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Help Desk: 10 Best Practices, Strategies, & Metrics [2022]
Life and Style Daily
May 25, 2022
11 min

It’s not uncommon for businesses to deal with customer inquiries daily. While it comes with the territory, it can also be a major touchpoint for your business and its consumers. Without the right help desk strategy in place, your business could lose valuable resources and potential end-users.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of establishing a successful help desk with the best practices, strategies, and key KPIs to look out for.

10 Help Desk Best Practices

Establishing a help desk strategy should be a priority for any business that wants to boost its customer service and gain more value from its customers. Specifically, help desk best practices set the stage, so there’s no room for mistakes.

1. A Help Desk Is a Workplace Resource

Think of your help desk as a workplace resource that consistently serves the vital function of customer support. As such, it’s critical to make your helpdesk:

  • Automated — Provide customers with the right solutions in a timely manner. Retain your workforce by automating repetitive manual tasks. Make sure you include advanced technology like chatbots and AI that can provide more proactive customer support. This will cut down on costs and provide quick response times, which will mean a happy customer. In addition, automated solutions like a self-service portal and knowledge base have the potential to enable your personnel to focus on more critical tasks, such as boosting customer satisfaction by enhancing the overall value of your products and services.
  • Effective — Your IT help desk should possess the right combination of practices, technologies, and expertise to provide optimal results for your organization.
  • Efficient — Maximize the value of your workforce and reduce costs by providing a speedy, effective help desk workflow.
  • Expansive — Include all of your key stakeholders, from support personnel to C-level executives, to create meaningful communication. This will eliminate any gaps in communication, thus improving the overall customer experience.

2. A Help Desk Is a Business Asset

Remember to treat your help desk as a critical business asset. This means everyone from the top management down should play an equal role in its performance. Below are some of the key ways to keep your help desk running smoothly:

  • Communicate — Create a clear picture of what customer support looks like for your organization. Conduct regular meetings for all key stakeholders so it’s easier to communicate problems and solutions.
  • Make It a Part of the Business Strategy — Establish strong communication between your customer service, sales, and marketing departments. This will help ensure that all departments work towards the same goal: happy customers.
  • Don’t Forget to Measure Results — With a well-defined strategy, your customer support program will be able to better measure its success in improving relationships with customers. This will give you even more insight.

3. A Help Desk Is Important for Your Bottom Line

The key to a successful help desk program starts with the right metrics in place. These help desk metrics are designed to improve your organization and, ultimately, your bottom line. They essentially:

  • Keep the customer at the center of everything — Keep your customers at the center of every decision you make, including how you train your workforce, structure your business processes, and define goals and objectives.
  • Improve your customer satisfaction — Ensure your employees have the right skills to make customers feel valued, relevant, and valuable within your organization.
  • Reduce costs — Reduce costs by providing flexible resources such as temporary staffing for help desk positions and outsourcing help desk services.

4. A Help Desk Needs a Solid Strategy

A successful help desk strategy isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Every help desk strategy is different and requires careful collaboration from key stakeholders from across the organization.

To achieve this end, you need a detailed strategy. Now, to make things easier for your business, follow these helpful tips:

  • Plan — Before implementing your plan, establish a clear set of goals and objectives with the help of all stakeholders. Then map out a step-by-step plan for achieving these goals and include regular check-ins along the way.
  • Select the Right Help Desk Technology — By 2023, the support desk software industry will be worth USD 11 billion. As such, you must ensure that you choose the most appropriate technology for your organization. This will save high costs and enhance the customer experience.

5. A Help Desk Needs a Perfect Staffing Mix

Like any other aspect of your business, your help desk needs a staffing mix that’s right for all aspects of customer support. To get things started, here are some basic elements you need to consider:

  • Numbers — Start by establishing a number of positions and allocating them to different departments within your organization to ensure effective collaborative efforts.
  • Skills — Establish basic minimum customer service skills, such as the ability to: Answer questions about products and services. Search for information about specific products and services. Provide information about a customer’s needs, requests, and complaints.
  • Training — Ensure that your help desk staff has been properly trained in basic customer support skillsets. This will ensure that they can easily answer customer support inquiries and provide superior levels of customer service.

6. A Help Desk Is Needed to Foster a Strong Customer Experience

The best help desk will always involve a team made up of both technical and non-technical staff who are trained to provide top-notch customer support. However, it would also be wise to consider the following aspects:

  • Customer-centric — Ensure that all customer service reps focus on providing the highest levels of support for customers. Also, look for ways in which your organization can proactively engage with customers to get feedback.
  • Training — Train your staff on the right techniques for providing support. This includes how to handle negative feedback, how to deal with irate customers, how to resolve customer issues, and so forth. In addition, regular training and career planning make help desk personnel happier.
  • Accountability — Make sure that you clearly define the support expectations of your help desk. This includes what constitutes an ideal response time, how they should resolve customer issues, and more.

