Best Practices for Help/Service Desk
Top 10 Tips To Become a World Class Provider of IT Service
Best practices for a help desk are service management oriented. They are the way an IT organization can be a world class performer versus an average organization. They are necessary for those organizations that are going to succeed in these turbulent times. Here are ten (10) best practices that we have seen are:
- Make the help and service desk functions part of the IT career path - not a holding area for poor performers - Staff needs to have both technical and communication skills to perform the user support functions. They are the first point of contact. They must have the ability to handle stressful situations and unhappy users.
- Implement a formal training program for users - Employees who are effectively trained on how to use business applications, will use the help desk for real issues and will reduce the requirement to use the help desk as a crutch because they do not know how applications work.
- Implement a formal training program for help desk staff - Help desk staff that is properly trained will provide more consistent service to the user base. They understand the application better and have a common policies, procedures, and processes they follow which provides a consistent level of service to the user base.
- Provide a link between the Help Desk and the problem solving unit - When a service request comes in via the help desk do not have a layer of bureaucracy which inhibits the help desk in coming up with a solution within a reasonable time frame.
- Place help desk resources close to users - When a user has an issue that needs to be addressed the help desk needs to be available then and there. Time zones need to be taken into account. If the help desk is on the East coast and the users are on the West coast the help desk needs to be available during the working hours of the using organization.
- Staff to the level needed not the level approved - When there is a hiring freeze and your enterprise is in the process of implementing a new system, get the extra staff needed. It will cost less in the long run and be a much easier problem to address.
- Implement a customer is always right process - When a user addresses an issue via the Help Desk, understand that it is an issue to them. If one user has the problem then another has the same one or will have. Do not assume that the customer is wrong or there is no problem.
- Implement a 7/24 Help Desk Solution - Users work at all hours of the day and seven days of the week. Have a way for the user to contact the help desk on off hours and provide support when the problem occurs and do not force the user to wait until Monday at 9:00 AM Pacific Coast time.
- Pay Help Desk staff for the coverage provided - Compensate adequately for after hours support and for 7/24 email - pager coverage
- Provide updates to problem status in a timely manner - Users should be updated on the status of issues they have in a timely manner. It is always better to call the user and tell them when you expect a solution rather that has them call and ask.