Aug 21

Performance Reporting: Help Desk Metrics

Key performance indicators (KPI) are used for performance reporting to help management understand how the team is performing. It is important to ensure you are capturing accurate performance reporting data to measure, manage and implement continuous improvement efforts. Most of your performance reporting data will come from your phone system, ticketing system, customer surveys and Help Desk audit program scorecards. Performance reporting is not just one snapshot of a point of time but a trend of all of those points in time to determine trends. By comparing the trend data you can identify strengths and weaknesses of your help desk. It also will allow you to compare your performance reporting against industry standards. Continue reading

Aug 13

Help Desk Organizational Structure for Success

Before you meet your new help desk team, I suggest you understand the help desk organizational structure. Understanding and optimizing the help desk organizational structure is an important critical success factor in achieving team and company goals. The first step is to obtain an organizational chart from your supervisor or the Human Resources department. You should also obtain a staff list, which includes name, job position title, salary, and hire date. With this information you can determine many important factors such as supervisor to staff ratios and seniority.

Help Desk Organizational Structure: Supervisor to Staff Ratio

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Aug 07

Customer service complaints: Help desk improvement steps

If you have managed or worked in a help desk for any amount of time, you may have heard of many customer service complaints occurring repeatedly. Many of these issues are not unique and they transcend all industries. The good news is throughout this book we identify the issues and the solutions to fix them. The leading causes of customer service complaints are actually well known but for some reason help desks and call centers still struggle. Below are a few of the major area that cause customer service complaints and how to avoid them.

Customer Service Complaints: Incident not resolved on first contact (FCR)

Users will hold their tongue with customer service complaints if the problem is resolved quickly. However, when a user contacts the help desk and their issue is not resolved, they feel upset. Being able to resolve the incident on first contact is a foundational measurement of the maturity of the help desk. Industry standard FCR, when including password unlocks and resets, is about 80% successful. When you have an incident which cannot be solved it is important to show empathy and apologize for not solving this issue immediately. You want to reassure the customer that you will escalate this issue. Most importantly you should provide an estimated time when it will be fixed or when you will provide an update.  So what are some ways to improve FCR? Continue reading

Aug 01

Top 10 Help Desk Calls and how to deal with them

What are the top help desk calls received by the help desk from the customers they support? We pulled together the top 10 help desk calls with specific recommendations. While you cannot prepare for every question, there are some industry standard high volume questions. These questions must be prepared for by documenting the most probable support steps that will resolve the issue. This documentation of steps should be place in the help desk knowledge management system. The knowledge management system should be used and improved overtime by help desk agent feedback on if the support steps worked.

Training for the Top 10 Help Desk Calls

Help desk agent training is also important especially when the training is focused on the top 10 help desk calls and issues received by the help desk team. Training should cover how to find the answer in the knowledge system, how to apply the solution, and what to do if that solution does not solve the problem. Part of training is to have experienced help desk staff provide coaching during and after live help desk calls.

Top 10 Help Desk Calls: I can’t remember my password

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Jul 24

Total Contact Ownership will place customers first

If a customer contacts a help desk with an issue and the help desk is unable to resolve it first contact, it can be disappointing. We do understand not every issue can be solved on first contact by the help desk but too many times an escalated request for help seems to go into a black hole. If tickets pile up with escalation groups, no updates are provided to the customer and lingering customer IT issues occur, it may impact overall company productivity. One method to is to build a culture of accountability to the customer is to implement Total Contact Ownership.

What is Total Contact Ownership?

The principle of Total Contact Ownership is whoever takes the first customer issue will own the issue until it has been resolved. Some refer to this as owning the issue from cradle to grave. This means if the issue cannot be resolved on first contact, the help desk agent will follow the ticket through the escalation path. They will provide timely updates to the customer and ensure that the ticket does not linger in a non-resolved status. Both the help desk agent and escalation groups work to resolve the issue while the service level agreement clock is ticking. Customer focused help desks using Total Contact Ownership will ensure customer issues are addressed and resolved in a timely manner.

Benefits to implementing Total Contact Ownership.

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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