How to Start & Manage a Help Desk – The Ultimate Guide

Cody Cromwell
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What Is a Help Desk?

A help desk is a virtual place where users or clients can exchange and access technical support. It is a place where technicians, or support agents can manage both technical and nontechnical issues. Help desk solutions help the client with the technical issues with the system, network devices, or software, and the help desk staff helps the client with any nontechnical issues related to the technical problems. It is an application that is available either on the users’ workstations or remotely on a network or the Internet.

A help desk can be made up of one or more support agents working on one or more issues at a time. The support agent can respond to issues in real-time, browse the various back logs, or review historical issues. A help desk can also work in a combination of both real-time and historical view modes. The help desk interface can be customized for the needs of each client’s organization. The help desk also provides the users with a self-service application that helps them to manage their own conflicts. It is a feature of the system that allows the users to communicate with the maintenance staff for issues.

Despite being similar in many ways, they do have some distinct differences. Users should be advised that a help desk is not an alternative for customer service. If a large number of customers requires phone support, one of the following should be selected:

How to Set Up Your Help Desk in 5 Steps

It’s a bit ironic that today’s IT workers are expected to be able to handle complex network problems without assistance, while teamwork has become a cornerstone of software design.

Enter the help desk. Set up for complex support, a help desk enables employees from various departments to work together to troubleshoot and solve problems with your IT systems. It’s a process at the center of a company’s IT support strategy – successful help desks create a streamlined and responsive experience for your users. And an office with a good help desk is one that has fewer calls to the help desk, while also decreasing the number of calls made to external vendors for help.

Before you can get to that level of support, though, you have to set up your help desk. Follow these five steps to set up your IT help desk:

Determine what you want to achieve

Decide What Support Your Desk will Deliver

Are you providing support to the users or support to the applications that your desk is running and hosting?

If you are providing support to the applications hosted by your desk, then you are a FSP, there will be a slight difference in the way you go about providing support.

If you have differentiating support in between solaris, linux, IBM, Windows, you are providing support to the users.

You are providing support to the users and application via the users internet access.

You are providing support to the users and application via the users direct access to the desk interface.

Users Using Internet

The users that your desk support also use the internet for email and other web access needs. Missing out on email is more detrimental than missing out on web access.

Users Direct Access

Your desk has direct access to the users machines. It is as if the desk is running on the users computer. In the case a users machine is down, your desk can monitor the users machine (both programs) and ensure it is back to normal and be back to work in no time. Your desk makes sure that if a users machine goes down, it will be back up within an hour ensuring no new work is lost.

Lear More about How to Provide Much Better Support than What the Users Are Expecting…

Benefits of a Practical, Reliable HelpDesk Framework.

Determine Your Help Desk’s Staffing Needs

In addition to the help desk’s location, other factors will need to be taken into account. For example, if the help desk will be set up as either a 24/7 or a 9am to 5pm operation, the number of staff should be determined based on the work load.

For example, if the help desk will be open 24/7 and one of the staff will cover the night shifts, the other staff should be able to cover the early morning and late afternoon shifts. If the help desk will only be open during regular business hours, the day and night staff can be paid accordingly.

Also, if the help desk will be open when the business is closed, then the security staff should be considered. If the clerk’s primary job will be as a reception desk clerk, then the cost of the reception desk should be accounted for.

Manage Your Help Desk Staff

There are a number of reasons why it’s important to manage the help desk staff. First and foremost, to give management the first level of contact for all incoming calls. You will need to understand the staff members and their responsibilities. As a manager, you will want to have at least one trained staff member on hand who can take over if the main clerk goes on vacation, quits, or gets injured.

Define Your Priorities

Start a help desk properly, with a business objective in mind. What customer issues do you have and that you must have resolved? How you track these issues will significantly change the focus of your help desk. Let’s look at a few examples.

You’re a high tech equipment manufacturer and your product is considered a best of breed solution in an industry. Long term failures are generally related to poor quality control or obsolescence of components and are attributable to new products that properly integrate with existing personnel. You should strategize to address these issues with your support staff, who can help resolve the customer’s concerns.

