5 min
Penalty Over Time: N/A
Q & A: N/A