Any Help Desk is going to have to handle repeat requests (hopefully not always for the same customer – although repeat requests from customers is definitely a metric worth tracking…). There are a few things you can do to help avoid having “repetitive” become “mind-numbing boredom”, while improving the level of service provided to your customers.

The first, and most obvious, thing to do is automate. Many common requests received by the Help Desk can be automated through scripts. Requests like password resets, creating new accounts, permission changes, and provisioning new resources can all be automated.

Who will write these scripts? I’ve always found that this is a great job for the administrators who wish they were spending less time doing break-fix. Not only will they welcome the chance to keep their skills sharp by writing some code, but they’re also most likely the folks with the most knowledge of what needs to be accomplished to meet the particular request.

The second thing to do is document. Not all repeat tasks can be easily automated. Creating “How To” documents or “run books” for your Help Desk staff can make their jobs easier and keep your customers happier. The keys to successful documentation are:

  • Keep it centralized
  • Keep it up to date
  • Make it easily and quickly searchable

A lot of organizations find that setting up an internal Wiki serves this purpose well.

Handling repetitive Help Desk tasks well, whether through automation, documentation, or training, serves both IT and its customers. Help Desk feels more valued if they can help a customer quickly without having to transfer them to someone else. Customers feel better taken care of if the first person they speak to can assist them immediately. Lastly, the fewer repeat tasks that get pushed to other staff, the more time they have to focus on improving the overall environment.

How does your organization handle repetitive requests? What tasks do you see as good candidates for automation?