No one on your IT team interacts more with users than the people who run your help desk. Make help desk interactions good for users – and good for your IT help desk team – with these five tips.
1. Make Interaction Easy
Go beyond email and a call station and give users plenty of ways to interact with you. Implement chat, and integrate your help desk with enterprise social media if you have that option. Users may need to use mobile devices to get in touch with you – for example, when they’re working from home and having difficulty gaining VPN access – so consider developing a mobile app or using your office collaboration suite (e.g., Office 365) to make your help desk always available.
Good interaction isn’t just about channels. It’s also about good conversations. Train staff to speak to users in everyday language and avoid technical jargon. Even though it’s tempting to copy and paste scripted responses, encourage staff to communicate in their own words. Users should feel they’re talking to a human at all times, and they should understand the problem and its solution.
2. Employ Enough Staff Members, and Empower Them
Whether it’s waiting a long time for the initial reply or being put on hold because staff can’t make decisions, users have little patience for delays in service that keep them from doing their jobs. In addition to having enough staff for average workdays, hire enough technicians to deliver consistent quality of service during busier seasons. During slower seasons, use the downtime to tackle new workflows or solve long-term problems.
Also, don’t make your technicians ask managers permission for everything they want to do while leaving a user waiting for a resolution. Empower them to make their own decisions by showing them how you think through problems so they can imitate your process on their own.
3. Take Advantage of Automation
Automating as many help desk processes as possible saves time for your team and increases user satisfaction. Users should be able to email your support desk, for example, and receive an auto-generated response containing a support ticket number even if you can’t answer immediately. Automate processes like surveys and follow-ups to gather more feedback without having to do more work.
4. Create Self-Help Solutions
In addition to increasing user satisfaction, ease your workload by offering self-help options. Set up an easy link or button for self-service password reset. Offer an online form for borrowing equipment. Provide an easy-to-navigate, searchable knowledge center to help users troubleshoot common equipment or software problems before they contact you.
5. Review Your Performance
Take the time to understand how well your IT help desk team performs. Review customer feedback, and make appropriate changes based on what you learn. Although you may not track every metric, track the ones that users think are most important. If users consistently complain that it takes too long to get an initial response to a chat or email, track time to first reply – and shorten it.
A help desk software solution with real-time dashboards makes it easier to track how you’re doing without the extra work of creating and distributing reports. Download our white paper: How World-Class Service Desks Use Benchmarking for Continuous Improvement.
About Nathan Riley
Nathan Riley is a Sales Director, ITSM at SolarWinds. He has nine years experience in the industry, and has had a front row seat for the evolution of service management as a platform for the entire organization. He helps organizations ranging from SMB to Fortune 500 bring customized service to employees. Nathan proudly served the United States Armed Forces in the United States Marine Corps.
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