Help Desk Ticket Categories: CREATE Help Desk ticket classification


With a proven ticket classification methodology such as CREATE, companies can Build a Help Desk Ticket Classification scheme that increases ticket trend reporting efficiency, enhance the ticket escalation process and reduce overall support costs. Every Help Desk needs a ticket classification scheme to handle the customer’s issues when they contact the Help Desk for support. Proper ticket classification of an issue when a Help Desk ticket is created enables the Help Desk Agent to sort the issue into support buckets. These buckets will allow knowledge to be presented to the Help Desk agent when trying to provide proper support, enable proper routing of escalated tickets and allow trend reporting of ticket types.

Build a Help Desk CREATE allows companies to reduce the organization’s support costs by streamlining the Help Desk ticket classification process, quickly identify support trends and focus valuable Information Technology resources on targeted business process improvement.

CREATE Help Desk Ticket Classification

  • Collect – Sample of 3 months of Help Desk ticket data.
  • Review – Define your review ticket classification criteria.
  • Evaluate – Apply your new Help Desk ticket classification scheme to your previous ticket data.
  • Arrange – Help Desk ticket separation by categories.
  • Training – Ensure your staff understands the new Help Desk ticket classification scheme.
  • Execute – Implement your new Help Desk ticket classification scheme into production.

CREATE Step 1 Collect – Help Desk ticket data collection Continue reading

IT Help Desk: What is a Help Desk?


An IT Help Desk Agent helping a customer

IT Help Desk Agent

What is a Help Desk? Wise Geek states “A help desk is a resource designed to provide end users with information and assistance regarding problems with computers and related devices or software.”

What is a Help Desk? Webopedia states “A department within a company that responds to user’s technical questions.”

Companies and their employees need a reliable group to obtain IT help from. An IT Help Desk is not just having an knowledgeable person available but creating the processes and deploying the tools needed so the end user experience meets expectations by an IT Help Desk Agent with customer services skills. The people, process and technology needs of building your IT Help Desk fall into many specific categories. We have identified many of the IT Help Desk specific categories with detailed ITIL based information about them in separate posts.

 Major specific categories of an ITIL Help Desk;

  • IT Help Desk Mission and Vision statements
  • IT Help Desk structure
  • ITIL Incident Management
  • ITIL Problem Management
  • Product, Services and Support offered Continue reading
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.

Your boss

Remember your boss also has a boss who expects solutions and results. It is critically important to understand your boss’s short term and long term goals, objectives, and priorities. This will allow you to set your department’s goals, objectives, and priorities that are in alignment. Setup a method to track your progress against completing your department’s goals, objectives, and priorities. When providing updates and communicating with your boss, understand the method your boss like to communicate. Some people prefer email updates while others like in person. It is always a good idea to include the baseline status, recap the improvements made, and then provide details of how the improvement made to the business.

Key actions with your boss

  1. Meet with your boss to set your department’s goals, objectives, and priorities as the new Help Desk Manager.
  2. Discuss with your boss any issues with your department.
  3. Setup an agreed method to report your progress addressing issues and status against meeting your department’s goals, objectives, and priorities.
  4. Try to secure a reoccurring scheduled 1:1 meeting with your boss. A weekly meeting with a set agenda is preferred.

Help Desk Customers

Help Desk Manager Stakeholders

Help Desk Manager Stakeholders

Customers of a Help Desk can be internal departments, external companies, or the direct public. Most of the following information is based on internal departments as your customer but these principles can translate into external support with slight modifications. As a Help Desk Manager, keeping the customers happy, productive, and informed is a top priority for your department. It is your job as a Help Desk Manager to ensure the customer service meets or exceeds your customer’s expectations. You must ensure customers receive proactive and timely communications about significant changes or outages that will impact their area. Agreeing with customers on expected levels of service is critical for success as a new Help Desk Manager. For example if your customer expects a new printer order to be fulfilled within 3 business days and your team thinks 5 days are reasonable, you will not meet customer expectations most of the time.

Key actions with Help Desk Customers

  1. Identify your customer groups and setup introductory meetings with leaders from each group. If you have external customers, you may have internal account or service delivery managers to meet with.
  2. Have your customer identify their most important or mission critical applications or services. If you have external customers this information can be found by looking at ticket trends.
  3. Determine how well your team is fulfilling the services by investigating your ticket metrics of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
  4. Ask your customer what are the top things they recommend to be changed or improved. It is also important to ask what things are performing well and should not be changed.
  5. With the gathered information, agree with your customer what the most critical improvement actions should have the highest priority.
  6. Try to secure a reoccurring scheduled meeting with leadership of the customer groups. A monthly meeting with a set agenda is preferred.

