Best Help Desk Practices for IT Professionals

An IT help desk is the critical link between your users and the various teams that develop and support the IT systems they use every day. Help desks can take a variety of forms. They can be physical locations where employees go to provide in-person support. They may also be telephone call centers and virtual support functions. While the engagement method may be different, the way your organization manages each of these help desk operations (the processes the help desk follows and the systems it uses) is similar.

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The Goal of an IT Helpdesk

Your company has an IT help desk to provide support services to your employees, assist them with questions as well as problems, and meet needs regarding technical devices and services necessary to complete daily business operations. In modern business environments, technology plays an important role in enabling productivity, managing corporate and customer data, and advancing business processes. When technology fails, the customer needs access to new technology. The same is true when something changes in the technology environment, as such changes can have a big impact on whether your employees can perform their jobs effectively. The goal of your IT help desk is to provide information, resources and knowledgeable staff to help your employees resolve their technical issues so they can quickly resume their normal work activities.

#1 Start with the existing process

When deploying help desk management software, most companies think of building the infrastructure from scratch. So, they leave their existing processes and create a new process. Such companies need to retrain their service team and familiarize them with the new procedures. This wastes a lot of time on training.

It can also confuse customers who are used to the existing system. It is therefore better to integrate help desk software with an existing system. The software can be used to streamline and simplify existing processes.

If you use help desk management software while keeping your existing processes, you won’t have to train your employees. Instead, your staff can spend more time on quality conversations with end users.

#2 Hire qualified technicians

Skilled technicians who can quickly resolve IT issues enable help desk teams to run smoothly. If problems are repeatedly referred to the top technicians simply because the lower-level technicians don’t know how to solve the problem, time and resources will be wasted.

If finding competent technicians is an issue, consider creating documentation on how to solve common problems and focus on regular training. Alternatively, companies can work with experienced managed services providers (MSPs) to jointly manage some help desk or IT support needs and free up your team for higher-value IT projects.

#3 Establish a knowledge base

Having a useful knowledge base contains all the how-to guides, troubleshooting steps, and answers to common questions for your help desk team. When you document this important knowledge in one central location, your technicians can easily access the information they need to work effectively. 

#4 Design help desk for user experience

Focusing on user experience is a service desk best practice that is often overlooked. The main goal of the help desk management system is customer satisfaction. Therefore, user experience should be considered when designing the help desk management system. User experience includes emotions, attitudes, and experiences that end users have when using the products/services.

The help desk should be designed to provide a meaningful experience for users. Think about an engaging user interface, easy navigation, and efficient processes.

To develop the best help desk software based on user experience, agents need to solicit feedback from customers on a regular basis. The feedback should be based on the needs and wants of the customers. Then, changes should be made to the help desk system to make it more customer-centric.

#5 Provide value to the customer

The customer is a key component of any business model, and providing value to the customer should be included in the list of help desk management best practices. Every company should strive to provide optimal value to its customers.

The purpose of a support interaction shouldn’t just be to solve a specific problem. Ask your support staff to engage with customers and understand what other challenges they may be facing. They can share links to self-help articles or show the customer how your product can solve their problem. Meaningful conversation can go a long way toward ensuring that your customers have a pleasant experience with support.

#6 Maintain sufficient capacity

You need to ensure that your service desk has sufficient capacity to meet your needs. This means not only having enough staff to handle your call/ticket volume, but also being able to respond to users/customers in different time zones or outside business hours and on holidays.

#7 Promoting team collaboration

Collaboration among team members is important not only for the business, but also for customers. Collaborative efforts among the cross-functional team enable quick resolution of end-user related issues.

With a robust help desk system, different departments can review open tickets and work closely together to resolve issues without delays. For example, your finance team can inform your customer service team whether a customer is entitled to a refund for a product they purchased last month. Or, the delivery team can inform your customer service representatives about expected delivery delays that customers may experience.

#8 Focus on transparency

An organization should provide transparency to its customers at all times. When customers know about the procedures, systems and status of their complaints, they tend to trust the organization even more. A transparent process can help you build a relationship with your customers and increase your customer base.

All companies that are known for their excellent customer service encourage good communication between customers and support staff and increase transparency. To increase transparency, you can automate updates to keep customers in the loop. This way, customers know exactly what is happening from time to time. This not only saves your staff’s time, but also reduces the number of emails from customers asking for an update.

#9 Promoting self-service

While many issues require the intervention of experienced help desk technicians, some can be resolved through a self-service portal. Self-service, for example, helps reduce the number of easy-to-resolve requests to the help desk. In addition, end users can access the portal to find the information or resources they need to answer a question or resolve a technical issue.

#10 Use predefined answers

Returning to the automation point mentioned earlier: The goal of pre-built responses is to eliminate the need for your help desk staff to spend time on insignificant tasks. When someone asks for help, your ITSM suite should generate an automated response whenever possible. You can go a step further by combining pre-built answers with self-help support, for example by directing the user to a self-help portal or FAQ to see if they can solve the problem themselves.

#11 Document Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

Service Level Agreements (SLAs) define the quality of both internal and external services a company provides to its customers.

SLAs must be used to track performance against business objectives. They facilitate measuring the success of services based on established expectations. However, tracking SLAs is difficult because companies get stuck in raw data. Using a robust help desk management software is the best solution in such cases. The software uses tools to identify metrics, such as how long it takes to resolve an issue.

#12 Document processes

When a new help desk employee or technical specialist joins the team, they may have trouble understanding the process. Companies therefore need to ensure a quick onboarding process. This way, each team member can help customers in a time-efficient manner. For this purpose, processes can be documented and the different ways to solve different problems can be shown. This way, new employees can use predefined processes to quickly solve customers’ problems.

#13 Audit operating costs

The best way to ensure effective IT help desk management is to audit operating results. The most important parameter is cost. So, you need to determine the operational cost of providing effective IT help desk services related to each request. After you determine the cost, you can decide which problem can be resolved quickly and cost-effectively.

Remember that there is a cost associated with running any tool or business process. Once you have costs under control, you can keep your business running while keeping your customers happy.

#14 Ongoing improvement of the process

The ultimate best practice for help desks is to always be looking for ways to improve. The difference between a good help desk and a great help desk is whether the help desk is constantly evolving and improving the process.

Looking at your help desk metrics is one way to look for opportunities to improve. Another way is to solicit user feedback. Since help desks are there to serve end users, it’s important to know whether users feel their requests are being resolved appropriately.

A way to improve your company now is to use a RMM Tool.

With a RMM solution, you can remotely monitor your customers’ IT infrastructures and systems, saving MSPs time, money and resources. Instead of traveling to the customer site to determine the status of devices and networks, technicians can check everything remotely. This allows you to monitor and manage multiple accounts in real time and proactively address issues by holistically examining customer systems through a RMM’s management console. RMM software also enables MSPs to automate routine tasks such as software patching, which reduces the likelihood of human error (e.g., technicians missing customer endpoints).

MSP without RMM would be like a car mechanic without any tools.

Choosing the right RMM solution for your needs takes a little work. All the benefits of an RMM Tool you can read in this article. The benefits of RMM software for MSPs are so numerous that it is not surprising that most MSP companies have already implemented a similar solution. Enterprises have unique needs and requirements and no software platform can be perfect in such a situation. It is pointless to try to find an ideal off-the-shelf software system that meets all your business needs. The smart thing to do would be to modify the application for your specific needs, worker skill levels, budget, and other factors. For these reasons, do not hurry and invest in well-publicized trendy solutions. Though these may be widely used, they may not be the best fit for your particular wants. If you have not yet decided on a solution, XEOX is a must try.

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