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8 IT Help Desk Best Practices for Your Company

IT Help desk best practices

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Growing businesses constantly add new staff, clients, and physical locations. This tends to push IT overhead costs up as well. In many cases, IT overhead costs can grow faster than the business growth rate. 

Many unexpected issues can arise: employee laptops may malfunction, your on-prem server may go offline mysteriously, the internet can stop working. In this situation, you can’t just let your employees take a breather while someone figures out how to fix the issue. Every minute of downtime represents a sunk cost and less revenue for your business.

If left unaddressed, these IT issues can prevent your firm from reaching its potential.

Your go-to resource in this case should be the IT strategy; a dedicated plan that helps to manage IT challenges. 

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the top IT helpdesk best practices for your company to make sure it’s a highly-functional and efficient department.

1. Choose the correct software for your situation

Requesting IT support can’t be through an ad hoc approach or tracked in an Excel sheet.

IT service management software such as ServiceNow helps bring visibility and clarity to your help desk operations. This software will keep track of open and closed tickets, resolution turnaround times, IT asset availability, and other real time reporting metrics that help reign in costs.

However, you must ensure that the help desk software is set up and configured properly in order to serve your business to the best of its abilities.

2. Get for Outside Help

To have a helpdesk that is seamless and guaranteed to always deliver, it’s best practice to outsource your help desk to a managed service provider. A managed service provider has the expertise, software, and capacity to meet all of your needs. 

The benefits of managed services include cost reduction, immediate remediation, expertise, and scalability. Often times, a managed service provider is able to provide flexible financing while meeting your needs saving your company money and time.  

3. Hire the right people

An IT helpdesk is a specialized function which requires specific skills and training. Therefore, it is absolutely crucial that you hire talent well-versed in customer service delivery, relationship management, and proficient in IT service desk best practices.

In order to have an effective help desk that can service your customers, employees, and stakeholders you need a team of certified experts. The number of experts you need depends on your business. 

As a best practice, your team should be made up of:

  1. Tier 1 Support Personnel – who are entry level, and can fulfill requests by following a script. Any issue that can not be resolved by Tier 1 would be escalated to the next tier. 
  2. Tier 2 Support Personnel – who have deep knowledge and experience and can provide solutions for technical problems that Tier 1 cannot solve. They often carry advanced certifications. 
  3. Tier 3 Support Personnel – who are highly trained and skilled individuals (can be engineers) who can find the root cause of problems.
  4. Team Leader – who is ITIL certified and able to manage a group of people and understand the requirements of the customers and the business. 

Depending on the size of your business and what you offer, your team may not need Tier 3 support personnel. As a best practice, it is important to have access to outside help. 

4. Integrate Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

When you set up your IT helpdesk, you want a minimum level of commitment from your team. For example, an IT support ticket should have a clearly-defined window for resolution. Without an SLA you’re essentially saying that tickets can be dealt with as and when the department feels like resolving them.

An SLA helps keep your support department accountable as well as identify irritants that might be preventing them from building out a better resolution process.

To have an effective SLA, your service level agreement should:

  1. Be aligned with the desired outcome
  2. Have measurable tactics to constantly track performances and accountability
  3. Have the workflows in place for escalations

5. Have enough capacity

In order for your helpdesk to perform optimally, it must be staffed by the appropriate amount of people too. 

When you’re first starting out, it’s okay if your helpdesk only has one or two people. But as your business grows, your support ticket volumes will escalate too. To meet your SLAs and ensure that the resolution turnaround time doesn’t increase dramatically, you will need to fill your team appropriately..

While this could be viewed as a resource drain, it’s important to understand that an inefficient helpdesk department has a deleterious impact on your firm. 

Read more about outsourced IT:

The cost of IT support for small businesses

The benefits of hiring an MSP

Staff augmentation vs managed services

 

6. Create a knowledge base

While an IT support team is an essential requirement for your business, you don’t want your desk team to constantly engage in menial jobs.

A knowledge base, or an FAQ section helps automate some of your customer support deliverables. This section can address some of the most common service requests such as a spotty internet connection or misfiring printer. Plus, it frees up your service desk team to concentrate on tasks that require expert help.

7. Software Integration

It’s extremely important to use one system for all of your helpdesk activities or ensure that all of your software is able to seamlessly integrate together. 

Activities like tickets, endpoint management, network management, escalations, etc., should not be conducted in siloed softwares or services.  If platforms are siloed it will lead to miscommunication and mismanagement. It’s especially important to ensure that the client facing software is a holistic system. 

Having an integrated system will result in:

  • Quicker operations
  • Reduced costs
  • Stronger communication

8. Try to resolve tickets with the first point of contact

One of the benefits of an IT helpdesk is that it provides a single point of contact to the individual requesting support. The support agent is able to analyze the problem and, hopefully, resolve it themselves. 

Frustration starts to creep in when the affected person has to explain the problem to multiple helpdesk personnel. Train your staff so that they’re able to cater to the entire gamut of support needs and won’t have to refer the issue to someone else.

9. Measure performance

It’s important to have key insights into how well the helpdesk is performing so it can continuously be improved upon and continue to deliver high satisfaction. You can also receive insights from customers. Using surveys like NPS scores to gather data and review your customers pain points. 

It’s important to keep track of ticket resolution, response time, time-to-solve rate, Level 2 and Level 3 escalations amongst other important metrics such as: 

With this information, helpdesk training can be improved upon and efficiency can be maximized.

 

IT Service Management KPIs:

Performance Metrics:Incident Tracking: Alterations:
Customer satisfaction ratings # of tickets resolved# of changes to solve issue
# of requests submitted# of tickets resolved in the first SLA# of changes casing the incidents
# of requests fulfilledAverage time to resolve a ticket% of failed changes

 

10. Get Outside Help

To have a helpdesk that is seamless and guaranteed to always deliver, it’s best practice to outsource your help desk to a managed service provider. A managed service provider has the expertise, software, and capacity to meet all of your needs. 

The benefits of managed services include cost reduction, immediate remediation, expertise, and scalability. Often times, a managed service provider is able to provide flexible financing while meeting your needs saving your company money and time. 

The Bottom Line 

Building an IT helpdesk isn’t a straightforward affair as it requires substantial resources and time. If you’re looking to acquire expert skills and knowledge of best practices, consider a managed IT services provider (MSP) for turnkey solutions that won’t break the bank.