Escape from Hell Desk
IT service and support should not be unending waves of stress. Here is how to lower the temperature and improve customer satisfaction.
Hell Desk is not the title of another low-budget horror movie or me trying to compete with the famous chef Gordon Ramsay. It's you living a nightmare working in Hell Desk every day and living this nightmare repeatedly, at least if this sounds like you:
- The end users always try to contact their favourite agent to speed up their ticket resolution.
- The call centre team is flooded with tickets and service requests.
- Tickets are incomplete or lack documentation to address complaints.
- End users may be put on hold for hours, passed from one agent to another, or given incorrect or unhelpful advice.
- Tickets in the system don't reflect the expected workload.
Your end users demand the support that customers need and deserve. Here are some steps to help:
- The first and most crucial step is understanding your staffing needs: A well-staffed service desk is essential to providing timely and practical service desk support. You should ensure you have enough agents to handle the increasing volume of incoming tickets and that those agents have sufficient time to dedicate to each end user.
- Take a deep dive to review and evaluate your service levels and available resources. Some online sources provide formulas for the overall ratio of employees to service desk agents based on the size and complexity of the environment. A general rule of thumb is 1:50-100 employees for organizations with a single operating system, and a network is considered suitable.
- Review your incident management challenges and the benefits of addressing them.
- Brainstorm the gaps in your incident management process with your team and create a clear set of improvement initiatives.
- Implement a detailed incident management process for your service desk. Determine who will log incidents, perform initial incident troubleshooting, and own and monitor tickets
- Look at your service tickets: Review your service request process and make sure there is a clear separation between your incident management process and service requests for improved end user service and better-defined SLAs
- Monitor performance: Regular performance monitoring and evaluation will help you identify areas where the service desk may need to catch up.
Metrics like wait times, call resolution rates, and customer satisfaction ratings can provide valuable insights into how the Service desk functions and where improvements can be made.
- Train along the way: train your team on technical and customer service skills. Create an ongoing training program to update your support team's technical and soft skills knowledge.
- Communicate... communicate: It's essential to separate the technician's role in solving a problem from the need to share progress. Determine who will communicate with end users, and who will communicate with the executive team.
- Service desk agents should be given the tools and empowerment to resolve end-user issues quickly and efficiently. This may include access to product manuals, troubleshooting guides, and other resources, as well as the ability to escalate the problems to higher-level support teams if necessary.
- Work on your escalation path: Include hierarchical escalations to managers and functional escalations to T2 and T3 specialists.
- Be on top of your end users' satisfaction rating. Make sure to include a simple survey when you close a ticket using the ticket workflow to receive service reviews from end users.
- Establish a separate process and workflow for your critical incidents.
- Train and manage agents to ensure they input quality data in the service desk tool.
- Reporting: Reporting and reviewing your numbers should be proactive, not reactive. The right metrics can clearly indicate how hard the service desk team works and how many resources you need to perform. Focus on performance metrics that capture the resources, time, and quality triad.
- Review and analyze your reports regularly and use them to manage costs, improve services, and request more resources.
- Select a few meaningful metrics that tell the story of IT and introduce them to end-users to begin setting expectations.
A hell desk is a nightmare for end users and service desk staff. But with the proper training, staffing, monitoring, and management support, you can come out of this nightmare and provide the excellent customer experience your end users deserve.