13 Ways to Develop Your Company’s Help Desk Best Practices

Business.com / Customers / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Here are some help desk best practices that can be used when evaluating what your company is doing as well as what you should be doing.

When it comes to successful customer service, it’s crucial to have a high-functioning help desk that goes above and beyond the competition, especially if your business resides online.

Technology has greatly improved the help desk process in recent years, but change isn't always the easiest thing to adapt to. In order to improve, every organization must assess its current practices against those used in other organizations.

The following are some help desk best practices that can be used when evaluating what your company is doing as well as what you should be doing.

1. Perform Customer Satisfaction Surveys on a Regular Basis

Daily customer satisfaction surveys performed by your call tracking software provides valuable information from a broad sampling of employees. It’s important for your company to generate its own customized survey to keep a close watch on help desk performance at any given time. A continuous customer satisfaction survey process improvement philosophy will drive customer satisfaction and loyalty to even higher levels.

Related Article: Do's and Don'ts for a Successful Customer Survey

2. Implement a Web-Based Knowledge Base Tool

The greatest asset of a service organization is the knowledge of its staff. By encouraging and rewarding employees to document their knowledge in a centralized, knowledge-based software system, it becomes available for all staff to leverage.

3. Implement a Web-Based Knowledge Base Tool With Real-Time Reports, Dashboards, Metrics and Business Analytics

Having readily available reports for knowledge base value, usage, status and more can assist leaders in better understanding how their knowledge base is being used, which can further streamline help desk agent processes and increase self-help usage.

4. Implement Service Request Automation Processes in Your Help Desk Software

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Allowing agents remote access to those whom they support can increase problem resolution speed. Converting customer emails automatically to help desk tickets, configuring quick-ticket templates, creating standard resolutions, and predefined questions for agents to ask customers as they create issues provide more options to optimize your help desk performance, resulting in greater customer satisfaction.

5. Use the Help Desk Software System to Increase Communications With Agents and Customers

Communication among agents can keep the help desk processes flowing smoothly. Some examples include a scrolling marquee message for event alerts, new agent assignee alerts, important broadcast message alerts, and more.

6. Implement a 24-Hour Customer Self-Help Portal

Allowing customers to access a self-help portal to resolve their own issues, when appropriate, or create their own service requests, can save your organization a significant amount of money.

7. Use Real-Time Help Desk Reports, Dashboards, Metrics and Analytics

That which is not measured, cannot be managed! Real-time metrics can also result in higher-quality decision making by any involved personnel, including the CIO, if needed.

8. Perform Root Cause Analysis Every Day to Determine Why Problems Occur

It is important to be able to track the root of issues, so the actual cause of problems can be determined. This helps with forward planning and being able to determine which areas of IT (applications, hardware, operating systems, networking, etc.) might need more attention. Ideally, the help desk software should allow for easy tracking, and requiring the selecting of a root cause before closing a ticket, and entering/requiring problem resolutions. Furthermore, root cause reports should be available to identify specific issues and trends.

9. Implement Service Level Agreements Linked to Impact on Firm Revenue

Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are an important part of help desk accountability to the customer, and compliance with them can impact customer satisfaction and even revenue. A help desk should not only implement SLAs, but should be able to track compliance in various levels of granularity, from the overall help desk or service groups (e.g. Applications, desktop, networking, etc.) to the individual agents. SLA trend reports should be available, which can help leaders understand how effectively services are being provided.

10. Utilize Predefined and Customizable Help Desk Reports

Agents and leaders  should have a wide variety of reports available that they can quickly access, easily customize, share with others, and use to analyze their areas of responsibility to keep the customer service process flowing smoothly. The reports should also provide the right data to assist in better decision-making.

11. Use Real-Time Reporting Features That Decrease Time Required to Prepare Reports

Having real-time reports customized and automatically e-mailed to agents and leaders, or easily downloaded in various formats (Excel, PDF, etc.), can further provide useful data for quicker analysis and better decision-making, and can save time and money.

12. Implement an Asset Management System That Is Integrated With the Help Desk Software System

Having an asset management system integrated with a help desk software ticketing system can not only better provide root-cause analysis, but the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) foundation in part requires tracking changes to assets, which can also help in saving problem-diagnostic times. This type of asset management can include software license tracking as well, helping IT departments better track licensing compliance.

13. Implement an Integrated ITIL Change Management Software System

Integrating a change management system with the help desk software system can reduce problems due to change-related failure. Not only can the help desk be prepared ahead of time with information about upcoming changes, perhaps even notifying its customers beforehand, but once implemented, issues can be tracked and backout plans implemented, if necessary. Further, problem-tracking analysis can help plan for future changes. This type of system keeps the change and help desk teams much more coordinated and functioning as a cohesive unit.

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