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BLOG: 10 tips for tidying up your IT help desk

Doug Hibberd | Oct. 1, 2012
The two most important goals of any IT department are improving end-user satisfaction and lowering costs.

3. Communication is key
If a manager wants to improve end-users' satisfaction, he or she absolutely has to keep them informed about the progress of problems they have reported. To end-users, silence seems like a lack of progress or worse, that IT is ignoring their requests. Too many times, help desk analysts solve problems and simply close trouble tickets or fail to communicate to the end-user that they are researching the problem or conferring with other techs. Put a set of reasonable guidelines in place about how and when to communicate to end-users. Then, take it a step further and communicate to the end-users exactly what those guidelines are. This will help manage end-users' expectations and give techs the breathing room they need to research and resolve problems.

4. Don't wait to escalate
If there is one thing that leads to lower productivity for both techs and end-users, it is allowing a tech to struggle for too long with a problem. If a second-level tech can solve in 10 minutes a problem that would take a first-level tech an hour, it makes sense to escalate the ticket and let the first-level tech move on to other tickets. Implement a time-based policy for the escalation of trouble tickets that makes sense for the organisation. This is an easy way to decrease the trouble ticket counts and end-user frustration while increasing productivity.

5. Help end-users help themselves
Create an easily searchable external knowledge base for the organisation that let's end-users find quick resolutions to easy problems. Add a section for the most commonly encountered problems that end-users can resolve themselves. This will reduce the number of trouble tickets in the queue while increasing end-user satisfaction. It can also help improve job satisfaction for techs by letting them focus on more challenging problems.

6. You can't manage what you don't measure
This is especially true for end-user satisfaction. Survey end-users about how satisfied they are with each and every trouble ticket they open with the help desk. This information can help managers identify weak spots and provide helpful feedback to techs. Take it a step further and follow up with end-users that gave low marks to find out what the techs could have done better. Let them know that their manager heard them loud and clear. This will go a long way toward improving relations between the help desk and end-users.

7. Give techs the tools they need
Reduce trouble ticket resolution times and improve end-user satisfaction through the use of IT management tools. Remote support software is a great example of this type of IT management tool. Some remote support software let IT pros take control of a user's computer or complete Windows administration tasks like restarting services and checking event logs from a console on the help desk analyst's desktop. Network management software with advanced network troubleshooting tools and features that let an IT pro monitor network performance is another helpful example.


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