7. A Help Desk Should Be an Extension of Other Communication Channels

All communication channels play a critical role in making your company’s help desk strategy successful.

Remember that they are all used to talking with customers but may have unique purposes. Follow these best practices:

  • Written — Use written communication (letters, pamphlets, emails) for introducing new products or services. This can also be used for communicating regularly with existing customers about your upcoming events and special offers.
  • Telephone — Use the telephone as an effective way to reach out to customers and answer any questions they may have.
  • Social Media — Social media is a means of communication ideal for reaching out to your customers. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you connect with your customers through social media and ask them to send you their questions and concerns.
  • In-Person Communication — In-person communication is an excellent way to showcase your company’s personality. Use this opportunity to speak about the latest products and services being offered, as well as upcoming events.

8. A Help Desk Should Be Integrated With Your Marketing Efforts

Your marketing efforts should be used to keep your company’s name in front of its potential customers. But when it comes to help desk software, you need to use it to support your customers as they interact with your brand. Here’s how:

  • Marketing — Use social media such as Twitter and Facebook to let customers know about new promotions and special offers.
  • Email — Use email as a way to communicate with customers. This allows you to target them because they are already part of your existing database.
  • Online Portal — Develop an online portal connected to your help desk software so that customers can interact with it easily and quickly.

9. A Help Desk Is Needed for Your Company’s Success

Your company’s success depends on the success of your help desk team. But without the right training, it will always be an uphill battle. The following are some best practices that you need to implement:

  • Help Desk Training — You must make sure that your help desk staff is trained on how to provide the best level of customer support. This includes basic customer service skill sets and how to handle specific situations or requests.
  • Customer Service Training — Your staff should be trained in the skills needed to deal with customers and their needs. These may include a positive and helpful attitude, the ability to think quickly on their feet, and to explain complex technical topics.
  • Reduced Costs - Machine learning augmented IT service desks will release up to 30% support capacity.

10. A Help Desk Should Be Supported With the Right Processes

Even the best help desk software needs to be supported by business processes. These processes can help you perform all of your daily tasks, including:

  • Issue Tracking — Create a process for efficiently tracking customer issues and what they do when they cannot resolve an issue themselves. This should include reporting back on the progress and ensuring that it is resolved promptly.
  • Scheduling — Ensure that you have a process for scheduling new help desk support contracts. This process should include going through the contract and ensuring that all of your expectations are properly defined in a timely manner.
  • Documentation — Ensure that you have all of the information you need to manage your customer service teams and the software they use. This will ensure that their processes are comprehensive and consistent.

6 Effective Strategies to Boost Service Desk Performance

Your help desk can be a potent tool that serves as an extension of your company’s brand. As a result, your company needs to make a significant investment in creating the right strategies. Here are just some of the strategies that you need to consider:

A Help Desk Must Be Properly Managed

A help desk should be managed by someone well-versed in customer service and who understands what it takes to manage support staff effectively. Their responsibility is to ensure that the customer service team meets customer expectations and that the help desk software is used effectively. Here are some best strategies you need to follow:

  • Autonomy — Give your customer service team the freedom to resolve issues on their own. This will ensure that they aren’t sitting around waiting for instructions but are instead empowered to make the right decisions about how their customers are handled.
  • Training — Make sure you have trained your support staff on all of the tools they will be using, including the help desk software. Proper training will ensure that they can effectively use your tools and provide the best customer service possible.

A Help Desk Should Be Supported by an Effective Ticketing System

Your help desk software can be used to process incoming tickets and convert them into well-defined tasks with specific owners and due dates.

This is a critical strategy for ensuring that your help desk agents have enough work to stay busy, but not so much work that it becomes too difficult or overwhelming for them to handle. Here are a few best strategies that you need to consider:

  • Workload — Make sure your customer service staff can handle their workload. This should include completing their tasks on time and following defined guidelines.
  • Automation — The best help desk ticketing systems will automate the process of converting the tickets into tasks and assigning each ticket to an agent. This will ensure that the tickets being put into the queue are prioritized according to needed skill sets and time frames.

A Help Desk Should Be Supported by Effective Communication

Your team should be supported by effective communication. This means that they are regularly kept up to date with company goals and the progress they have made towards them.

