Article

The keys to excellent internal help desk management

How can companies set help desk agents up for success? Here are some expert tips.

By Erin Hueffner, Content marketing manager

Published May 15, 2020
Last modified August 3, 2020

Businesses are laser-focused on customer experience and customer service today. And as work transitions from in-person to remote, customers are heavily relying on digital channels for help. This is no different for your employees — they need digital internal help desk solutions now more than ever.

Companies are leaning even more heavily on technology to keep their customers and employees connected while the world is in survival mode. Beyond communication tools like Slack and Zoom, you need a great internal help desk to keep things running smoothly. But where do you begin? Here are some tips.

1. Create a service catalogue

The first thing to do is develop an IT service catalogue. This roadmap should be designed with the end user in mind, and include all the information they need to open a ticket and request service. It should be written clearly with easy to understand instructions. Some of the key pieces your service catalogue needs are:

  • Catalogue item name
  • Category (software, hardware, support, infrastructure)
  • Approval structure
  • Cost of service
  • Security and access permissions
  • Issue tracking process
  • Delivery expectations
  • Point of contact for questions

2. Offer a knowledge base or self-service portal

One of the big problems employees run into when asking for IT help is knowing who to ask in the first place. Institutional knowledge never seems to be written down, and it's changing constantly. An internal help desk or directory-based workflow helps direct questions automatically to the right department.Once your service catalogue is hammered out, make it easy to access in a self-service portal. And make that portal simple to access — for example, by keying "IT help" into a browser.

Help desk software should always come with an option for a knowledge base. Often, people are just looking for a quick solution to a simple issue. Rather than submitting another ticket, a knowledge base allows employees to search for and resolve issues on their own. This reduces the strain on the ITSM team so they can solve more complicated issues that need 1:1 support. And, it empowers your users with the tools they need to do their jobs.

3. Develop a culture of helping within the help desk

If the help desk manager is too focused on minimizing costs, then you end up delivering poor customer support, according to SaaS expert Matthew Monahan. If, however, you focus on giving the users everything they need to get their jobs accomplished, then you win – twice. Monahan says the first win is that your team will become more proactive, looking for opportunities to help users before waiting for them to report problems. The second win is that your user base will come to view the help desk as a partner in problem-solving, rather than people to yell at when things go wrong.

Make sure you communicate. How long should customers expect it to take for a response? How long does it take to resolve tickets, and what priority level is their ticket? Make sure everyone in the company knows — this can help reduce frustration for all involved.

4. Hire good employees to retain great employees

It's one thing to hire great people, and it's another to keep them — and that has a lot to do with your employee experience. Research by Gartner found that engaged employees who felt personally invested in their jobs were more willing and empowered to impact customer experience. On top of that, since 2009, a portfolio of Fortune's "Best Companies to Work For" companies outperformed the S&P 500 by 84.2 percent.

There are some things you can do to set yourself up for success. Invest in customer service training to equip your team with the tools they need to succeed. You can engage your more tenured agents to help with onboarding and training, too — they have a treasure trove of valuable knowledge to share, and it can make them feel valued. Look for job candidates who are not only technically able to do the work, but also passionate about helping other people. You are, after all, running a help desk.

5. Build a workflow that tracks issues end-to-end

Providing seamless internal support is key to a company's success. Both the customer and the help desk staff should be able to see the status of the issue at a glance. This helps reduce anxiety and frustration for everyone involved, which is a better overall customer experience. Any help desk employee should be able to jump in on any ticket at any time and see the entire workflow of the issue so they can move it toward resolution.

Read on for more help desk software tips.

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