1. Collect the Right Metrics
It isn’t enough to say, “People have been complaining,” or, “We hear there are some problems.” You have to collect and analyze the numbers. Is there, in fact, a drop in service levels? Have customer satisfaction ratings plummeted? Are call times dragging out, or hold times creeping upwards? Have the numbers of First Call Resolutions fallen? Get the numbers before approaching your help desk workers. It could be less serious than you thought, or perhaps it’s worse than you believed, but you need to know exactly where you stand before mapping a way out.
2. Establish Clearly Defined Goals
Once you have the metrics in hand, you can draft goals for where performance should be. Are First Call Resolution numbers down in the 60th and 70th percentiles? Set a goal for 80 percent. Make it clear where the team stands as they are and what metrics they will need to meet in order to make things right.
3. Gather the Right Performance Feedback
In addition to tracking the metrics, gather some open-ended feedback from your users and/or customers. This information can be used to address specific issues that get mentioned (such as bad attitudes or poor communications skills), but it can also be used to build morale. Make the good feedback you receive known to the team. Let them know when and where they are doing a good job.
4. Establish a Service Catalog and Self-Help Portal
Customer calls go down and satisfaction levels go up when the services you offer are clear and the customers can get help aside from making a lengthy phone call. An online service catalog is the ideal place for customers to order hardware and services they need without taking up valuable time calling the help desk. A self-help portal allows customers to get the answers they need without taking up a help desk worker’s time on the phone. Reducing the number of calls to the help desk helps the workers stay on top of incoming calls without getting behind.
5. Get the Right Training for Your Help Desk Workers
Properly trained workers can solve more issues and solve issues quicker without having to escalate the problem as frequently. This improves customer service levels, because customers get answers quicker and don’t have to wait for a call back from a higher level service rep. Additionally, it improves the confidence on the help desk, thereby improving morale.
6. Invest in New Technology
Are you empowering your workers with the latest technology? Outdated technology slows down the work process and gives workers less flexibility to handle any given situation. Many of the IT service management operations can be automated now, leaving workers free to handle only the most urgent types of situations.
7. Establish a System of Rewards and Penalties
What can your workers expect if they meet their goals? What should they expect if they fail to meet their goals — either personally or as a team? Rewards and penalties are very effective at improving the behavior of any work team. Just make sure the rewards are worth working for and the penalties are harsh enough to incentivize them to work hard to avoid those.
Finally, give your new plan for improving performance time to work. Nothing can be changed significantly overnight, especially if the changes are to be long lasting.
About Nathan Riley
Nathan Riley is a Sales Director for Samanage. He has seven 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.
Read more articles by Nathan