Having a well-documented ticket resolution process is great. It not only makes life easier for your help desk team, but it should also make it easier for users to understand why their issue happened and when to expect getting it fixed (See our recent discussion on help desk process for more details).
But your help desk process is only as good as the culture of those who choose to adopt it. Without the right mindset, your well thought out plan may leave you with mediocre results.
Because for most of the businesses we work with, “Good Enough” simply doesn’t cut it when it comes to getting user issues quickly and keeping them involved in key steps until their issue is completely resolved.
A “Good Enough” mentality leads to wasted time (both user and technician), poor communication, unresolved tickets that violate your service level agreement, lower productivity and overall lackluster experience. If your business is competing in today’s economy, where time is as (if not more) valuable than gold, inefficient and under-implemented help desk processes can mean the difference between making a profitable month, quarter or year, and not.
How To Make Your Help Desk Processes Work With Your Culture
Because so many times when I evaluate failing IT help desks—internal and external—I find more than 80% to be failing because they either do not have processes in place to escalate and manage user tickets or they’ve never fully implemented their help desk plans.
One of the biggest ways your IT help desk can improve is if your processes are integrated into your IT help desk solution’s culture. Your IT help desk needs to internalize documented processes and relate it to your culture in order to really make it effective. As one part of implementing effective IT help desk culture that aims to improve user experience and fix user issues quickly, I have found that following a simple Six Sigma “STAR” principle can get make for effective help desk operations.
STAR is an acronym coined by Subir Chowdhury, an expert black belt and teacher and author in Six Sigma process. Below is how you can transform your team into a STAR help desk:
Being Straightforward— Chowdhury underscores that fear of doing a poor job, or doing something wrong debilitates workers from being transparent and open. This leads to increased stress on the job and overall poorer performance. Even when a process is being followed, problems arise—and when they do, the most natural tendency is to avoid them. But the best way to instill user satisfaction and issue resolution is to be straightforward with the problem—both with users and IT help desk supervisors to address glitches in a process.
If your IT help desk instills a need for effective communication, they not only will have less roadblocks to resolve issues, but more satisfaction at work. I suggest reiterating the importance of identifying and communicating issues with a process is essential to become a more effective help desk support team.
Being Thoughtful— While this might be a given, more often than not (especially when help desk technicians work tickets) their minds go into autopilot. And even beyond following a process, we often work within the confines of our comfort zone and do not go out of our way to be thoughtful. One aspect of thoughtfulness is making sure your users are being well-served. Is your help desk team giving them the right amount of information? Are they asking the right questions the right way (not making people feel stupid or that their issue is unimportant)?
So often, help desks consider process over people. If a request doesn’t fall within the black box, it cannot be done. None of us like it when it happens to us—we hate being told “No” when we ask for something and are told we can’t have it that way simply because of company policy. An exceptional IT help desk team follows guidelines, of course, but takes into the consideration of situational awareness, and puts the needs of their users as priorities.
Being Accountable— As an IT help desk support team, being held accountable to your users is critical. Taking responsibility for actions—either good or bad—is necessary when working on an IT help desk. Here are five factors to think about when holding your IT help desk accountable to performing:
- Be aware that something needs to be done—when someone calls in with a ticket, your team should be able to define the problem, create communicate appropriate urgency for the specific issue and understand a direction or the specific steps that need to be taken.
- Take personal responsibility for completing the task—once your IT help desk technician takes a ticket or issue from a user they have to realize that it is their personal responsibility for completing the ticket or escalating the issue if it falls beyond their skill set.
- Decide on a path to resolve the task—there is more than one way to skin a cat. There are also multiple ways of working with upset users and resolving challenging problems. You should expect that your help desk technicians are able to make decisions based on the variety of choices available.
- Think critically about the consequences of their decision—you expect your help desk support to be able to make appropriate decisions on how to address user issues (or even problems with your ticketing system) by using situational context and critically thinking about which resolution would lead to the best outcome.
- Set high expectations for your team—I’d say that this step is often underestimated in help desk support. More often than not, help desk teams lack leadership that sets high expectations for exceptional service, communication and ticket escalation and resolution strategies. It is up to leadership to set standards for their team. Exceptional help desks aren’t formed out of the ether. Rather, consistent feedback, training and appropriate communication instills high expectations within good help desk support teams.
Having Resolve— Your team needs to have passion about tech and helping people. Plain and simple. A resolve to do whatever has to be done to create the best long-term result.
The problem with most help desks: they don’t think about how to become STARs. Rather, they are simply satisfied with “good enough” jobs. Less thought about how their culture and process could improve to make users’ work lives easier and your business’ operations more effective.
Are you sure you have a STAR help desk? Is it too hard to change your help desk culture to make it fit your users’ changing demands? Contact us TODAY for a FREE help desk health assessment!