10 Help Desk Best Practices

Introduction

Your help desk plays an important role in assisting clients with overcoming issues, it is therefore to ensure that your help desk functions in the most efficient and cost effective way. In this article, we will cover the most important aspects in making your help desk be of maximum benefit to your staff and clients alike.

1. Avoid Creating Unnecessary Tickets

There are often times when the same question will be posted to the help desk, it is simply unnecessary to answer it repeatedly as this will waste time. The simplest solution to this issue is to have commonly referred information available from the organization knowledge base. If there are commonly asked questions, these can be made available in a self-service format to avoid having tickets generated at all.

2. Determining the Priority of Incoming Tickets

It is of high importance for any help desk service provider to be able to effectively organize and prioritize tickets. There are two commonly used models to determine the handling of tickets:

First In, First Out (FIFO) – tickets are handled in the order that they are received.

Pick & Choose – tickets are handled based on the urgency of the request. The benefit of this model is that should any serious problems arise, they are dealt with as quickly as possible.

Depending on your company’s unique circumstances, it is important to choose the ticket priority. For example, if your company primarily processes a lot of small tasks, then the FIFO priority might be of more advantage than selecting tickets based on urgency.

3. Enable Self-Service

Every ticket that is received through the help desk needs to be processed by the relevant staff in some way, all of which increases the total cost to the company. Informa Tech calculated that the average costs to company, per ticket resolution based on the escalation can range from $22 to $1015 depending on the severity.

Therefore, it makes a lot of financial sense to enable the resolution of tickets through customer self-service as much as possible; in fact, it is one of the most important steps that an IT organization can take to improve the overall efficiency of their helpdesk system.

4. Always Monitor Ticket Status Closely

Help desk staff are responsible for keeping the status of each ticket up to date, and closing off tickets as soon as possible. Tickets should only be categorized as one of the four options:

  • New Ticket
  • In Progress
  • On Hold
  • Closed Ticket

By having only 4 options, there is no confusion as to how a ticket should be classified.

5. Prevent Junk Emails from reaching Your IT Help Desk

Having to spend time manually filtering and removing junk emails from your help desk can be an enormous waste of time and resources. In addition to reducing the overall productivity of the department, junk emails can also increase the chances of an actual ticket being overlooked. To alleviate this problem, it is important to have proper spam filters and adequate protection in place to prevent any unsolicited email from reaching the help desk inbox.

Image courtesy of Envato Elements

6. Create a Structured Support Workflow

A support workflow is a system that describes the protocol of how the support staff should handle new tickets as they come through the ticketing system. By establishing a workflow, your support staff will follow a predictable set of steps with regards to ticket resolution; this also has the additional benefit of helping to manager customer expectations by having predictable and consistent results.

7. Promptly Notify Technicians of Critical Incidents

When critical incidents occur after hours or during holidays, technicians must be notified immediately, to help prevent client business outages that might impact revenue. IT organizations should have a solution in place that supports critical incident notification for technicians through the appropriate channels during off-hours periods.

8. Tickets Should always be Escalated, If Necessary

Ticket escalations should be encouraged if there are situations where an IT issue might impact critical revenue-generating processes. The support staff should escalate tickets if the additional support will result in a positive business outcome or at least reduce the impact of a negative outcome.

9. Avoid Mistakes Arising from Partly Filled Service Requests

Support desks handle incident resolution along with fulfilling service requests from the business. Having to deal with incomplete or only partially complete service requests can result in reduced service delivery, as support staff are left without the necessary information to accurately fulfil the request.

It would be advisable for the support desk to make use of templates for various types of requests to ensure that adequate information is provided when the request is initially made.

10. Tracking your Data 

In order for an IT help desk to improve their performance, it is important to review all of the help desk metrics. Once an average efficiency baseline has been established, one can use this information to find ways to improve the overall system even further. It is recommended that the following metrics should be monitored:

  • Average response time
  • Average resolution time
  • Average overall ticket handling time
  • Ticket escalation rates
  • Self-service usage rates

It goes without saying that having the right tools for the job can make any task much simpler. Regarding remote connection software, AeroAdmin’s remote desktop connection is one of the best options around.

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