Jun 25

Help Desk Performance Management: Team Meetings

If you are a new help desk manager, your new staff may have been self-managed, managed by a manager from a different department, or poorly managed by a former manager. Even if you have been the team’s manager for a while, you must assume there are issues with staff roles, work schedules, attendance expectations, performance, and training. For help desk performance management, it is important to setup team and 1:1 meetings with your staff. As you gain their trust you will learn what may be causing some issues with your staff and the operations of the team. So with all of these items, where do you start with help desk performance management.

Help Desk Performance Management: Quarterly team meeting

I recommend setting up a general help desk performance management meeting with the entire team. This is an opportunity to introduce yourself and start building a help desk manager/employee relationship. During the meeting you should be prepared with conversation starting questions to help the team open up. These questions should be focused on gaining valuable information about training, rewards, work environment, accomplishments, and improvements needed. Here are some good examples; Continue reading

Dec 09

Help Desk Multi-channel support: Social Media Strategies

Internal and external customers now expect to reach your Help Desk for customer service and support from any device, at any time, and from anywhere. In today’s Millennial-driven economy, the Help Desk’s response to requests must be immediate and delivered in the customer’s preferred medium. In the past, Help Desk Management and staff only had to monitor traditional channels such as phone and email. A forward looking Help Desk must now employ new generation Help Desk social media strategies to actively monitor and respond to many different Help Desk Multi-channel support mediums to be successful.

Help Desk Multi-channel support mediums

  • Email Support
  • Phone Support
  • Self Service Portal
  • Chat Support
  • Help Desk Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+ to name a few)
  • Help Desk Customer Surveys
  • Help Desk User Forums

Consolidated Help Desk Multi-channel support

In the past, a Help Desk would segment the staff into sub-groups focused primarily on email or phone calls. Creating sub-groups would overcome the technical work challenges with the Help Desk ticketing applications when trying to update phone and email tickets with support work notes, capturing communications with customers, and understand SLAs and volume. Today most Help Desk ticketing applications support multi-channel integration to bring all of your customer contact channels into one

Help Desk Multi-channel support for social media

Help Desk Multi-channel support for social media

platform for seamless handling. This means if a Help Desk chat support session with a customer is started, the chat text will be captured in the ticket work notes. If a customer uses Twitter to tweet a question or comment about your company, products, or services, the interaction stream can be captured inside a ticket. Freshdesk states “Facebook comments and Twitter mentions automatically get converted to helpdesk tickets that you can assign to your Agents just like any other regular ticket. Your Agents can even directly answer the customer on the same social media platform without leaving their helpdesk portal.” This is a great benefit to allow a single source of knowledge and complete visibility from one Help Desk Multi-channel support platform.

Benefits to Help Desk Multi-channel integration

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Oct 31

How to Reduce Incident Mean Time to Restore Service MTTRS

What specific areas are you focusing on to reduce Incident Mean Time to Restore Service (MTTRS) of Major Incidents and increase Mean Time between Failures (MTBF) at your company?

Reducing Incident Mean Time to Restore Service (MTTRS) of Major Incidents and increasing Mean Time between Failures (MTBF) is critical. Reducing MTTRS will decrease the service disruption duration to avoid a loss of sale revenue and productivity. Increasing MTBF will improve the uptime availability of your services.

Incident Mean Time to Restore Service

There are some key segment slices for Incident Mean Time Between System Interruptions (MTBSI) in the ITIL Incident Lifecycle. Understanding the segments and needed improvement areas for each is important to improve the capability of the IT Infrastructure, services and supporting organization that enables the business to satisfy its business objectives. Continue reading

Sep 02

Incident Management Communication Plan – Do you have one?

A proactive Help Desk team will have Incident Management Communication Plan in place to follow when an outage to a service occurs. In advance of an outage, it is important to develop a well thought-out Incident Management Communication Plan detailing how people will be initially notified, what information they need, when status updates will be communicated, and what resolution steps occur when a service has been restored. Answer the following questions about the state of your Incident Management Communication Plan.

  • Do you have a defined Incident Management Communication Plan to follow when there is an outage to a major service? Have people been trained and know how to access the plan?
  • Are your customers and supported business groups proactively informed of when a service is down or do they generate a large volume of calls to the Help Desk?
  • Are your Help Desk staff members immediately informed about the outage and provided support information such as available workarounds and an estimated time for recovery?
  • Are members of the technology leadership department immediately aware of service outages or are they the “last to know”?

