Helping a Helpless Help Desk: Part One

Teaching One to Fish

Give a person a fish, and you feed them for a day. Teach that person to fish and you will feed them for a lifetime. Staff your help desk with bright, capable people and fail to ‘teach them to fish’ and you are in for a headache.

There are many tools to teach IT professionals to fish, so to speak, when it comes to help desk skills. A good knowledgebase, a good ticket tracking system that allows for searching on past and similar incidents, effective self-training tools within the help desk, and effective self-service tools for end users empower and educate help desk IT staff.

So does allowing limited, secure access to perform secure-level IT tasks, enabling both micro-applications and micro-administration (watch for part two of this series for more information on that!). Today we will focus on the basics of helping a helpless help desk.

Signs Your Help Desk is Helpless

Unless you know what to look for you might think that your help desk is functioning just fine. These are signs that your help desk could use some work — and if this describes your own help desk, do not feel too poorly, as the typical help desk isn’t necessarily as functional as it could be. Even if your business help desk is lacking, help is on the way.

Dissatisfied end users is an obvious tell. If there are rumblings from end users about how the help desk didn’t actually help them, and these are frequent complaints, it’s time to investigate. You can always set up a survey system to ask people for feedback following a help desk interaction, if you are not sure of how end users are feeling.

If the help desk is slow to respond or is failing at completing tickets, there is a problem somewhere. If you use a help desk system with trackable metrics it should be simple to see how quickly issues are being resolved. You should also look at help desk volume, as if it is increasingly high, your help desk staff are not keeping up and there’s likely a solvable problem that will explain why.

It’s not just quantity, it is quality, too. If your help desk personnel are inconsistent in their approaches it is difficult for end users to feel confident in the help desk, as their solutions will vary depending on which tech is dealing with the issue. People may avoid the help desk if they know that a certain staff member is on shift, which changes the volume for other technicians. Or they may simply avoid the help desk and try to find solutions on their own, adding to any sense of dissatisfaction.

Solving the Help Desk Problem

Start with a good knowledgebase. This is your data and information repository for help desk staff, and in some cases, for end users who are empowered to access certain parts of the repository for self-service tools.

The knowledgebase will hold resolutions, workarounds, and other information about common IT problems and their solutions. This means that when a technician gets a ticket they can easily refer to the information that will help, improving customer service and satisfaction and the amount of time it takes to solve problems. For simple issues with simple solutions, self-service portals take the pressure off of help desk staff and allow users to fix their problems without having to wait for the help desk response. The knowledgebase should be regularly updated, and structured for simple search and navigation.

Ticket tracking functionality is valuable here, too. You will want a help desk system that allows for assigning tickets based on the criteria you select, to ensure that the right technicians are managing the problems that fall within their scope. Tracking these tickets through to completion helps keep things moving quickly and allows the organization to identify any areas where things are bottlenecking or running into problems.

A searchable ticket database adds to the information found in the knowledgebase so that similar incidents from the past offer knowledge that hastens the resolution of already-solved problems. Help desk techs can use this information for self-training, to research and understand why issues come about and how others have solved the problems before.

Our everything HelpDesk software boasts these features and more. Add in the power of GroupLink® PowerShare™ and you will quickly find that your help desk is no longer helpless. PowerShare enables knowledge transfer between the IT department, help desk, and other savvy staff, expanding the resources your organization has to tackle even the biggest issues.

Contact us today to learn more about our software and how it can transform your help desk, and your business, for the better.

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