As the first point of contact for clients experiencing IT-related issues, IT help desks play a crucial role in upholding positive client relationships. So, IT organizations must establish an effective help desk that guarantees the prompt resolution of critical incidents and fosters satisfied, loyal clients.
At its core, the essential function of an IT help desk is to provide efficient technical support to internal and external clients. By promptly addressing support requests, IT help desks prevent prolonged downtimes that may disrupt the workflows of clients experiencing technical challenges. Considering these client facing responsibilities, IT help desks greatly contribute to client satisfaction, highlighting the need for support teams to offer exceptional and prompt solutions to technical issues.
When experiencing technical issues, it is important that clients can depend on their support team for assistance. So, IT help desks must be well-structured, with the ability to resolve any support requests that may arise, making them the single point of contact for clients’ support needs. When building an IT help desk it is crucial that the support staff is trained to resolve common support requests that include:
Support teams often assist users with installing, configuring, and updating any software applications that they may be required to use.
When users are experiencing network connectivity issues, IT help desks troubleshoot the issue to ensure that users have access to seamless internet connection, allowing them to work without disruptions.
There are times when users might accidentally lose or delete necessary files, so support teams will help them not only to recover those lost files, but educate them on the best ways to backup their data to ensure the security of important files in the future.
If a user’s device becomes infected with a virus, malware, or other vulnerability, support teams will assist them with identifying and removing them to ensure the security of their data. This is crucial for both the security of the user and the organization as a whole, so teams must have methods for safeguarding critical systems and data.
IT help desks assist users who work remotely with setting up their portable devices or helping them to access remote collaboration tools such as virtual meetings or messaging applications. This becomes increasingly important as more organizations offer remote positions, and users will be in need of technical support during that transition.
Depending on the size and needs of a company, these specific roles may vary, but when building an IT help desk some of the necessary roles can include:
The help desk technician speaks directly with clients about support related issues through various channels including phone calls, video calls, or chats, and helps them to identify and solve any minor technical problems that they may encounter.
Training specialists provide education to users, helping them to understand and utilize new technologies and software, and additionally, provide them with best practices for backing up files, maintaining data security, or other IT related insights.
At organizations where many employees work remotely, it is helpful to employ technicians who specifically provide remote support and can successfully assist those experiencing issues outside of the office.
Sometimes users may run into more complex issues that go beyond the expertise of the help desk technician. So, it is crucial for organizations to employ IT specialists who are highly-skilled and can handle more complex issues when they arise.
When building an IT help desk, organizations must have a comprehensive understanding of their needs and capabilities. This will ensure that they structure their help desk to align with their goals and objectives. These are the various support models that organizations can use to structure their help desk:
Tiered support models offer an organized approach to addressing and escalating client support requests. This support model involves creating three levels of support, staffed with distinctly skilled IT professionals who can promptly and effectively resolve various incidents. To go more into detail, the three levels of support are:
Help desk support manages minor issues that typically can be resolved in under 10 minutes. Along with this, they perform the initial triage to assess whether the issue should be escalated to technical support.
More severe IT issues are escalated to the technical support team. This team has the ability to manage and swiftly resolve most technical problems faced by their clients. But, in the event where they are unable to resolve a client’s issue, they will escalate it to Level 3.
Specialist support is the last tier, where the most intricate incidents are escalated. The specialist support team consists of highly-skilled individuals who can resolve severe and complex issues to ensure smooth operations for clients, when the lower tiers cannot.
The swarming support model significantly contrasts the tiered support model. When faced with a client support request, the entire help desk team will ‘swarm,’ allowing them to exchange ideas in real-time and take a more collaborative approach to issue resolution. This support model promotes knowledge sharing and collaboration, and ultimately expedites the resolution process, ensuring client satisfaction.
The Follow-the-Sun support model is typically used in larger companies with offices that span across various time zones. For this model, multiple help desks are staffed only during the respective hours of their location. It allows teams to provide 24/7 support without requiring staff members to work after hours.
The self-service support model can be used in congruence with all of the above support models. This model empowers users to independently resolve minor complications by equipping them with a dedicated knowledge base or website that includes FAQs and troubleshooting tools. Additionally, this frees up valuable time for support teams to address more time-consuming and complex issues that require their IT skills.
IT help desks can benefit greatly with the help of advanced technology to expedite issue resolution and overall improve client experiences. Some of the technologies that IT help desks often use to enhance their capabilities include:
Modern ticketing systems seamlessly organize and assign support tickets to the right individuals empowering support teams to efficiently respond to client issues. Furthermore, these systems incorporate tracking and prioritization capabilities that help to ensure that all client requests are resolved in a timely manner and dealt with based on urgency.
To further improve response times, support teams can integrate an alert management solution with their ticketing system. With these solutions, help desk technicians immediately receive distinguishable alerts right to their smartphones about incoming tickets, effectively allowing them to streamline incident resolution and minimize downtimes.
Oftentimes support teams do not operate within an accessible distance to their clients, so the use of remote support tools is paramount. Remote support tools allow teams to troubleshoot issues on a client’s devices without requiring in-person interactions.
By utilizing communication and collaboration tools including virtual meetings or instant messengers, technicians can speak with clients in real-time to gain a better understanding about their issues and decrease resolution times.
As mentioned, maintaining client satisfaction is one of the main responsibilities of IT help desk technicians. Establishing effective ways to gather customer feedback and utilizing the results for improvement is an excellent method to enhance client satisfaction. Leveraging tools like post-call surveys or platforms, like G2 that enable teams to gather comprehensive feedback will help to improve the success of an organization’s IT help desk.
When building an IT help desk it is important to follow these best practices to ensure a strong team that will be able to promptly handle client issues while simultaneously maintaining positive client relationships:
Support teams are often faced with recurring questions from clients, so by creating a strong knowledge base complete with FAQs and guides, clients can resolve minor issues on their own, reducing call volumes. It is important that the guides are comprehensive and clear to avoid any misinterpretations that may create the opposite effect and increase levels of confusion and frustration.
Implementing advanced technology solutions like ticketing systems and IT alerting solutions allow support teams to streamline resolution processes and ensure client satisfaction.
IT help desks should be encouraged to make continuous improvements to existing processes, by making sure to stay up-to-date on the latest technologies, processes and security requirements, so that any issues that may arise can be resolved as quickly and effectively as possible.
By gathering client feedback regularly, support teams can take a more proactive approach to improving client satisfaction. If clients are dissatisfied, support teams can review the content of recent feedback and make improvements that directly address client comments, improving their experiences in the future.
OnPage is an innovative IT alerting tool that enables IT help desk teams to immediately receive distinguishable alerts to their smartphones about incoming support tickets allowing them to promptly respond to client issues. Some of OnPage’s features that enhance IT help desks are:
OnPage seamlessly integrates with various ticketing tools so support teams can receive alerts about new support requests without having to continuously monitor their emails for ticket notifications.
With multiple tickets coming in, it can be hard for support teams to manually prioritize and tend to the most pressing issues. OnPage allows teams to prioritize alerts based on severity ensuring that support teams immediately respond to severe technical issues.
It is crucial that the right team member receives the right alerts, so with OnPage’s digital scheduler teams can be sure that only the on-duty support staff receives OnPage alerts. Additionally, OnPage allows teams to create different escalation groups, so when employing the tiered support model escalating incidents between Levels 1, 2, and 3 is simple and efficient.