By Carrie Dagenhard (Tech Writer)
Looking to grow your IT helpdesk business? Who isn't? Let's explore common mistakes that can threaten your success and how to avoid them.
Helpdesk support is in high demand. With so many organizations moving to a hybrid model or maintaining an entirely remote workforce — not to mention rapidly evolving tech and growing cybersecurity threats — the need for IT expertise has recently ballooned. As an IT helpdesk leader, you know there are virtually endless opportunities to grow your business and accelerate revenue growth. It’s an excellent time to be in IT.
But now is no time to get complacent because your competition is growing too and, if you’re not careful, you could end up losing your best clients. If you want to boost your business for the remainder of the year and into 2022, you need to steer clear of a few deadly (yet common) mistakes.
Here are five things you should avoid doing (and what to do instead):
Not Setting a Clear Customer Service Standard
Many IT helpdesk businesses advertise a top-quality customer service experience, but few consistently deliver on that promise. While some reps might uphold a white-glove standard, others have a different interpretation of the service they’re expected to provide or lack the skills necessary to provide the experience customers expect.
But instead of blaming your reps for lack of consistency in their customer service delivery, consider whether or not you’ve set them up for success with a clear strategy and the right culture. Ask yourself whether you’ve defined a customer service model, how you’re identifying soft skills throughout the hiring process, and what you’re doing to help existing employees boost their customer service skills.
Clear, consistent, friendly, and respectful communication should be the norm. And by modeling that within your organization, you can foster better customer experiences too.
Avoiding or Ignoring Customer Feedback
IT pros have a significant level of technology expertise — far outside the basic understanding of those turning to them for help. So, the idea of asking customers for their feedback can be controversial. They don’t fully understand what’s happening behind the scenes, so how can their assessment of your services provide value to your organization?
But failing to ask customers for their input (or ignoring what they have to say) puts everyone at a disadvantage.
If you’re not sure how to improve your customer service experience (or where your areas of opportunity are in the first place), it can be helpful to go directly to the source and ask your customers. This might come in the form of an annual large-scale survey, an automated email that asks customers to rate their experience after their ticket is closed, a series of customer interviews, or all of the above.
Not all feedback will be applicable, and some of the things that upset customers may be factors outside your control. But the better you understand their frustrations and expectations, the better you can tailor experiences that keep them satisfied.
Allowing Team Members to Cherry-Pick Tickets
You know not all tickets are equal, and some require a more considerable investment of time and energy than others. So, when you allow all team members to simply select tickets from the queue, people will undoubtedly rush to claim the easier and faster fixes first — which means those that require more complicated problem-solving are automatically de-prioritized.
This hurts your business in two ways: First, you’ll jeopardize your relationships with customers who have bigger and more complex needs (which may also be the customers who demand more hours and thus pay a larger tab). Second, when reps only ever work on easier tickets, they’re less likely to be challenged — which can lead to knowledge loss and atrophying skill sets.
Instead, opt for ticketing software that allows you to route tickets to specific groups or technicians. This way, you can divide the burden, help team members grow their experience, and prioritize tickets on criteria other than difficulty.
Failing to Empower Your Employees
One of the biggest mistakes IT helpdesk businesses make is micromanaging employees and refusing to allow them to make important decisions on their own. Often, leaders are afraid that, by giving team members too much power and responsibility, they’ll make massive mistakes that cost the company dearly. In reality, though, strategic autonomy breeds efficiency, employee satisfaction, and better customer service.
And it all starts with empowering your employees. That means giving them access to the knowledge and tools they need to perform their jobs well and know exactly how to respond to various scenarios without constantly needing management intervention. For example, a helpdesk knowledgebase ensures employees can always get the answers they need when they need them — and learn from peers’ experiences.
The more confident employees feel in their own abilities and their knowledge of customer needs, the better you can trust them on their own. Plus, when your team members can work autonomously, it frees leadership to focus on the sorts of big picture strategies that grow revenue.
Not Investing in the Appropriate Tech Solutions
Even when your business revolves around others’ technical needs, it can be difficult to justify investing in new technology — especially if your current solutions are working. But there’s a distinct difference between something that merely gets the job done and something that helps your team excel.
When selecting software to support your IT helpdesk business, it’s essential you select solutions that are specifically designed to meet your unique needs. (Otherwise, you’ll be wasting your money on lots of bloat — irrelevant features and functions that you’ll likely never use.) Additionally, it’s best to choose products that integrate with each other, so your data isn’t trapped in disparate systems.
Opting for all-in-one professional services automation software will help meet these needs (and more).
As businesses continue to rely on technology to support every essential business operation and tech solutions become more complex and multi-faceted, the need for reliable, high-quality IT helpdesk support will only grow. By avoiding these five mistakes, you can capitalize on this surging demand, attract and retain new clients, outpace competitors, and grow your business — fast.