ITSM HACK #3: 6 secrets for supercharging the IT help desk

4 min read
23-Aug-2022 14:00:00

The IT help desk plays an integral role in establishing ITSM best practices in the organization, as they act as the first point of contact to the IT department for the rest of the business. But with IT teams having to meet increasing demands with little resources, help desk teams also suffer from an overwhelming volume of calls and inflexible, manual processes.

As part of our ITSM hacks series to help you optimize your IT service management, we’re looking at effective ways you can supercharge your IT help desk and help everyone achieve more.

The importance of supercharging the IT help desk

Gartner forecasted global spending on IT services will reach $1.3 trillion this year. It’s no wonder businesses are looking to the help desk as a great area of opportunity for improving the way they deliver IT services.

A capable and accessible IT help desk can have a highly positive impact on the business without having to pool large amounts of resources. Issues can be resolved quickly, the cost of calls can be lowered, and the level of productivity improved. By enhancing the process for both help desk agents and end-users, they have the flexibility and time to focus on strategic aspects of their roles and contribute to value-adding activities across the organization.

6 secrets for supercharging the IT help desk

So, what can you do to supercharge the IT help desk? Fortunately, there are many ways you can boost the performance of your help desk team. While not exactly secrets per se, we’ve compiled six high-impact ways to maximize the IT help desk’s capabilities.

1. Develop business-first help desk strategies

The IT help desk is commonly thought of as a support function and its activities are often simply seen as transactional processes. We need to shift away from this mindset. By not sharing the business’ vision with the help desk, they don’t have the direction or leadership that will enable them to strategically approach how services should be delivered. With no course set out, it’s easy for help desk teams to be in constant firefighting mode as they end up dealing with issues as they arise.

IT leaders need to pave the way to developing a ‘business-first’ mindset among their help desk teams. The help desk should be included in the overall IT strategies implemented and closely aligned with the organization’s business objectives. It’s important to communicate this with the team, too: explain what the strategies mean to them, what success looks like, and how they can achieve it.

2. Hire and retain the right people

A strategy is only effective with the right staff behind it, so gathering the best people for the job is a given.

Highly skilled IT help desk professionals are in demand and with the help desk having one of the highest turnover rates across the different business units, every hire is crucial to retain. You need to employ people that have the right combination of technical and soft skills to effectively communicate and deliver services to the end-users. But the real challenge is having robust onboarding and performance management programs, as well as clear training and progression opportunities, all of which contribute to building employee engagement.

3. Understand the end-user experience

The IT help desk’s success is dependent upon the end-user experience, so there’s no question that we need to grasp a thorough understanding of it. Before implementing a new tool or process, it’s important to observe how they’re already interacting with the help desk. What are they finding frustrating? Where or when are they dropping off or disengaging? Which services are they requesting often and how quickly are they getting resolved? By only knowing these first will you find out what changes are necessary.

Reporting tools are very handy in getting insights into these behaviors, but they can only take you so far. It’s also worth asking users directly through post-resolution surveys. The combination of qualitative and quantitative feedback can provide a better picture of what’s going on and you learn how best the help desk can support end-users.

4. Speed up processes with automation

In a consumer world, we expect services and related communications to be immediate, whether that’s an email confirmation of your latest Amazon order or a notification alert about your incident ticket being received.

Quickening your processes where possible is vital. How can you achieve critical elements of your strategy when your team is wasting time on routine, manual work that can be done automatically? Leverage your automation capabilities and free your agents’ time by relieving them of repetitive admin tasks that while necessary, deliver little value to their actual work.

5. Empower end-users with omnichannel self-service

Different end-users will have different needs, and this applies to their choice of communication, too. While some consider picking up the phone as their go-to for support, others might prefer chat or email, or even go on a forum to look for solutions. It’s important that end-users are provided with all these options.

Omnichannel self-service capabilities enable you to do just that. This alleviates pressure from your help desk team, diverting demand from the phone lines. It’s also great for end-users, as they can easily access services and explore solutions without having to carve out time out of their workday to wait on the phone. Furthermore, the omnichannel experience helps everyone seamlessly pick up and continue conversations whatever communication channel they’re on.

6. Use user-focused KPIs to make continuous improvements

As mentioned previously, a lot of information can be gained from your reporting tools. On the flip side, without direction, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the large amount of data and it can be difficult to comprehend what it’s saying.

Measuring everything just because you can only amount to wasted time and effort. What’s the point of measuring something you can’t improve? Instead, shift your focus on the user and track metrics that can help you improve the user experience. Depending on your goals, some of the KPIs that will be useful to track are average response time, ticket volume by channel, and rated tickets.

Supercharge your IT help desk with IFS assyst

By equipping the IT help desk with the right tools and optimizing key processes, your team can achieve service excellence and bring great value to the wider organization. And that’s what we’re here for.

Want to know how you can supercharge your IT help desk with IFS assyst? Get in touch today to discover how.

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