Your business success depends on the people you hire and their ability to perform their job at their highest level. When they get bogged down with technical issues and IT service desk delays, your business suffers.
Whether you maintain your own internal IT help desk or outsource it to a managed services provider (MSP), you should know what qualities make a great IT help desk. Your business depends on it.
Though there are some minor differences between an IT help desk and an IT service desk, they are used interchangeably throughout here.
Start With the Right People
Investing the time and energy to hire the right people to staff your IT help desk – “the right person in the right seat” – is the most important thing you can do. Of course, they need to possess some technical skills but those can be trained.
Focus first on hiring candidates who are customer service oriented. They should be personable, steady under pressure, curious, a sense of empathy and committed to being a problem solver. Do they reflect the values of your organization?
The beauty of hiring the right people is you can empower them and trust they will do the right things for your customers and your organization.
Give Them the Right Tools
Good people with the proper tools are a powerful combination. It starts with a robust, reliable ticketing system that captures and prioritizes requests and tracks them through resolution.
A documentation system that captures everything unique to your network environment and logs issue histories means your help desk can more quickly resolve issues that do arise.
Use Data to Continuously Improve
Make sure your help desk is measuring a variety key performance indicators such as, calls per technical agent, first call resolution, turnaround time and client satisfaction.
Keep those metrics front and center with your help desk team so the focus is always on how to improve the client experience.
Demonstrate a Customer First Attitude
This aligns with hiring the right people to staff your IT help desk but it is much more than that. Does management expect and support the importance of delivering top notch customer service?
IT help desks should solicit regular client feedback, value customer complaints and take action to resolve any systemic service issues. Then let them know you heard them and took action to make things better (see next).
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
A big reason people become frustrated with using their IT help desk is they often don’t know what’s happening when they ask for assistance. They submit a ticket request, yet they may not know if it was recorded, whether it was assigned to anyone, know when it will be handled or when they can expect it to be resolved.
Most people can wait patiently if they know someone is working on the issue, understand why it may take longer than expected and that they are committed to seeing it through to the end.
Transparency with the client should be valued though it’s not often demonstrated by many IT help desks.
Expect Service Consistency
When you submit a ticket for an issue you or your team are experiencing, you should have a good idea when someone will get in touch with you to start working on it. IT help desks should have service level agreements (SLAs) that set expectations when a tech will begin working on your issue based on the level of severity, impact or importance to the business.
Service consistency can also be a challenge when IT people leave the company which will happen. If your IT desk assigns only one person to a client or account, you may risk the loss of a lot of knowledge about your technical situation if that person moves on. It is another form of “single point of failure” risk. A teams-based approach to service and proper documentation processes can minimize any potential disruption that might emerge if a tech leaves the company.
Maintain a Proactive Approach
A well-run help IT service desk anticipates problems rather than waiting to react to them. This is good for both the client organization and for the IT service desk. It reduces potential problems for the client and minimizes the total effort required from the service desk.
This may include anything from helping the organization plan their technology needs based on their business goals to applying patches and updates to their systems to avoid any downtime or security vulnerabilities.
The help desk’s role should be is to ensure the company’s IT runs at peak efficiency, otherwise it risks being seen as just an overhead expense to be managed.
Make Your IT Help Desk a Competitive Advantage
Most companies today have a heavy reliance on their IT systems to market, sell, produce, distribute and financially manage their business. The very best performers leverage technology to their advantage over their competitors. As such, they need a high performing IT service desk to ensure their tech is running at peak efficiency.
Is your IT help desk keeping your business running at peak efficiency? If not, it may be time for a change. And if so, keep these qualities of a great IT help desk in mind.
What’s Holding You Back (from changing you IT provider)?
Why Not Deciding is a Bad Decision (to change your IT provider)