You are responsible for running your company's help desk. So, you have some number of IT technicians working on resolving help desk tickets. This approach may be the norm, but is it really good enough for truly successful help desk service? While the sheer number of tickets is ever increasing, the types and complexities of help desk tickets grow exponentially as well. In the wake of this growth, consistently meeting SLAs and improving customer service is clearly not getting any easier.
What you need is not more help desk staff, but rather some wise counsel to help you plan, optimize, and execute your current help desk services smartly and effectively. Let’s take a look at some best practices:
#1 Plan Ahead & Institute a Structured Workflow
Simply put, this is the most fundamental step for the success of any help desk implementation. You need to know the ins and outs of your help desk strategy. So, start by planning a structured workflow of:
- How you intend to assign a technician to a ticket
- How the ticket is going to be escalated
- How the communication with the end-user is going to be established
- How to implement the ticket approval process
You need to define reasonable service level agreements, appropriate support levels, and good business logic for ticket routing and assignment. Planning only begins here.
#2 Know Your IT Environment
You need to know your IT environment, your end-users and their designated assets, because they are the source of your IT tickets. You need to have quick access to details of user accounts, as well as your enterprise hardware and software equipment. Start by:
- Integrating your help desk solution with your corporate Active Directory®
- Importing all your assets and IT inventory into your help desk software
#3 Simplify & Automate Your Help Desk Tasks
So many help desk activities are done manually by support staff. Manual task completion costs time and effort and leaves room for human error. Employ automation techniques for:
- Simplifying ticket creation
- Ticket assignment, routing, and escalation
- Performing specific ticketing actions for predefined event conditions
- Alerting and notification of ticket closure or breached SLAs
#4 Communicate with Your End-Users
Your customers need to know the status and progress of their help desk ticket at any given point. Prompt communication contributes to improved customer satisfaction and involves keeping your customer updated on:
- Initial ticket acknowledgement
- Technician assignment
- Expected turnaround (based on SLAs)
- Course of resolution or remediation steps
- Escalation and approvals
- Notification or query back to the customer
- Ticket resolution and closure
Your help desk software could serve as an effective medium of easy information exchange between the support staff and the end-user.
#5 Help Your Customers Help Themselves
There are many issues your customers can resolve themselves when provided with the right self-service resources. So, build an easily searchable knowledge base (KB) to provide both your customers and technicians quick resolutions to frequently encountered problems.
You can provide FAQs and technical tips to address specific issues, then tag them to align with specific ticket fields that point the user to the associated KB article when those fields are populated by the user.
#6 Monitor the Performance of Your Support Staff
You should consider monitoring and analyzing the performance of your help desk technicians over time. This will help you measure the team’s service levels and workload management and isolate critical issues requiring more support resources. Scheduled, ongoing performance reports will help to provide additional insight.
#7 Survey Your Customers
Do you know how satisfied your end-users are? At the end of the day, it’s customer satisfaction that defines the success of your help desk service. Surveying your customers on a regular basis will help you get a better understanding of your technician’s performance, any potential bottlenecks in workflow, and root causes of repeating issues.
Running a help desk can be a cinch when you do things the right way—the efficient way—using the right tools to simplify your complex ticketing tasks. This will buy you back some much-needed time and make you look like an IT superstar in front of your happy customers (not to mention your boss).