There’s no question that modern help desk solutions bring amazing benefits to organizations; IT help desk managers have understood this long back. It’s a great tool in a help desk’s arsenal, streamlining processes and improving efficiency, and at the same time bringing significant savings on resources for the organization.
But the fact is that it is just a tool. It’s important to remember that a help desk software is not the entire help desk, but just one part of the picture. If the other elements are not working well, even the best software cannot save the service desk.
In this article, we explore both the benefits and limitations of the service desk as well as key tips and practices that can help you best manage a service desk.
Benefits of a help desk software
1. Helps you streamline your processes and workflows
A service desk software solution helps you define how a ticket will be resolved; from receiving the query, assigning it to a service desk agent, to resolving the query and collecting customer feedback. It helps everyone in your team clearly understand their role within the service desk and what is expected of each other, and empowers them to execute it perfectly.
The service desk software (such as InvGate Service Desk) will prevent lost or delayed tickets as well as duplicate and inconsistent replies. In case the service desk agent is unable to help the ticket immediately, they can alert the relevant team with the issue, and ensure that the query is resolved within time and up to customer satisfaction. Even when there’s a new member on the team, the service desk software can reduce the time it takes to bring them to full productivity with automated employee onboarding.
InvGate Service Desk's visual workflow builder makes workflow automation extremely straightforward, granting you a bird's-eye view of your workflow with an intuitive interface that allows you to drag and drop and link workflow elements where needed.
2. Reduces the workload
Help desk software reduces the workload for the team and helps them focus on important tasks. The software presents them the exact information they need to resolve the queries exactly when they need it. For example, if a customer has questions regarding their payment plan, the service desk agent can pull up all the information regarding the specific customer’s plans.
If the customer is facing issues with their device, an integrated asset management system can bring up the device details and help resolve the issue easily. With an integrated knowledge base solution, service desk agents can easily find out and share detailed information about customer queries.
Besides this, modern help desk solutions also have a high level of automation. They can send updates about the query automatically and collect feedback once the ticket is resolved.
3. Keeps the standards and ensures compliance
When dealing with a large team, it's not easy to maintain the quality of replies or service provided to the customers. And without proper training and tools, as well as a quality control strategy, this can take a hit on the customer experience.
Also, in some industries like banking, finance, and healthcare, the activities of the help desk will be regulated.
InvGate Service Desk standardizes these processes. It will ensure that the quality is consistent throughout the organization and keep extensive documentation showcasing the same. Service desk solutions will also show detailed measurable data about the performance which can be presented to the stakeholders.
4. Improves the security of your IT network
The cybersecurity of your organization’s IT network is important to deliver consistent and robust IT services to its employees. A service desk solution can help you keep track of the devices, its health, and monitor them for any security issues or unauthorized activity.
An integrated ITAM solution such as InvGate Insight can also help you send out regular security updates and reduce IT security risks. It can also play a crucial role in an organization's disaster recovery and business continuity plan, helping bring back the devices online after a security incident and keep the business processes online.
5. Improves the employee and customer experience
As discussed above, a service desk software can reduce the workload for your team. A service desk solution delivers a smooth experience for your employees to be their most productive selves.
You can even incorporate gamification to improve your employee experience further and make their job more fun and exciting. For example, you can set up a leaderboard for the most queries resolved in a week or the highest FCR rates (First Call Resolution). Or you can set up different achievements and badges which your team can unlock. Make sure to check out these 5 examples to improve results with gamification.
A help desk software also improves the customer experience. The software can provide an omnichannel experience ensuring a consistent experience whether they contact through phone, email, or live chat. The help desk software can also improve the response time and provide timely updates further enhancing the customer experience.
6. Improves the service desk as well as the products and services offered by the organization
Service desk software collects a lot of data regarding customer interactions, the workflow, employee performance, and other aspects of the service desk and delivers actionable insights to improve the same. The help desk manager can use these insights to tweak the workflows, improve employee training, better plan the service desk budget, and deliver better service to the organization.
The organization can also use the help desk data to understand the customer demographics, their requirements, and their pain points to improve their products and services.
7. Helps you ensure that the service quality is as defined in the SLA
The SLA or Service Level Agreement defines the goals, the scope, and the standard of service that the help desk delivers. It’s essentially an agreement between the stakeholders and the service desk manager, and defines how the help desk will help the organization in its goals.
A modern help desk solution comes with detailed analytics tools with which you can set the metrics as defined in the SLA and keep track of them. Help desk managers can find out where the team is falling short and implement strategies based on the insights from the software. And they can use these metrics to showcase the help desk performance to the stakeholders.
But there’s more to the success of a help desk than a state-of-the-art software.
