What Your Customers Won’t Tell You: Help Desk Secrets For Success #2

Creepy Customer Service Desk (Photo credit: spratmackrel)

Blog #2

One of the first rules of help desk (or service desk) efficiency is to plan in advance for certain tickets to come up. 

1. Prioritize.

Customers can’t give you feedback in the area of prioritizing in the most meaningful way.  This is because every customer feels that his or her issue is the most critical one on your list.  After all, the customer’s work has ground to a halt and he or she is typically already in a state of urgency by the time you hear from them.

But you as the help desk or service desk provider need to know exactly how to prioritize all tickets.  From tackling a computer virus to simply re-setting a password, you need to have a clear procedure in place to know which issue to address, and when.

It is helpful to categorize how critical a help desk request is based on:

  • The potential impact to the customer’s bottom line.
  • The impact to the customer’s immediate business flow.
  • Urgency of the issue in terms of the customer’s deadlines and projects.
  • (You can create different categories and tailor them specifically to each customer’s business needs.)

2. Figure out when to take your hands off the keyboard and pick up the phone.

Customers have a boiling point in terms of frustration.  Some questions can be answered by your support team in one response online.  However, there are some solutions that involve longer and more detailed procedures and instructions.  Sometimes troubleshooting just takes longer.

  • Eventually, customers become annoyed or frustrated if they find themselves engaged in a long online back-and-forth discussion of their technical problem(s).
  • Your support team needs to figure out how much online back-and-forth the customer can tolerate before it becomes better to just pick up the phone and talk to the customer directly.
  • You can set up a rule whereby a support ticket is escalated after messages, for example.  An alert can be sent to the support manager and the agent who is working on the ticket, reminding them to call the customer directly to solve the problem more efficiently.
  • The key is to be proactive and anticipate your customer’s needs:  in this case, how many iterations can they tolerate before becoming frustrated.

3. Find out which issues come up the most.

In any Help Desk environment, you will have a “top ten” issues list of problems that come up the most.  Proactively planning to support larger numbers of certain issues will keep your workflow smooth.

This is an issue your customers can’t help you with, because they only know about their individual needs.  Also, your support agents can’t give you these figures, because they only know the tickets they personally cover and don’t have extra time in most cases to do detailed analysis.

That’s why categorizing incoming support tickets into “buckets” is so important.  “Bucketing” tickets into specific categories and subcategories will give you detailed information on where you need to focus attention.

Conclusion:

We have covered some areas that should help you run your help desk or service desk more smoothly.  Prioritizing your customers’ experience and convenience will put you in good stead.  Your software should be fully capable of keeping track of the data discussed above.  Smart technology and planning up front mean fewer issues on the back end.

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