When it comes to the education industry, IT support is a vital function to enable the business. A university or a school campus/district is a big distributed network with end-users (students & faculty) and IT equipment distributed over different sites and locations. The reality for education industry in most cases is that IT departments are not well endowed with budget and human resources to tackle this unique support challenge. So, it comes down to doing the best IT can with what they have and how efficiently they manage and deliver customer service.

 

HDI, an association for technical service and support professionals and organizations, published a research brief about customer service in the higher education industry. Here are some interesting findings.

 

The staffing ratios in higher education tell us about how many end-users are being supported for every IT support staff.

Size of the Organization

Staff to End-User Ratio

Small (< 2,000 end-users)

1:67

Medium (2,000-10,000) end-users

1:500

Large (> 10,000 end-users)

1:2,340

 

With increasing ticket volumes attributed to new applications and systems, new equipment and devices, and the number of customers supported, it is a definite challenge for higher education support centers to ensure they implement the right tools and techniques to help them improve time and efficacy of support delivery.

 

SUPPORT CHANNELS ONE TOO MANY

It’s a very interesting to find that there is still a lot of walk-up, phone and email channels use for logging service requests. Even though it may simpler for the end-users to do so, these channels do not make the process simpler and consistent to capture trouble tickets. IT pros will more often than not follow up to get additional information, spend time converting these into actual help desk tickets, etc. This is an extremely time-consuming job for the support staff. They should be spending more time towards resolving tickets than managing them.

Support Channel Used

Percentage of Organizations Using the Channel

Phone

96%

Email

94%

Walk-up

75%

Chat

33%

Social Media

10%

  

With an effective ticketing management system with centralized service request Web portals for end-users, all the time and management hassles in each of the channels above can be greatly reduced.

 

TECHNOLOGY IS YOUR FRIEND

As reported by the support centers in higher education, incident management (#1), knowledge management (#2), and remote control (#3) are essential to providing successful end-user support. Most organizations are understanding need for the right technology, the affordable technology to ensure their support centers get the automation support as needed. This will certainly help boost the efficiency of support delivery.

  • 87% of higher education support centers are using incident management systems
  • 90% of support centers are using remote control technology
  • 65% are already using knowledge management systems, and 18% are planning to add them

Other popular IT service management systems used by higher education support centers are: IT asset management (53.4%), customer sat surveying (72%), and self-service (62%).

 

HELP DESK CAN HELP YOU

What support centers need, to manage a growing network of end-users and rising support tickets, is a cost-effective investment in an all-round tool for IT service management such as a help desk software that provides a wide array of support for incident management, problem management, IT asset management, change management, knowledge management and more. Instead of shifting gears each time and managing multiple systems, a single, central help desk solution will help

  • Automate support tasks
  • Eliminate the need to manually perform repetitive tasks
  • Unify and streamline ticket submission and service request creation
  • Increase time-to-resolution
  • And, above all, improve the efficiency of customer service

 

Read the full HDI research brief: Improving Efficiency & Customer Service in Higher Education »