A Quick Look at Common Help Desk problems and solutions

7/24/16 10:56 AM / by Jose Alvarez

Jose Alvarez

IT-help-desk-issues.jpg

 

It’s one thing to have to wait in long hold queues when you’re calling your cable company for help desk services, but quite another when you’re being asked to hold from within your own company.Overworked and overwhelmed help desk staff can create a headache for employees at all levels of your corporation, while those unnecessary wait times waste valuable work hours. Some companies might simply hire more help desk staff, but the problems tend to run much deeper than personnel only. In fact, the situations that create help desk challenges are complex and can’t be easily cured by simply adding more people.

Common Help Desk Problems

When help desk problems start to snowball, the end result is a poor level of service to the end user.

Whether your corporation is suffering from one problem or many, the consequences will be the same—the key is to proactively identify the potential issues so that you can begin to improve your help desk service in a big-picture way.

These are a few of the most common problems large companies experience with internal help desks:

  • Rapid service desk employee turnover. When your employees see the help desk as a brief stop on their career path rather than a destination in itself, the service level suffers dramatically.Not only do those rotating door operators each deliver various qualities of service, creating internal inconsistency, it’s very difficult to generate reliable metrics because so many members of the help desk team are either still in training or in the process of moving on at any given time.
  • Lack of dedicated IT help desk staff. Many corporations have a group of IT professionals who are meant to be the jacks of all trades when it comes to anything computer related. That means that the same guys who are certified to handle in-person end user support issues are also doing basic tasks like resetting passwords and unlocking accounts.Although this might seem like an efficient use of resources, it’s anything but—a lack of a dedicated help desk staff means that this company is wasting a valuable, highly-trained employee on a job that could often be outsourced or handled by a junior staff member.
  • Lack of documented procedures. A “laissez-faire” approach to the help desk is one that rarely works for long, especially if your business has grown considerably since your help desk staff was first hired. If your employees lack documented procedures or frequent training to keep them on the same page, the chances are high that they’re also not implementing service in any consistent way.That’s why one help desk person may seem to be constantly busy and another always free—when the people in your company see that the first employee is more knowledgeable and delivers better service, they’ll call him every time. A lack of documented procedures may also mean that you don’t have a structure for handling tickets and escalations, or the organization required to keep the systems running smoothly in the first place.

When the help desk is lacking in basic efficiencies, your end-user IT costs increase dramatically. That’s the big picture problem you’re facing. With so many companies looking for ways to trim the budget, these inefficient practices cost both directly in manpower and indirectly in lost work hours.

 

Solving IT Help Desk Issues

IT Help desk issues don’t have to be budget-crashers if you can redesign your processes to be more process-dependent instead of people-dependent.

Process-dependent help desks rely on well-documented procedures that create a uniform plan for handling each type of call, no matter how complicated, so that your other employees feel confident calling the help desk when they need assistance instead of calling an individual help desk employee to come to the rescue.

Process-dependent structures are both more cost-efficient and, in the end, more fair for everyone involved in your company. Your help desk employees share the load evenly and your other employees feel like they’re each getting the same level of service each time they call the service desk. If you only have a few help desk employees or have a high turnover rate in that area, this might be the ideal time to outsource your first-level IT help desk callers to an experienced technology service desk company. This way, your simple calls can be answered quickly and difficult ones can be rerouted to your in-house team.

 

Choosing Your Outsourced Help Desk Provider

When you’re looking for a provider, don’t let price alone guide your choice, though.

Make sure any potential outsourced IT partner provides a mature service management framework for helpdesk operations as well as metrics that include both actual numbers and predictive trends that can help improve efficiency and overall ticket reduction. A company with staff enough to cover all your necessary shifts plus at least 30 percent additional staff trained to handle overflows or unplanned turnover will ensure that all calls are handled in a timely manner. In this scenario, a remote service desk should be able to resolve up to 70 percent of Level 1 end-user incidents, leaving the other 30 percent for your local team.

Hiring a remote team should also mean that you’re actually getting a huge influx of data about its performance at any given time. Although there are numerous metrics your provider may track, a few that will be vital to understanding how well they’re really doing include: call abandonment rate, first call resolution, average speed to answer, incident and request response time, incident resolutions time, request completion times, average time to complete requests and average time to resolve incidents.

 

Don’t get overwhelmed by your help desk problems

IT help desk challenges can be overwhelming if you don’t know what’s going wrong in your company or how to start to correct it. The good news is that by refocusing your efforts into a process-dependent structure that’s built on training and documentation, you can streamline your help desk service into the organization you’ve always imagined it could be.

Landing Help Desk

Jose Alvarez

Written by

Jose Alvarez

Jose leads our IT Outsourcing and Solutions practice and has extensive experience always delivering best practices. His expertise includes IT strategic planning, cost control programs, emerging technologies, IT operations and infrastructure management.