Top Tips From IT Helpdesk Managers 

Successfully managing your IT helpdesk involves creating a strong level of cohesion between your internal processes and your external customer expectations. Keeping everyone happy and your helpdesk well managed is a difficult task. In order to do so, you need to have the right tools, as well as well-documented and communicated processes, giving both your staff and your customers the right levels of expectations.

 

We asked several successful IT helpdesk managers for their top tips on how to run their helpdesk business the smart way: by keeping customers happy and their techs empowered.

 What the IT Managers Said:

 

You need to have a clear understanding of all your IT helpdesk metrics, such as response time, first-call resolution, and time-to-recovery after service outages, and how to improve them in order to help with the bottom line.

These expectations largely come from your company's past IT helpdesk experiences and the requirements of your users. Meaning, a user might expect that it may take X amount of hours to resolve a support ticket. Conflicts or customer service issues usually come about when a user has a problem that can't be solved in the expected time.

If you want to manage your IT helpdesk more efficiently, then you need to make sure you strike a balance between providing the best customer service and the fastest response time for your clients, within your internal operational constraints, such as budgets and internal efficiency.

What can be done to strike a balance between happy customers and an efficiently run IT helpdesk? Let's take a look at the top seven tips for help desk management provided to us by successful IT helpdesk managers themselves.

1) Document Your Service Level Agreement (SLA)

A service level agreement (SLA) allows you to pre-define your IT Helpdesk services both internally and externally. This plain language agreement between yourself and your customer will allow you to measure the success of your services based on the expectations you’ve already set.

Once you’ve created your SLA, you should use it to track your performance against your overarching business objectives.

But tracking your SLAs are difficult. First, you’re stuck with managing a great deal of raw data, plus the SLAs need to be custom built into your IT service desks, so changing them frequently can prove difficult...unless.

SLA-image

 

Unless you take advantage of a PSA system like SherpaDesk's IT helpdesk software. With Sherpadesk's SLA tool you can accurately report metrics such as how long it took for a customer to reply to you, or how long it should take to fix a particular issue. This tool helps to keep your IT helpdesk team on track by monitoring if your response and fix times are within the agreed parameters.

When you start using  SLAs to track metrics that help you manage your IT helpdesk, you have to make sure that you’re looking beyond arbitrary metrics and are actually measuring things that will help you reach your companies overarching objectives.

2) Document Your Processes

New IT helpdesk managers and techs may find themselves faced with new problems day after day. In order to combat this, it is recommended that their onboarding is quick. This will enable them to help your customers in the most time-efficient way. One way to do this would be to ask more experienced techs and IT helpdesk managers document their processes.

Documenting your processes and outlining how to solve particular issues  will speed up your production line, and ensure that customer’s issues are solved faster.

These resolution documents should also be made available for anyone who might need access to them. This way, future IT helpdesk managers and techs who are experiencing an issue for the first time can use the original solution to fix the problem, rather than spend unnecessary time figuring out a solution on their own. 

3) When You Can’t Manage Time,
Manage Self-Service Solutions

You could even think about going one-step further than simply documenting solutions for your IT helpdesk staff, and consider also documenting them for your customers by way of a knowledge bank.

It may not be possible to offer 24/7 IT help desk support, due to staffing or budget issues. This, however, shouldn’t stop you as a business owner or IT helpdesk manager from being able to provide excellent support when your team is offline.

knoleadge-base

 

Consider using the self-service tool included with an IT helpdesk solution like SherpaDesk which has proven very effective for those occasions when your IT helpdesk team is busy or out of the office. Having a knowledge base solution that walks users through "how to" solve their problems allows them to take ownership of their own IT issues and resolve them on their own.

So how can this self-service tool help improve your IT helpdesk management skills? It can for sure reduce costs. Self-service support costs $0.10 or less per contact, whereas the average costs of live service (email, phone, or live chat) can cost over $13, meaning your staff can dedicate more of their time to solving more complex issues or to paying more attention to VIP customers.

4) User End-to-End Transparency

For any given problem, complex or not, both the user and the IT help desk techs should be able to easily identify the status of the issue.

Doing so will ensure that IT helpdesk techs can help fix any pending issues by being able to jump in where the previous techs left off. This helps to save time and reduce frustration for your end users.

Machine animation

5) Examine Your Outputs

We mentioned before that in order for your IT helpdesk to be managed effectively, you need to look at all your operational outputs. This includes, most importantly,  costs.

Work out how much it is costing you to provide an effective IT helpdesk service, in particular the costs to resolve each call or ticket.

When you have a fair indication of this cost, you will be able to see which issues can be resolved quickly and for less money. For example, if the majority of IT tickets that come through your help desk is from customers needing a simple task resolved, then you can consider using self-service support documentation, like SherpaDesk's knowledge base so that your customers can help themselves.

Also look at how your IT helpdesk support team is split. Do you have a majority of your team working on easier, low-maintenance tasks, leaving just a few senior IT helpdesk technicians to deal with the harder tasks? Focusing on harder issues, while driving the easier tickets to the self-service tools, will do wonders for your efficiency, not to mention your bottom line. 

6) Choose Your Provider Wisely

As the saying goes, it’s not what technology you use, but how you use it. That said, you should be careful to ensure you are offering end-to-end support as an IT helpdesk supplier.

At the end of the day, the IT helpdesk software you use is there to help improve your business, and keep your customers happy. Therefore, make sure you choose an IT Helpdesk software solution that aligns well with what you hope to achieve as a business and that also includes all the features and integrations you require. 

7) Final Takeaways

If you want to improve the way you manage your IT helpdesk, choosing the right PSA IT Helpdesk Software is crucial. Saying that, when deploying a new helpdesk solution, the "a little and often approach" is best. The worst thing you can do is to jump in and try to change all your processes at once. Taking it in smaller, more manageable steps, means you’ll spend less time focusing on bugs and more time focusing on your overall business goal: To provide the best service to your customers as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.

It should also be noted that if you want effective IT helpdesk management, you need to evaluate how well customers believe that their problems have been resolved.

This means that the first person to contact a customer should also be the follow-up contact, even if the solution was provided by another member of staff.

Managing your IT helpdesk doesn’t have to be a hard task, and it doesn’t have to break the bank. Picking the right IT Helpdesk software, and building all your foundational processes early on will enable your team to become experts in the systems and processes required to do their jobs well. This will help them feel empowered and ready to deliver world class IT helpdesk success. This means happy customers, and more customers means a happy bottom line for your business.

 

SherpaDesk is the definitive helpdesk solution for all your support, project management, and billing issues. 

Ready to get a handle on your small business? 

Power your helpdesk with your Free Online SherpaDesk Support Desk Software.

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Jordie Black
By Jordie Black

Jordie Black is a content marketer in the B2B space. Learn more about her at www.jordieblack.com.

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