IT Service Desk Best Practices: How You Can Improve User Support

By Alan Conduct|5 June 2018

IT service desks are essential to ensure businesses run smoothly. We’ve all experienced frustration because of connectivity issues or a forgotten password. When it happens at home it might mean you can’t watch the latest series on Netflix. When it happens in the workplace the impact can be more severe. Below we share IT service desk best practices to help minimise downtime and improve your IT team’s performance.

Behind every email, every moment of connectivity, every software application and service most businesses use, are IT teams supporting them. Downtime costs money. No one wants unproductive hours, with the potential for missed opportunities and revenue loss.

IT service desks keep businesses functioning. But not every helpdesk provides the same level of support. Some customers (users) aren't looked after as well as they should, leaving people fed up and frustrated with a lack of support. 

Whether you work with an internal service desk, or outsource, here are a few ways you should expect - as a minimum - to be supported when IT issues threaten to cause downtime. 

4 IT Service Desk Best Practices to Improve Performance 

#1: Self-serve tools

People don't want to wait for a problem to be fixed. Many would rather fix it themselves, and only then if that isn’t possible, ask for help. Service desks that provide self-help tools, from FAQs to step-by-step guides and videos, are rated higher than those that don’t.

Not only do these tools reduce downtime for simple queries, such as forgotten passwords, but also it means that IT teams can focus on solving more challenging problems. As a result employees can minimise their own downtime, the IT team sees a reduction in the number support tickets generated, and this a positive impact on morale within a service desk team (and across the business). Everyone benefits from self-serve IT tools.

#2: First call resolution

Achieving higher standards as a service desk means approaching each problem from the customer’s point of view. Customers (users) need to feel reassured that an issue will be resolved so they can get back to work. This means properly addressing their need the first time they call. Service desk analysts need to take the time to ensure they understand what the problem is, have all the information they require, and then manage expectations for it to be resolved.

#3: Measure customer satisfaction

No area of business improves without the metrics and data to measure outcomes. 

Without customer satisfaction scores, a service desk won’t know how to measure the impact of key initiatives and services. When customer satisfaction is measured, on a monthly basis, problem areas can be highlighted and outcomes improved. Measuring this activity will also show how staff perceive help desk performance, whether it’s hitting SLA targets, and if more can be done to ensure agreed targets are met. Even when SLA targets are consistently being met, users may still have a distorted view on the performance of the IT service desk. Reporting and communicating results is an important way to improve customer satisfaction levels. 

#4: Outsource front-line support

Managing a service desk is challenging for internal IT teams. Often IT professionals within a business are pulled in two different directions: providing service desk support, and working on long-term goals. Deploying resources more effectively is one of the many reasons companies are outsourcing the service desk role, to give IT teams the ability to exclusively focus on strategic IT objectives. 

With an IT service desk partner you don't need to worry about the cost of staffing, training, self-service software, or whether they're committed to hitting SLA and customer satisfaction targets. All of that should be an integral part of an IT service desk contract. The right partner for your business should provide excellent service, at a rate that pays for itself in cost savings, reduced downtime, and renewed focus of your IT team on long-term objectives.

How does your service desk perform? Click here to benchmark it against our 4* service desk checklist.

Further Information

4* Service Checklist

Benchmark your IT service desk against our 4* checklist. A Service Desk Institute (SDI) accredited four star service desk must tick each box.

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