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 are your boss, the customers you support, the staff that reports 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. 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.
Stakeholder Groups: 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. Set up a method to track your progress against completing your department’s goals, objectives, and priorities. When providing updates and communicating with your boss, understanding the preferred communication method is important. 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.
Stakeholder Groups: Customers
Customers of a Help Desk can be from 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. Keeping the customers happy, productive, and informed is a top priority for your department. It is your job as a leader 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. For example, if your customer expects a new printer order to be fulfilled within 3 business days and your team think 5 days are reasonable, you will not meet customer expectations most of the time.
Stakeholder Groups: Your Staff
Your staff is concerned with their pay, schedule, work environment, career opportunities, and recognition of their efforts. They want to feel appreciated. Otherwise, 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 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 improve 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.
Stakeholder Groups: 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 vendors. 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 improvement 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 a status meeting and ensure that you receive good performance reports.