The Top 6 Total Contact Ownership best practices will place customers first

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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.

Creating a procedure for the total contact ownership process is important. The Help Desk agents needed to know what is required of them. A mature Help Desk can incorporate additional steps in the incident management and service request management procedures. These steps are important to document to ensure the Help Desk agent is maintaining ownership of their tickets. Make sure the following total contact ownership best practices are part of the procedure.

Top 6 Total Contact Ownership best practices

1. Warm Transfer Escalation

If the Help Desk agent is unable to resolve the issue, they should attempt to warm transfer the issue to the escalation group. If the escalation group is unavailable then the Help Desk agent will monitor the ticket to ensure that it becomes assigned to an engineer.

2. Customer Status Updates 

The Help Desk agent will provide regular updates on the status of the ticket to the customer.

3. Control Agent ticket workload

If the Help Desk Agent is the owner of too many tickets, the agent should be given opportunities off the phone to catch up on ticket status and documentation.

4. Provide Good Ticket Support Notes

When an engineer from the escalation resolves the issue, the Help Desk agent will review the ticket’s support notes. If there is not enough information or the Help Desk agent does not understand the support notes, the Help Desk agent will contact the engineer.

5. Customer Approval to Close their Ticket

Before closing the ticket and issue, the Help Desk agent will obtain approval from the customer that the issue has been resolved.

6. Create KnowledgeBase articles as Needed

After resolving and closing the ticket, the Help Desk agent will ensure that a knowledge article has been created to capture the resolution steps for a future incident.

Benefits to implementing Total Contact Ownership.

  • First Contact Resolution (FCR) – Help desk management will see a significant increase in resolving issues on first contact. Help desk agents know they own the ticket and have a vested interest to ensure it is resolved correctly.
  • Employee Engagement – The help desk agent engagement will improve with the agent having a sense of ownership and empowerment of the ticket and process.
  • Performance management – The quality of the work per help desk agent will also improve with the ability of management to manage the performance of the agent. This is done by keeping track of FCR, escalation duration, and documented customer contacts.
  • Customer Satisfaction – Customers like to be kept in the loop of their requests for help. Sometimes resolutions may take a while but sharing updates will go a long way of improving the experience.

Customers that call a help desk that has implemented Total Contact Ownership feel they have a voice and that someone is looking out for them. They feel confident that when they report an issue, the issue will be addressed properly and in a timely manner.

Keys to implementing Total Contact Ownership

The keys to successfully implementing Total Contact Ownership are common sense and straightforward.

  • Training and procedures – The help desk agents and the escalation groups must receive proper training and set expectations of the process.
  • Escalation process – If the help desk agent as the contact owner is unable to resolve the incident, the agent escalates this to the appropriate escalation group.
  • Customer communication – The customer is kept up to date with the entire resolution process, status updates from the help desk agent who owns the ticket.
  • Service Level Agreements – The help desk and escalation group has a pre-negotiated timeframe to resolve the incident reported by the customer.
  • Performance management – The performance of the help desk agent resolving and closing tickets must be measured both in volume and duration. This will lead to identifying coaching opportunities, knowledge article improvements and process improvements.

Placing customers first with Total Contact Ownership

To significantly improve customer satisfaction at your help desk, implementing Total Contact Ownership is a great step. The help desk will become accountable to the customers they support and lead to more engaged employees.

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