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Aug 19

The 4 groups important for a Help Desk Manager

Help Desk Manager careers are built on a foundation of communications and strong relationships. It is important to quickly build relationships and collaborate with key stakeholders of your support department to be successful. A new Help Desk Manager needs to have clear lines of communication with at least 4 key stakeholder groups their new department interacts with. These 4 key stakeholder groups for a Help Desk Manager are your boss, the customers you support, the staff that report to you, and vendors you have contracts with. Understanding the stakeholder group’s perspective of the support your department provides is very important. This perspective will tell you what is working and what is not. A stakeholder may raise an issue of something not working correctly, however they most likely will not know the root cause of issues they raise. All items raised should be logged, researched, and if applicable have a solution implemented. This will help you uncover real or perceived issues. Timely feedback on the status of this investigation is critical. For vendors it is important to be very familiar with the contract, contracted services and ensure you have processes in place to measure their performance. Continue reading

Jul 27

8 steps to mature a knowledge management system

When a customer contacts your Help Desk with a service question or issue, you expect your Help Desk Agents to provide consistent, repeatable, and accurate solutions. If the needed service support information is scattered throughout your company, how can you expect your Help Desk Agents provide timely support? The 8 steps to mature a knowledge management system is the process of identifying, collecting, formatting, training, and using service support knowledge to resolve a customer’s service question or issue. Knowledge Management systems make service support information immediately available to your agents to answer the customer’s question or resolve their service issue on first contact. A robust and mature Knowledge Management System enables the Help Desk to deliver greater business value with more efficiency. We have outlined a process of starting or maturing a knowledge management system.

The knowledge management improvement process

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Jul 10

The History of the Help Desk

Over the decades and through the history of the Help Desk, we have seen remarkable changes. In the early Help Desk days, Corporate Information Technology systems started with mainframes and user terminals. Applications were centrally managed and used collectively.  Mainframes had centralized computer operators that would maintain the mainframe and programmers that would submit program updates. Since the programs were centralized on the mainframe, if one user had an issue with an application, everyone that used it had an issue. Users would report the issue to their manager. Managers would report application issue either by speaking directly to mainframe managers or by filling out a paper report form. The state of the Help Desk in this environment was similar to present day project management meetings.

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Jul 07

Help Desk audit program for ticket and call quality assurance

How do you really know your Help Desk agents are providing high quality customer service? As a good Help Desk Manager you have established customer contact handling procedures, regularly measure customer satisfaction, and have trained your staff on providing great customer service. Proactive Help Desk performance management is more than documenting procedures, measuring KPI metrics, and training staff. To truly find out how well your customer are being handled, Help Desk management team must have a Help Desk audit program to audit the calls and tickets on a regular schedule. That is where a Help Desk audit program can help you out.

Benefits of implementing a Help Desk audit program

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Jun 23

How to create an incident management procedure

While each company’s incident management procedure are similar, there are unique factors to be considered to understand how to create an incident management procedure. We have created this incident management procedure best practices step by step guide to help you build a procedure that works for your team and company. We look forward to your comments and questions.

Incident Management Title and Change History

The incident management procedure title page is pretty straight forward. Include your company name, title of the document, who prepared it, and an original draft date. Your incident management procedure should include a change history section. As you update the incident management procedure, the change history should capture the version number, change author, description of the change, and the date of the change. Continue reading

Feb 21

ITIL Change Management and the Help Desk

It is important as a Help Desk Manager or Agent to understand what Change Management is and how it is related to the Help Desk. In this posting we discuss what is Change Management and some of the important aspects of Change Management and the Help Desk. We then discuss what is a Request For Change, the responsibilities of a Change Manager and the Change Advisory Board, and what is a Forward Schedule of Changes. Let’s get started and discuss Change Management and the Help Desk..

What is Change Management?

Change Management is the process to submit, review, schedule, document, and if needed back out changes that may affect your Information Technology environment. The Change Management process works hand in hand with all of your other IT Service Management processes. If you are able to run your Change Management activities within your ticketing software application, you will have great visibility and coordination. A recent post by Cisco confirms that Change Management is important since 80% of all outages are related to changes. Managing changes to your environment is crucial to keep your technology systems and users up and running. It is critical that Change Management and the Help Desk are in sync with each other. Continue reading