Help Desk Staff

Your staff is concerned with their pay, schedule, work environment, career opportunities, and recognition of their efforts. The want to feel appreciated and if they do not, morale, productivity, and employee engagement will be negatively impacted. To keep staff engaged, you and their direct supervisor must meet with them regularly. This means meeting with staff individually and as a team. As a new Help Desk Manager, it is important to create positive energy in the work environment by obtaining input from the staff on what issues are present and acting on it. Many companies use an outside consultant as the initial meeting facilitator to create a safe and confidential environment. Staff will be more comfortable confiding with an outside consultant and will improving the detail and accuracy of the information gathered. Once you have the compiled input from the staff, the results should be shared and discussed with the team. The discussion should lead to recommendations to correct issues. Then meet with the department leadership to discuss issues and recommended improvements. Come up with a priority plan to implement the approved improvements. Continuously communicate the issues, improvement plan, and implementation status to the staff.

Key actions with Help Desk Staff

  1. Setup reoccurring monthly team and individual contributor meetings. Weekly team meetings and monthly individual meetings are recommended.
  2. For your initial meetings, compiled a list of issues and proposed solutions.
  3. Secure agreement and buy in from your boss and staff on the proposed solutions.
  4. Prioritize the list of solutions, define an implementation plan, and assign projects and tasks.
  5. Communicate status of your improvements with accurate metrics and data to your stakeholders.

Help Desk Vendors

Vendors must be actively managed and have clear lines of communication, so it is important to be engaged. Start by reviewing the current contracted agreement between your company and a vendor. Understand the who, what, when, and how specified in the contract. The agreement will have very important information specifying the service they provide and should have measurable targets identified. Analyze performance reports and determine what areas of improvements are needed, including the actual performance report data. Once you have a good understanding of the agreed service targets in the contract and performance, it is time to reach out to the vendor account manager. Have scheduled status meeting and ensure that you receive good performance reports.

Key actions with Help Desk Vendors

  1. Review vendor contracts related to your department and any performance reports provided by the vendor.
  2. Document any gaps in service, areas of concern, and information needed in the future.
  3. Meet with the vendor account team. Discuss gaps in service, areas of concern, and information needed in the future.
  4. Establish a reoccurring meeting with each vendor to discuss performance and improvement initiatives. Preferably schedule a weekly meeting.

Conclusion - The 4 groups important for Help Desk Manager

To build and advance your career as a Help Desk Manager, it is important to quickly build relationships and collaborate with key stakeholders and have clear lines of communication. All issues raised should be logged, researched, and if applicable have a solution implemented. Timely feedback on the status of this investigation is critical. Follow these steps to build a world class department for your company and be a successful Help Desk Manager.


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

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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 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

Continue reading

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

Jul 30

Help Desk Escalation Support Group

You have trained your Help Desks Agents with support skills, your knowledge base is full of solutions, and you First Contact Resolution percentage is seventy percent or better. This still means that thirty percent of all Help Desk contacts (phone, email, and other means) are escalated to another group. What is a Help Desk escalation support group and how does that work?

How does a Help Desk Escalation Support Group work?

If the Help Desk Agent is unable to solve a ticket, the ticket must be able to quickly and easily be passed on to an advanced support group called an escalation support group. An escalation support group is the second level and above support groups that handle more complex issues originating from the Help Desk. These groups include the system administrators, engineers, and developers responsible for the maintaining service. Continue reading

Jul 25

Building a Help Desk from scratch

Building a Help Desk from scratch or redesigning an existing Help Desk requires thoughtful planning and efficient execution. There are many core and secondary components that make up an award winning Help Desk that at times it will seem like you are juggling tasks. However each of the components we will be discussing will have inter-dependencies with other components and will have to be considered when building a Help Desk from scratch.

Help Desk structure

Determine your Help Desk structure and where it will be located when you are building a Help Desk from scratch. It can be centralized in one office, decentralized into multiple offices with all Help Desk Agents logging into one call system, or it can follow the sun with offices around the world directing the calls to the office under daytime hours.

Help Desk contact channels Continue reading

Nov 29

What is ITIL? IT Service Management Support for Business Value

What is ITIL?

In the 1980’s, Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) version 1 was developed by the UK Government for better IT Service Management, control and performance. What is ITIL? ITIL v1 was IT process focused. In the year 2000, ITIL v2 was introduce to a growing base of users. ITIL v2 was a consolidated focus of ITIL v1. The main books were the Service Support and Service Design books. In 2005, ITIL v3 was introduced. ITIL v3 focused on the Service Lifecycle and business focused results. In 2011 ITIL was refreshed with an ITIL 2011 version. The ITIL 2011 version identified a fully process model for all of the processes and is comprised of five books called Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation, and Continual Service.

So what is ITIL? Continue reading

Oct 01

Help Desk Problem Management

The Help Desk receives excessive calls when problems are left unfixed and have an adverse service impact on the business. The objective of Problem Management is to reduce or eliminate the impact of problems on the company. Problem Management plays an important role in the detection, finding the root cause and providing solutions to problems to avoid their recurrence. At the Help Desk Problem Management is important to eliminate the frequent occurrence of problems. This also includes publishing workarounds & known errors to ensure the Help Desk Agents are handling these issues consistently.

Step 1 – Prioritizing problem management investigation candidates:

A problem investigation is initiated by identifying service issue candidates. Problem management candidates can be identified by any or all of the following methods; Continue reading