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7 Ways to Boost Your IT Help Desk Performance Today

7 Ways to Boost Your IT Help Desk Performance Today
Is the performance on your IT help desk lacking? Have there been complaints? The trick to righting the ship is to act quickly, decisively, and positively. With the right plan in place, your team can begin to see performance improvement over time with just a few tweaks to your process. Here are seven ways you can help boost the performance of your help desk today.

  1. Collect the Right Metrics
  2. Sometimes it isn’t enough to say, “people have been complaining,” or, “we hear there are some problems.” This is where collecting and analyzing data comes into play. Have you noticed a drop in service levels? Have customer satisfaction ratings plummeted? Are resolution times dragging out, or hold times creeping upwards? Have the number of First Touch Resolutions decreased? Before approaching your help desk workers, make sure you have the actual data to support your assumptions. Things could be less serious than you thought, or perhaps worse than you expected, but it’s a good idea to know exactly where you stand before mapping a way out. Check out our post 15 ITSM ITIL Metrics for Tracking Incident and Service Management Success for ideas on what to keep track of throughout this process.

  3. Establish Clearly Defined Goals
  4. Once you have these metrics in hand, you can draft goals for where performance should be. Are First Touch Resolution numbers down in the 60th and 70th percentiles? Consider setting a goal for 80 percent. It’s a good idea to clarify where your team currently stands and what metrics they will need to meet in order to improve.

  5. Gather the Right Performance Feedback
  6. In addition to tracking the metrics, consider gathering feedback from your employees (your internal customers). This information can be used to address specific issues that get mentioned (such as bad attitudes or poor communication skills), but can also be used to build morale. A simple customer satisfaction (CSAT) survey with a quick thumbs up or thumbs down can go a long way in measuring employee satisfaction with the service desk.
    No one wants to fill out 30 questions, so we send a simple email that asks if they’re happy, yes or no. I encourage them to be honest, because if they say it’s great, I won’t do anything. But if the experience was poor, we follow up. There’s no point in sending it if you don’t follow up.” – Bryan Greer, Senior System Engineer at Goya Foods
    Make positive feedback you receive known to the team. Let them know when and where they are doing a good job. Follow up on the negative experiences to learn where service can improve.

  7. Establish a Service Catalog and Self-Service Portal
  8. Employee issues go down and satisfaction levels go up when the services you offer are clear and employees can get help when and how they need it. A user-friendly service catalog is the ideal place for customers to order hardware and services they need without taking up valuable time calling the help desk. A self-service portal allows employees to get the answers they need without taking up a help desk worker’s time on the phone. By reducing the number of calls or emails to the help desk, technicians can stay on top of incoming requests without getting behind.

  9. Provide the Right Training for Your Help Desk Workers
  10. Properly trained IT technicians can solve more issues and solve them quickly without having to escalate problems as frequently. This can improve internal customer service levels because employees don’t have to wait for an email or a call back from a higher level service provider. Another great strategy is to actually provide employees with ITIL certification training. The ITIL framework ensures companies deliver a consistent and predictable level of service based on industry best practices. Having a service desk vendor that understands the importance of ITIL can maximize your experience using these tools.

  11. Invest in New Technology
  12. Are you empowering your technicians and employees with the latest technology? Outdated technology can slow down your work process and gives team members less flexibility to handle any given situation. Many of the IT service management operations can now be automated, like self-service portals powered by AI. Other AI-related technologies like chatbots are freeing up time for everyone involved, leaving staff members free to handle only the most urgent situations.

  13. Establish a System of Rewards and Penalties
  14. What can your IT staff expect if they meet their goals? What should they expect if they fail to meet their goals — either personally or as a team? Rewards and accountability can be an effective strategy for improving the productivity of any work team. Just make sure the rewards are worth working for and the accountability measures are realistic and communicated to team members ahead of time.
Finally, give your new plan for improving performance time to work. True impact can’t be measured overnight, so continue to track, measure, and improve over time. This post was updated on July 9, 2019 to reflect current ITSM best practices.
Tim Lawes
Tim Lawes serves as Manager of Solutions Engineering, ITSM at SolarWinds. ITIL 4 certified, he brings 10+ years of training and consulting experience in the…
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