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Does Your IT Help Desk Technicians Set Your Users Up For Failure?

How answering an IT  help desk call poorly has led to under-productive and unsatisfied users.

Last week, I had to call for technical assistance with a new dishwasher I had purchased. There was something wrong with the spinner in the almost new dishwasher and I wanted to see how the brand could help me.

After waiting for nearly 10 minutes (Note: if you’re thinking about your own help desk service, realize that most users will hang up after 3 minutes!), a voice came on the phone.

Service Desk: Yes?

Me: Is this the customer service line?

Service Desk: Yeah. What do you need?

Me: Umm…. My dishwasher isn’t working?

Service Desk: I’ll have to transfer you to dishwasher service division….

I was turned off after the first ‘Yes?’. Every sentence, every moment after waiting 10 minutes listening to elevator music, I expected to speak with someone that was helpful, friendly and resourceful. Someone who would just fix my issue. Someone who could sympathize with me and make me feel like my problem was their problem!

Answering the phone properly is one of the most critical components to a successful help desk.

It sounds so simple. If they answer courteously, empathetically, they’ll solve your user’s issues much quicker.

Here are just a few stats on answering help desk phones:

  1. Technicians that can relate to a user is 80% more likely to resolve the issue on the first call than someone that sounds like they don’t care. Why is this? Some recent operations research out of Stanford found that by trying to relate and create a rapport with users, users tend to share more critical information with the help desk staff.

Bottom line: a ‘how’s it goin’ might be the difference between your users getting the right help and disengaged ready to go home for the day.

  1. Friendlier technicians are more likable—this might be a no-brainer, but the majority of help desks forget that demeanor goes a long way to make users feel like they’ve been adequately helped. In fact, users are over 35% more likely to be satisfied with the help they receive when the person on the other line is considered ‘friendly’. It doesn’t really matter if a resolution was made on the 1st call or the tenth—the results consistently showed that users were overall happier when the technician had a friendly and helpful demeanor.

Note: a lot of help desk technicians have a running joke…

They constantly talk about I-D-TEN-T errors. For those that haven’t heard this before, they’re basically calling users IDIOTS! If they come to the office thinking this way, would you ever expect them to relate to your teams?

  1. Help desk more satisfied with job—improve faster when positive to callers. Your tech team will also be more engaged and more excited to help users when they’re encouraged to bring a positive attitude to their calls. Nearly half of it help desks are plagued with unengaged employees. Several IT operations and management studies have all concluded that help desk technicians with unfriendly attitudes on the phone tend to spoil the entire help desk environment—influencing the mood of everyone on the helpdesk.

Bottom Line: Answer those phones properly!

Too many help desks just assume that help desk employees know how to answer a phone—but the reality is the majority do not! Your help desk should seriously consider coming up with a few examples of how to answer the phone (I know this might seem strange, but it really works!).

Make sure to include specifics in your scripts—your department (company if the help desk is outsourced), name of the technician a brief greeting and a question asking what they can do for the user. For example: Hi, this is Justin from Tech Support, how may I help you? Something that simple gets across that the caller reached the right place and can explain their issue.

More often than not, technicians are focused on getting tickets closed ask for a ticket number. “Do you have a ticket number?” seems like a good part of a greeting, but in fact a simple “Hello” has been shown to make much better impact at establishing a relationship between user and help desk agent—which resolves issues much more satisfactorily than treating users like factory cogs.

Are you sure your help desk consistently answers the phone in a way that makes your users quickly helped, satisfied and ready to roll up their sleeves? Do you regularly audit your help desk calls to ensure calls are received the way you want them to?

If you’re concerned your help desk might not be doing all it can to get user satisfaction, Contact me today for a FREE help desk assessment!

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