For too long, the service desk has labored under heavy workloads, tremendous user demands, and pressure from management to “do a better job serving the customers.” Best practices rarely involve anything that actually helps reduce the stress on the service desk: most suggestions revolve around doing more work with fewer resources. Until now! Here is your cheat sheet for saving time, boosting productivity, and giving those tech workers a little breathing room.
1. Establish Self-Service Portals
Your team already has a long list of known issues and questions that are asked over and over and over and over … Set up a knowledge base with the issues and answers your team is aware of. Establish a self-service portal where users can log in and find the answers they need (without bugging your staff, but shhh! Don’t tell anybody that part.)
Another option is to set up an enterprise social media platform where users can get quick answers from each other as well as what the IT team has provided. The one downside to this option is that users sometimes give really bad advice. Weigh the pros and cons in your organization.
2. Define the Procedure for Contacting the IT Service Desk
Some problems will still need to go to the service desk, but don’t make it so easy. Users will inevitably abuse the privilege by calling the service desk for issues that can be resolved with just the tiniest bit of thought. Printers out of ink, monitors that got unplugged while someone was on vacation, and glitches requiring a simple reboot all come to mind.
Either set up a list of procedures users must go through before calling the help desk, or require that only supervisors are allowed to contact the help desk on the users’ behalf. Most supervisors are able to identify and correct silly little problems, eliminating the unnecessary workload on the IT staff.
3. Take Advantage of Remote Sessions on Users’ Computers
Another time saver is the ability to log onto a user’s computer remotely, cutting out the need for IT workers to physically visit the user’s machine to fix most problems. Modern remote session tools are affordable (often free) and easy to use.
4. Set Time Limits for Ticket Resolution
How long do your service desk employees toil at a problem before just re-installing Windows or passing the ticket up to a higher-level IT staffer? Set a time limit for resolving tickets (say 20-30 minutes) and establish a procedure to follow if the problem can’t be resolved in that length of time.
5. Track the Ticket Histories of Both Systems and Users
Even the most basic asset management solutions will track the ticket history of machines and allow you to identify those with frequent, recurring problems. But the modern, advanced asset management software also allows you to track the users. Then you can identify Betty in sales (who has called no fewer than 15 times in the last 6 weeks for the same problem, to which she already knows the answer) and Euclid in accounting (who insists on contacting the service desk weekly for problems with the air conditioning system).
6. Eliminate Unnecessary Meetings
Does your team have a regular meeting each morning, every week, or monthly — whether there is anything to discuss or not? Stop. Reserve meetings when there is actually something to discuss. You’ll find that 99% of issues can be worked out quickly and easily via email. Nobody needs more busywork.
7. Utilize Prepared Responses to Common Users’ Issues
All of the questions you get repeatedly can be handled breezily by generating canned email or chat responses. IT workers can use these as a template to build a more personalized message to the user, or can just click ‘Send’ and satisfy the user’s request without even thinking about it.
8. Insist That Everyone Sticks to Policies and Procedures
None of these ideas actually save any time unless followed. Don’t let users begin to slip around the rules, or you’ll soon find that the service desk is backed up and stressed out once more. Set up the policies and insist that users follow procedures.
Enabling your team with excellent help desk software is a great way to keep users in check.
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