Or maybe your company runs a high volume of e-commerce transactions and online payments. Your help desk receives a significant number of calls from customers who are experiencing slow response or are unable to access their account information. If this is your experience, you need an help desk that is focused on customer service and remedy issues related to online payments.

Whatever you’re doing, your initial issue tracking and prioritization will influence the rest of your help desk. Start with the real problems and find solutions quickly – then get the help desk started.

Create Canned Responses or Knowledge Base

If you’re managing a tip of your own, you may wish to create canned responses or knowledge base content to ease the burden of your support staff. All it entails is creating regular responses to canned questions that you know people will come back for on a regular basis.

With canned responses or knowledge base content, you’ll be able to answer your customers’ questions in a matter of minutes and cut back on support staff time. It can help you to maintain a speedy response time even during busy times.

Following up with your customers to see whether they’re satisfied is also important and no doubt tiresome for the support staff. You can also develop a system for automatically following up with your customers after a certain period of time.

Some tips to consider when managing a tip would be:

Prefer to respond using typed or written communications, instead of using a chat system or direct chat, so that you can maintain a record of your communications.

Use a variety of communication methods, such as tickets, e-mails, and phone calls, to ensure that you’re able to get back in touch with people in the event that there’s a delay in response.

Hold oral conversations with your employees and involve them in adopting techniques to help reduce the number of support calls made.

Track & Improve on Key Metrics

Help desk software not only helps you improve customer experience; it also helps you identify key performance indicators. For instance, you can use help desk software to generate a report that shows agents’ activity levels over the past month.

This data helps you identify which agents are working and which ones aren’t (assuming that you have access to this information with the help desk software in question). You can then use this data to determine whether you need to train agents or reassign them.

Help desk software also helps manage customer service. Tracking historical reports lets you identify trends. This helps you identify the customer service issues that are recurring and what agents are struggling with.

Use these reports to help ensure that you’re prepared when an angry customer calls, or even to determine which agents need training. Software not only monitors activity; it also tracks it.

The Help Desk Software Buying Guide provides 5 main key metrics centered around both the customer and agent – How many tickets have been opened, How many times the ticket has been closed, How many tickets have been answered, how many agents were involved in answering the ticket and how soon did they respond.

With these key metrics can be compared through time. These metrics can tell the sales force how they are doing against the previous quarter, the previous year and even earlier periods.

How to Make a Help Desk More Efficient

The world of help-desk technology has been through a lot of changes since help desks started out as primitive employee answering machines. As a result of these changes, help desks have evolved from siloed, isolated entities into collaborative, more user friendly forms of technology management.

So, in order to stay relevant, help desks are transforming from being command and control centers to community support centers. All too often, help desk managers put a great deal of emphasis on the technicalities of the help-desk software and other tools at their disposal.

A modern help desk is more than just software and hardware. It’s about providing high reliability and ensuring the ease and speed of access to the information your help desk supports. A successful help desk will consider how the entire end-to-end customer need is satisfied.

So, if you’re wondering how to make your help desk more efficient, here are a few ideas that will help you transform your organization’s help desk into a system that’s fast, efficient, and reliable.

Utilize Help Desk Software

Although call centers generally refer to phone-based help desks, there’s a growing number of businesses that are utilizing help desks in more creative ways, including help desk software.

As the number of businesses relying on help desk software increases, more and more companies are turning to help desk software to optimize their help desk operations and improve the customer experience. With increased use comes simpler processes and more convenient reporting, which can help lower help desk costs and improve customer satisfaction.

Unfortunately, the learning curve for help desk software can be steep, so it’s important to understand how it works and how to use it before jumping in. This article will give you a quick overview of help desk software and provide tips for getting started.

Pay Attention to Features & Ticket Assignment Rules

Help Desk Telephony Innovations

Telephony technology has come a long way over the past 15-20 years. The first time I used a telephony system was in the late 1990s while working at a startup software company. We had an early system of fax, modems, and POTS (regular phone lines for the old school). The POTS was configured pretty meti