Limitations of a help desk software
Modern service desk solutions offer a high degree of ITSM automation and other features that make the life of a help desk manager easy. But it doesn’t replace the manager or the help desk agents; all of them are essential components of a service desk that needs to work in sync to deliver quality IT assistance.
And there’s more to managing a help desk than implementing a cutting-edge solution. The manager has to understand the goals of the organization as a whole, develop a plan for the help desk to support it, and convey this message to the team. They are the connecting link between the stakeholders as well as other departments in the organization and the help desk team, and to deliver the best results, the manager has to take care of all the elements of the service desk.
Here are some of the instances where the software alone cannot be enough.
The people element
A major part of managing the help desk is managing the people element. Even when you have the most advanced software solution, people are the most important element of the help desk. The software solution can certainly help you better manage your team, evaluate their performance, and better communicate with them. But it cannot be your complete people management strategy.
It's important to ensure that your team is with you, whether it's implementing a new workflow within the organization or while facing a sudden crisis.
And the people element is not just your team; it is also the users, the stakeholders, and employees of other departments as well. As a service desk manager, it's important to develop a strategy to keep everyone in the loop and satisfied.
Connecting with the customers
Yes, the help desk software such as InvGate Service Desk can certainly help you gain insights into the customer experience. And it's important that you leverage the solution to collect their feedback. But it's essential that you don’t rely on the software alone.
Metrics and customer feedback can only tell you so much about how the average customer feels or their concerns. You can miss out on important insights or concerns under a pile of data.
It’s important to regularly liaise with the customers or send out randomized surveys to the customers.
Your service desk agents would be another great source of customer feedback; interacting directly and regularly with the users, they’ll have direct insights into the customers’ feelings.
Besides understanding the customers, it’s also important to build a good relationship with them. Often pre-written replies and communication can lack the human touch, may appear robotic, and fail to connect with the user. It's important to emphasize the human touch and the connection with the customer while training your team.
Working with the stakeholders
A good stakeholder relationship is important for effectively managing a help desk. You need supportive stakeholders who understand the importance of the help desk and support your initiative. You have to involve the executive team in the activities of the help desk, liaise with them regularly, and ensure that the help desk is aligned with the organization’s goals.
A good stakeholder relationship will help you easily bring in the latest help desk practices and technology to your team. And the help desk solution can certainly help you communicate with them, but you’ll have to put in consistent effort to create a strong stakeholder relationship.
Being proactive and not just reacting to events
A service desk manager has to be on top of the latest trends and events and must avoid being caught unawares. For example, if a major security vulnerability in the organization's systems was suddenly revealed, or if a security patch bricked customer devices, the service desk manager should be prepared to manage it with minimal impact to the business.
The help desk must also stay ahead of the latest trends and practices and implement them timely.
Besides sudden events or security breaches, the service desk manager must also act proactively to manage customer queries and stay ahead of developments in the organization. For example, if the customer portal was undergoing a revamp, the help desk can expect more queries.
3 tips to deliver the best IT service to an organization through the help desk
1. Focus on the people
As we mentioned above (and multiple times in our blog), people are the most important elements in your help desk. The help desk team and the agents can make or break the service desk experience for your customers.
To deliver the best help desk experience, it's important to get the right people and train them well. Implement continuous training programs based on performance metrics and customer feedback.
Empower them with the best tools and information and make sure they understand the importance of their role in the organization. It's best to go with a ‘carrots-only approach’ when motivating your team. Incentivize good performance, but it's best to provide better training than to penalize poor performance.
Utilize tools like gamification to leverage competitive spirit among your agents to improve service desk productivity. Make sure that the metrics used for gamification aligns with the help desk goals.
Besides your team, it's also important to get stakeholder support, as discussed above. Good executive support can help you implement your initiatives quickly and it can improve the adoption rates for the same. Active executive support is a major factor in the success of IT initiatives; it showcases the importance of the program to the rest of the organization and improves the adoption rates.
2. Improve continuously
Lack of improvement will create room for stagnation. For a help desk to perform at its peak, a continuous improvement plan is essential. Configure the analytics in the help desk software to align with the service desk goals, collect the data, and improve the service desk processes continuously.
Implement regular training for your team and empower them to deliver better service quality. Tweak the workflows to improve productivity and resolve customer queries more efficiently. Update the knowledge base to reflect the latest product and service information as well as the company policies.
3. Follow established frameworks
Over the decades, the industry has come up with frameworks and strategies to ensure consistent and quality help desk services. These frameworks can help you communicate effectively with your stakeholders, plan your resources, and ensure proper workflows.
ITIL and Agile expert Nikola Gaydarov, director of digital transformation at Swiss-managed software consultancy Quickfox, says: “Frameworks like ITIL 4 from 2019 can help you not only transform your organization but also keep it on the right track with its customers.”