It also means that they have access to relevant information, such as how many tickets have been handled, what service is needed, and the projected turnaround time for each ticket. Here are some best strategies to follow:

  • Daily Communication — Make sure that your support staff understands that communication is an essential part of their jobs. This means that daily communication is required to ensure that no one falls behind on their tasks and personal goals.
  • Real-time Information — Keep your communication channels current and up to date with relevant information, including the latest service issues being logged by customers. This will ensure that you can maintain communications in real-time and not just once a day when the ticket has been resolved.

A Help Desk Should Be Supported by Effective Training

The training of your help desk staff should be supported by both formal classroom training and hands-on experiences.

This will ensure that they have ample experience with the systems they will be supporting and a basic understanding of industry regulations. Here are some best strategies that you need to consider:

  • Training Center — Having a training center for your staff to train on your tickets, tools, and overall processes will ensure that your staff is always up-to-date with the latest industry regulations and the software they need to use effectively.
  • Hands-on Experience — Implement a hands-on training program for your help desk support staff. This will ensure that they have experience using the software and can resolve issues similar to those presented by real customers. Only 24% of respondents believe current ITSM best practices have kept pace with evolving IT and business environments.

A Help Desk Should Be Supported by Effective Goal-Setting

Your team should be supported by effective goal-setting. This will ensure that their work can be tracked and have defined expectations that they need to meet. Here are some best strategies to consider:

  • Measurable Goals — All goals should be measurable, including how many tickets are processed and how long it takes them to resolve them. Setting these goals will ensure that they know what they need to do to meet their objectives.
  • Realistic Goals — Make sure that your goals are realistic. This means that they aren’t set too high and can be reached within a reasonable amount of time. Setting these realistic goals will ensure that the information communicated is accurate and that service expectations are met.

A Help Desk Should Be Supported by Effective Learning

The learning of your help desk support staff should be supported through continued education programs, internal sharing of knowledge, and the latest tools being used in the industry. Here are some best strategies that you need to consider:

  • Internal Sharing of Knowledge — Make sure that your support staff is well-educated and can share their experiences with others on the team. This will ensure that everyone has the correct information, in addition to gaining new insight into resolving issues.
  • Continued Education — Ensure that your support staff continues their education through online classes, seminars, and group discussions. They should have adequate experience with the latest tools in the industry and a firm understanding of industry regulations.

6 Metrics to Measure Help Desk Success

Once you have set up your help desk software and got your help desk support staff up and running, it will be essential to determine how well you are doing. This requires that you first use a metric that works for you to measure the success of your department.

For example, if your goal is to process 50 tickets each day by the end of the week, you need to determine what will make you get there.

1. Ticket Volume

Support teams cost $2.93 to $49.69 per ticket. The average ticket is $15.56. A ticket costs $1.60 per minute to handle. To determine success, you need to calculate the number of tickets processed each day.

You can do this by counting how many tickets come into the help desk and adding them up over a given period of time, or you can use a software solution that tracks ticket counts.

2. Time to Resolution

Another important metric is to measure how long the average ticket takes to get resolved. You can do this by determining the average time it takes to process a ticket or using a software solution to count how long it takes each ticket to reach the next queue.

3. First Contact Resolution Rate

The first resolution rate measures how quickly your agents can resolve issues. To determine how successful your agents are, you should divide the number of tickets resolved within 24 hours by the total number of tickets processed and then multiply that value by 100, which will be the percentage value.

4. Ticket Volatility

To determine how effective your help desk is at handling IT service issues, you need to track the amount of ticket volatility within the system. To do this, you need to track how many tickets are closed out in each specific queue. This will help you determine the average turnaround time for each agent on your team.

5. Customer Satisfaction

To determine how satisfied customers are with the ITR support they receive from your department, you need to conduct customer satisfaction surveys and analyze the results. You can do this by comparing the percentage of surveys returned with the average number of tickets that were closed.

6. Technical Support Hours

Most support teams track customer satisfaction (48%) and problems addressed (39%). To determine how many hours your customer service agents spend solving issues for your customers, you need to divide each agent’s time spent resolving an issue by the number of tickets. This is expressed as a customer support hour, which can then be used to compare yourself against your competitors.

Conclusion

With so many help desk software solutions and options available, it can be difficult to determine which one is best for your business. The key is to first determine what issues you are currently facing with your current system and then figure out if there is a solution that will work for you. The help desk software should provide numerous benefits for your business, including increased efficiency and lowered costs.

By evaluating the cost of a solution against the value it will bring to your business, you can more accurately determine the best solution. So don’t let your help desk struggle — choose the right ticketing system and practices to streamline operations.


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