IT help desk best practices are vitally important to the success of your business. Having a good help desk can mean the difference between productive, happy employees and frustrated, stuck employees.
If you can resolve technical issues easily and efficiently, your employees can get back to their work and back to contributing to business growth and success.
Let’s dive into some of the top best practices you can use for your help desk.
The Top 6 IT Help Desk Best Practices
This list is not exhaustive, but it focuses on the primary objectives of an IT help desk which is solving technical issues at the root cause and quickly. All of the items listed below will contribute to efficient resolution times, happy help desk users and knowledgeable help desk staff.
1. Get the Right Help Desk Software
Help desk software will help staff manage support tickets, resolutions, manage information and monitor metrics to track performance of your help desk. This will assist with help desk management so that users are served well.
If the software works well, it can help service desk employees stay organized, meet their goals and ultimately serve help desk users. This is like having a good foundation under a house.
Couple a good software with the right help desk experts and you have the essential foundation required to elevate your service delivery and contribute to running a successful help desk that solves the issues of end users.
2. Create and Stick to Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
A service level agreement expectation should always be communicated to your help desk team and to your end users.
This outlines the agreed-upon response time for tickets, as well as other metrics that vary from business to business. Examples include how many tickets should be resolved in a certain time period, maximum response time for a call or email and more.
SLAs help to hold the help desk accountable to resolving issues within set timeframes, and also gives those that call into the help desk an idea of what to expect when trying to get their issue resolved.
3. Create Specialized Groups
Your help desk team should have groups within it with different areas of expertise. Typically these groups are called PODs or Teams (i.e. blue team, red team, etc.) and consist of anywhere from 4-6 engineers (size can vary depending on number of end users supported).
These groups refine your knowledge base for business-critical systems and allow for issues to get sent to the right people the first time. For example, if you have an issue with your cloud storage, wouldn’t you rather the problem be sent to team member(s) with cloud expertise immediately, rather than getting sent through multiple people to get there?
Overall, having dedicated, expert teams streamlines the process of resolving problems and allows your support team to assist with the areas that they are the most knowledgeable about.
4. Prioritize First Contact Resolution (FCR)
Your help desk’s goal should always be to solve a ticket’s issue the first time they are contacted. Having a good system in place to identify quickly the type of issue an end user is experiencing will help route the ticket to the right technical resource.
This does mean that everyone on your help desk needs to have a good baseline of IT expertise, which may create additional expense, it is worth it to resolve the issue quickly.
First contact resolution is not always possible with every single ticket so having an escalation process in place is also important. Setting expectations with the help desk team around this goal allows a large portion of issues sent in to be resolved fast, getting people back to work and productive which also minimizes downtime.
5. Create a Good User Experience
Having an easy-to-use service portal is important for your users to have a seamless experience while using the help desk. The site should be easy to navigate and have clear instructions to help users communicate their issue to you.
Be sure to have multiple points of contact for the help desk as well – everyone communicates differently, so having email, phone, chat and a service portal to submit tickets gives people options.
This will increase help desk customer satisfaction. There’s nothing more frustrating than a clunky, difficult to use portal when you are already having a technology issue.
6. Measure Success
It’s not enough to try and resolve tickets quickly. You need to understand the metrics around your help desk. From high level metrics to more granular metrics, you should understand key indicators like ticket volumes, response times, FCR rates (first time resolution) and more.
This allows you to understand service desk performance – from knowing if you are meeting SLAs, to whether you are increasing customer satisfaction levels, to how quickly issues are resolved on average.
These metrics allow you to take a deep dive into the functions of the help desk and look for areas of strength and areas for improvement. They should be monitored on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly basis – consistency is key, so that you can make sure you’re providing great service and identifying ways to improve your service.
Achieving Success With IT Help Desk Best Practices
Following the above best practices, you could choose to build a robust help desk in house. However, within a certain size (roughly 20 end users and up to 500 end users), many organizations choose to opt for a partnership with a managed services company that’s already built a best-in-class help desk.
If you’re a small to medium sized business, your business and technology needs will continue to grow and you must be selective with your investments.
Maintaining a help desk that has groups of experts, a good software to track service and good user experience can be very costly. You have to pay salaries and certifications for the staff, plus the expense of the help desk software.
A managed services provider can handle all these elements for you, and can build out teams that have expertise in every area you might need, from cloud storage to active directory, to security, to Microsoft 365 and more.
All of the best practices mentioned above will be easily integrated at an affordable, flat monthly cost to you, rather than having to build it out yourself. Your help desk service management can be handed over to the managed services provider, so you can focus on your core business functions, while still getting all the benefits of IT help desk best practices.