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New Year’s Resolutions to Boost IT Help Desk Effectiveness

January 13, 2014 No Comments

It is that time of the year again when you sit down, take stock of your IT help desk’s performance these past 12 months and chart a course for success in the new year. Call them New Year’s resolutions, departmental priorities or simply a plan of action; whatever the name, here’s a list of the top five things you could focus on in 2014.

1. Train Your Team

Training is like car insurance: You may not need it right now, but it comes in handy when you do. Training your service desk team members enables them to confidently handle any question that comes their way. Apart from on-the-job training, a formal training program can help develop skills, knowledge and confidence in your service desk team. Come up with a training plan and set aside budget and time to train your service desk staff throughout the year.

2. Know Your Numbers

You cannot manage what you don’t measure. List and measure a set of KPIs to help track your help desk performance. Metrics help define your help desk’s success and hold everyone accountable. Insight on key metrics like first-call resolution rate, average resolution time, percentage of SLA compliance, average end-user satisfaction rate, technician utilization, and cost per call can all definitely help you measure a help desk’s effectiveness. Set clear and attainable goals for each metric so that you can plan a course to achieving them. Goals such as getting that first-call resolution (FCR) rate to 80 percent, bringing your SLA compliance level to 75 percent, or getting the average end-user satisfaction rating over 90 percent are all examples of how specific your goals should be.

3. Build a Knowledge Base

An effective knowledge base reduces call volumes, improves technician productivity and increases end-user satisfaction. You can start with a simple FAQ list addressing issues that users call about the most and add new documentation along the way. A good tip is to ensure that your knowledge base is on a platform that allows for easy searching and submitting from end users, while also allowing the admin a simple way to publish, share and organize knowledge articles. Identify users who can work with technicians and other staff for content creation and review. Including specific monthly targets on knowledge base submissions as a KPI for technician performance is an added motivation.

4. Hone Your Technology Edge

If your help desk is still driven by legacy tools, you are missing out on big opportunities to improve its effectiveness. New features from leading help desk solutions can now automate workflows, offer remote support and provide advanced analytics and dashboards — all while being highly mobile-enabled to boot. The cloud is fast becoming a popular option if you want to free yourself from the chains of application maintenance. On-premise or on-cloud, the choice may depend on your IT operations and budget.

5. Foster Feedback

If you haven’t been surveying your end users for feedback, you are part of the tiny minority in the service management world that doesn’t. You can either roll out surveys after each incident is resolved or you could schedule annual surveys to measure overall performance and satisfaction levels. Effective surveys are commonly designed to take end-user input on the timeliness of response and resolution, effectiveness of the resolution, communication, and attitude of the help desk staff, but you could include questions that are more directly tied to the metrics and goals you’ve already set. A good best practice is to make sure the survey results are translated into a service improvement plan so your help desk is known for not just receiving complaints but also for acting on them!

How’s that for a head start on 2014? You may decide to implement some or all of the steps mentioned above as your needs dictate, but remember to start small, stay consistent and improve along the way for best results. Here’s to a happy, healthy and highly effective help desk in 2014!

Kumar Ramakrishnan_2

Kumar Ramakrishnan is a marketing analyst for the ServiceDesk Plus On-Demand product team at ManageEngine, a division of Zoho Corp.

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