An efficient service desk is a major component of a great customer experience. When a customer has a query or they’re facing any issues with your products or services, they expect a quick solution. And any delay or inefficiencies within the help desk operations translates to a delay in resolving customer queries. This will frustrate your customers and create a poor customer experience. A clear help desk ticketing process flow can help you avoid this situation and create an efficient help desk.
Besides improving the customer experience, a smooth and efficient ticketing process flow will also help you manage your resources effectively. It will also improve the experience of service desk agents and your team’s morale.
Let’s discuss how you can create and optimize a help desk process flow for your team.
What is a help desk ticketing process flow? Why do you need it?
A help desk process flow defines all the steps involved in resolving a customer query. It shows every step from the moment a ticket is collected and assigned to an agent until the ticket is resolved and customer feedback is collected. The process flow also clearly documents how tickets will be assigned, how they will be prioritized, when they will be escalated, how they will be sorted into different categories, and how tickets in different categories will be resolved. It defines the workflow within the service desk team.
The help desk ticketing process flow is usually defined within the service desk software such as InvGate Service Desk. The help desk manager and the team can easily keep track of the tickets they are handling with a help desk software.
Besides streamlining ticket management, a process flow will also help the service desk manager measure and monitor the service desk operations. The help desk process flow has an important role in defining the metrics and standards for the service desk. By analyzing the tickets handled and the resources it takes to move between different steps in the process flow, you can identify the bottlenecks in the process and take steps to improve them.
5 steps to define a clear help desk ticketing process flow
1. Understand the scope of the service desk
The first step in defining the help desk ticketing process flow is understanding the expectations and the scope of the help desk. This would be clearly documented in the service level agreement or the SLA, so that would be a good place to start. Study the different channels through which customers may send their queries, the departments involved in resolving the queries, the expected number of queries in a day, and the resources the help desk will need.
If your organization is involved only in software, the service desk team alone may handle the tickets. When hardware is involved, you may also have to work with logistics and the engineering departments. Sometimes, the organization may be offering just email support, and sometimes they may offer chat and call support too. The process flow changes with the nature of the organization and the scope of the service desk.
2. Create the process flow
The next step is to actually create the process flow. You can draft it on a whiteboard or you can do it on your PC. Make sure that the steps are clearly documented and that all the different types of tickets will be resolved efficiently. The process flow must also completely fulfill the SLA.
3. Build a knowledge base to support the process flow
While you’re developing the help desk ticketing process flow, build a robust knowledge base that supports it. The knowledge base must cover answers for at least the majority of the tickets that may come up, if not all.
4. Configure the service desk software
Once you have a clear overview of the process flow, the next step is to configure your service desk to this process flow. Set up how the tickets will be routed to the agents, how they will be prioritized, and all the other steps involved until a ticket is fully resolved.
InvGate Service Desk can help you build a clear ticket processing flow and implement it effectively. It supports gamification, a robust self-service portal and knowledge base, and has an intuitive UI that will help you deliver an amazing customer experience - it actually abides by the seven laws of UX!
5. Analyze, iterate, and optimize
The steps don’t end here. To reach peak efficiency, you’ll have to iterate frequently in the initial stages. Collect and analyze the data from your service desk software, compare the metrics, remove the bottlenecks, and keep optimizing. After a couple of iterations, you’ll have reached a solid process flow for your service desk. But even then, it’s important to monitor the metrics and make sure they’re not falling behind.
Since the organization evolves and the scope of the service desk changes with time, it’s important to keep optimizing the process flow to maintain peak efficiency.
Help desk ticketing process flow strategies and best practices
1. Automation is your friend
Modern service desk solutions provide a wide range of automation within the process flow. Automation can reduce the workload for the service desk team, help you better manage your resources, and drastically improve the service desk’s efficiency.
Automation can be as simple as routing tickets to the agents, collecting feedback from the customers after resolving their tickets, or escalating tickets. You can even incorporate chatbots into your process flow to resolve simple tickets without involving a service desk agent.
Besides reducing the workload, workflow automation can also help maintain the quality of the service desk. For example, automated alerts and alarms will ensure that the agents resolve tickets within stipulated time limits.
2. Use consistent tags and statuses
Tags and statuses will help you easily find tickets related to a specific issue and monitor the progress of tickets through the process flow. Statuses like “Open,” ”Pending,” “In progress,” and “Closed” are used commonly on help desk ticketing process flows. Tags can be used to group tickets related to a specific issue, like a “software bug”, or based on the attention required, like “hardware repairs.”
But too many tags or inconsistent tags can make the system confusing. Make sure the service desk agents are trained to use these tags judiciously.
3. Incorporate gamification into your workflow
Gamification may not be a priority when you’re initially setting up the workflow. But once you’ve set up a stable process flow and your team has settled into the groove, gamification can improve the productivity of your service desk team.
For example, you can create an in-game currency for your team, which they can unlock for every ticket they resolve or create a leaderboard based on the number of tickets they resolve. Gamification can make your service desk more efficient, reduce the wait time for your customers, and improve the customer experience.
Make sure that the gamification is simple enough so that your team doesn’t have to spend time learning and understanding the goals. And configure the rewards so that the agents are rewarded for goals that align with the service desk metrics.
4. Iterate and improve continuously
Continuous iterations are necessary to keep your help desk ticketing process flow in an optimal state. Continuous monitoring and data analysis will reveal room for improving the workflow; it will showcase what’s holding the team back and what resources and changes are required to optimize further. Besides this, as your organization’s products and services improve, the scope of the help desk will also change; more departments may get involved in the workflow, the help desk team may be scaled up, or some tasks may be automated.
Constant improvements will make sure that the process flow is optimized for the activities of the service desk.
3 common pitfalls of the help desk ticketing processing
Here are some of the common pitfalls while developing a help desk ticketing process flow.
1. Setting up the process flow and never iterating it
This may be the most common mistake with a help desk ticketing process flow. Even if your initial setup is working fine and there has been no change in the scope of services, there will be a gradual change in the stakeholders. Your team changes and they will get better at what they’re doing; your customer base may change, and they may become more aware of your products or services. Continuous improvements will squeeze the most out of your process flow.
2. Lack of multi-channel integration
An oft-seen issue with help desk workflows is that they fail to keep the different channels in sync with each other. For example, a customer may contact first via email, and then follow up by calling. Instead of syncing these two communications together, separate tickets get created in both instances. Or sometimes the customer contacts via chat for an issue that can’t be resolved via chat, and the agents offer to arrange a call. But during the call, the customer ends up having to explain their problem from scratch.
If your service desk offers multi-channel support, make sure your process flow keeps all channels in sync with each other.
3. Not integrating the process flow with other systems or departments
Activities of the service desk happen in coordination with other departments in the organization. It has to coordinate with the product development team to plan for future product updates, and with the marketing team to keep up with the campaigns.
Along with other departments, the help desk software must also be integrated with other systems like asset management software and the knowledge base, and this must be taken into account while designing the process flow.
Proper and planned integration of these systems and departments within the help desk ticketing process flow is critical to ensure that there are no bottlenecks and that customers get the best experience.