Is your IT service desk always ahead of the situation, fixing problems before they become issues, staying on top of user and customer needs, and offering ways for customers to help themselves, thereby saving the IT department time and money? Or, is your service desk always behind, constantly reacting to problems that are already unfolding, and barely aware of the users’ and customers’ needs until the phone is ringing and complaints are pouring in?
If you’re like 67 percent of service desks, you’re more like the latter of these two. That’s being reactive instead of proactive. What does it take to be proactive?
Set Up Automation and System Monitoring
Application monitoring and an automated help desk allow your workers transparency into the system, users, and operations, so that they can see where bottlenecks are and predict when the heaviest loads will occur which means they can be proactive in keeping things running smoothly. Look for a full set of features when selecting automation software, including asset management software to track both hardware and software issues.
Provide Self-Service Portals for Users & Customers
The more self service you can offer your users and customers, the less time the help desk will spend handling questions and common issues one by one. Self service portals should include several easy, intuitive ways to find the information the user wants. Be sure it isn’t written in technical jargon. Make it plain and simple so that non-techie users and customers can navigate it easily. You can further power your self-serve portal by including a knowledge base where you can include viable work-around solutions for frequent issues that have no known solution. Adding a FAQ page to your website can also deflect lots of questions, freeing up your help desk for other tasks.
Track Comments on Social Media
Social media is often the first place where chatter about an issue comes up. Be sure that your service desk has someone assigned to monitor all of the popular social media platforms to look for comments on your pages, hashtags, and other indicators that people are talking about you. What are they saying? Are they talking about long wait times or confusion about your website? Or, are they saying great things about your products? In this day and age, social media might be the first stop for proactive help desks, even before customers start calling or emailing to voice their complaints.
Notify Users and Customers of Outages
A proactive company always notifies their customers of an outage or potential outage instead of waiting for customers to discover it on their own. This saves the customer time and effort, and also gives the impression that your folks are on the ball and know what they’re doing, even when there is a problem going on. Just remember to notify them again when the problem is resolved so that they can go back to business as usual.
Being proactive saves time, improves productivity, and lowers costs. Additionally, it helps workers avoid burnout caused by stress from dealing with problems reactively all the time. A proactive help desk has a higher employee retention rate, higher rate of job satisfaction, and better customer satisfaction ratings
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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