It’s not easy managing a IT help desk team, especially at small to medium-sized companies where there isn’t a big budget for infrastructure and staff. To turn things around and make your IT support team into a department that company employees will view as a proactive and efficient problem solving department, you need to know how to make your efforts as effective as possible. Luckily, there are some clear IT help desk best practices that can help you be more efficient when reports come in while putting your IT staff in a position to better navigate requests for support. It just takes a little reorganizing and some new processes and procedures for handling incoming requests.
1. Control Your Help Desk Queue
When the IT staff are overwhelmed by incoming requests that demand attention immediately, they can easily wind up in a constant state of crisis response. Direct calls from those requesting hardware service or maintenance are often delivered with an urgency that might not reflect their relative importance when compared to other demands of staff in other departments with larger issues. That’s where a help desk portal for submitting tickets or a shared exchange email and a good process for priority assignment can really help you out.
Automating incoming support requests and assigning realistic prioritization to each is the first step to making sure the most pressing concerns get addressed first. Initiating a process like this requires automation, and that means finding the right software to manage those incoming IT help desk requests, with options to sort them as they come in.
2. Make Knowledge Accessible and Transparent
Never underestimate what a solid knowledge base can do to improve the experience of contacting support. Online resources with in-depth answers to common questions and troubleshooting topics not only make it easier for the people outside your IT department to sort out small issues themselves, but they also lower the incoming call volume and give your techs more time to address service tickets that might take them away from the phone. That means fewer support people dedicated to the phones, which in turn lowers the workload of everyone who has to take care of requests that require a tech in person.
There’s another side to building a strong knowledge base, though. One that is less often discussed. That is the need to make new information readily accessible, quickly, and not just online. When new solutions to known issues are discovered or new processes put in place to improve your online infrastructure, your team and online resources both need to be updated immediately so they are prepared to provide accurate, up to date help to anyone who needs it. This is especially important during times when your business is changing its processes for any department in a significant way and new technology is involved.
3. Assess Your Help Desk Performance Regularly
One of the biggest and most important steps you can take to improving your performance in any area is to get feedback about what is going well, what needs work, and how your policy choices affect the people you serve. For those working in or running an IT help department within a company large enough to have a dedicated internal team, that means doing customer service and satisfaction surveys that gather input from the people who come to you for help. A good way to make sure you have a continuous, revolving source of feedback is to institute a regular survey for those who submit service tickets or call for assistance.
You might even consider implementing short one or two question surveys at the bottom of your knowledge base articles, to find out which ones are most helpful. Regular input can help you spot larger trends in support issues, leading to the diagnosis of structural bugs faster while letting you know if there’s anything in your training or processes that could change to make everyone’s experience better.
4. Cross-Train IT Staff To Keep Everyone Sharp
Once you have your processes for incoming requests automated to give your staff breathing room and a good combination of online resources, information dissemination, and performance assessment, the last step is training for reinforcement. It’s relatively easy to find the time to train your help desk staff when the information is brand new and people need it to keep operating effectively. What’s a little more challenging is finding the right way to assess strengths and weaknesses for individual team members, and to position them to help each other get stronger.
Inter-staff cross-training gives the employee mentoring a skill the chance to practice it demonstratively while providing skill-building opportunities for the one being mentored. With the right mix of opportunities, it can also allow each member of the team to shine as an authority in their strongest areas. The result is better overall performance, better-rounded employees, and higher morale. That makes it very worth the time it takes to ensure everyone has a chance to learn from other team members’ strongest skills, and it helps round out a set of practices designed to help you deliver support more effectively.
Author | Emily Forbes
An Entrepreneur, Mother & A passionate tech writer in the technology industry!