An IT help desk is essential for many reasons. You can’t reasonably expect all your customers and employees to be IT experts. This means that technical problems will certainly arise. Without somewhere to turn for help, many people can simply be bogged down and rendered inactive. Since a business needs to remain productive, you certainly don’t want that to happen. Still, a poorly-managed help desk is almost as bad as no help desk. Let’s look at 13 practices that can help your IT help desk to function better.
1. Solve Problems On The First Call
Naturally, you want your help desk employees to be efficient and to solve problems as quickly as possible. Otherwise, you will have people jamming up the lines with multiple calls. Also, the more times they call, the angrier they are likely to be. By the time it’s all said and done, you can really save a lot of time by striving to solve those problems on the initial call. Even if you have to put someone on hold, that is preferable to a callback option.
2. Implement A Good SLA Agreement
An SLA (Service-Level Agreement) is a document that clearly spells out the obligations of your help desk employees. These agreements exist so that customers can get a good idea of how long their wait times will be. There should be a guarantee that your team will solve a certain percentage of tickets and a guarantee on waiting time. Obviously, this SLA also allows you to lay out your standards. Thus, when people are expected to adhere to these standards of service, they can’t really complain.
3. Keep An Adequate Staff
No matter what time of the day it might be, you need to have sufficient workers on hand. Tech problems can occur at any time or in any time zone. As such, you must make sure that every time and place is covered. For instance, let’s say your company does business on two sides of the globe (say, the U.S. and Japan, for example). Due to the way these time zones overlap, you would need to have support staff available on a near-constant basis.
4. Choose Your Support Software Carefully
Specialized software is needed for optimized help desk management. This kind of software is usually called ITSM (Information Technology Service Management) software. While it isn’t hard to find these programs, you do need to choose carefully and make sure you get the right one. It is best to choose one with a cloud-based mobile desktop so that your service techs can access the software tools from any location. Help desk workers will often be remote workers, so this is pretty important.
5. Eliminate Data Redundancy
Help desk workers will need to collect some information from the clients, such as their names and any relevant account information. To save time and build an environment of efficiency, you need to make sure that data re-entry does not occur. Normally, help desk workers will be forced to re-enter data if there isn’t good enough coordination between hardware and software tools. For instance, if you keep all that information in a large database, you need to make sure that all your help desk workers can access it easily.
6. Demand The Best People
There are lots of people in the world who claim to be experts regarding computers, the internet, and IT in general. However, no one’s word should be trusted when hiring people for your help desk. You want to look for people that have all the necessary knowledge and certifications to handle those problems like a professional.
7. Use Automation To Save Time
At certain times, there will be a danger of your call center becoming overloaded. When there are too many calls at one time, you will likely lose business. This happens because clogged-up lines will result in much longer wait times, and this can make people impatient very quickly. You can get around this by automating the initial response to each customer. The first few minutes of a call will usually consist of information collection (i.e., what is your name and problem), and an AI can handle that task.
8. Don’t Over-Utilize The AI
This is a caveat to point number 7. Although AI chatbots can be a great way to handle customers at the initial point of contact, you don’t want to go too far with them. These things are great for small and menial tasks, but not so good for complex ones. In the end, people need a real expert to solve their problems, so don’t think that an AI can substitute for that factor.
9. Prioritize Your Service Tickets
A help desk line is meant to benefit both customers and employees. Since the needs of these two groups will be different, you need to do a little sorting and prioritizing. The top priority should always be crucial employee issues, as those can completely halt the whole workflow. For instance, if everyone in your office uses a particular piece of software, support for that software should be a top priority. On the customer end, you should definitely prioritize those with more serious problems, as their calls will take longer to resolve anyway.
10. Use Multiple Points Of Contact
Of course, your help desk line will have a dedicated toll-free phone number. However, you shouldn’t limit yourself to that avenue. Email, text messages, and live chats are also very useful. Your help desk should focus on using all of these platforms together on an as-needed basis. The key is to make yourselves as conveniently available as possible.
11. Courtesy Is King
This might seem obvious, but courteous and polite service is very important for a help desk. You are aiming for maximum ticket resolution, with the ideal thing being a 100% resolution rate. This becomes a lot less realistic once you have angered the customer, as they will be less likely to cooperate. Apart from their technical knowledge, all support staff must be able to interact with customers in a helpful and polite way.
12. Periodic Re-Certification
The world of IT changes a lot, which is why most computers become outdated so quickly. As such, your IT support staff will occasionally need to be re-certified in their chosen fields of expertise. All certifications have expiration dates, so all you need to do is keep track of them.
13. Don’t Forget To Follow Up
Once the ticket has been resolved, there is one final step. You should always follow up with the customer and collect feedback about their user experience. Of course, some people will just hang up when they hear the words “customer survey,” but those who do respond will help you to gauge the effectiveness of your operation.
A well-managed help desk is one of the best ways to aid customer retention, as a happy customer will tend to come back. If you follow all 13 of the practices listed above, it should be much easier for you to keep those people happy and keep everything running efficiently. If you would like more information about this subject, you can always call PCH Technologies at (856) 754-7500.