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Why it matters to have a well-planned help desk: Investigating Why You’re Likely Spending More On Help Desk Calls Than You’d Ever Imagined!

How long can you wait for a call?

Time is valuable and so is knowing what’s going on. Imagine a scenario where you call into your helpdesk and were guaranteed a response within 5 rings—that sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

Now consider calling your helpdesk with an emergency—your email just crashed and you have to send out a quote to a very important client within the next 15 minutes. What if their guarantee was not 5 rings, but more like 900?! That’s nearly 45 minutes put on hold for someone to even speak to you—let alone solve your problem!

I’m sure you and your team have some expectations when it comes to your service desk’s response time and 45 minutes is just not reasonable.

But tailoring a helpdesk that is in perfect sync with your business—your worker’s hours, demands, timelines—it’s really hard to get helpdesks right. This is especially true when it comes to hiring the right number of people to answer your phones within a reasonable amount of time.

When you look at the amount of money it would take to have the right amount of dedicated workers answering your phone within a certain threshold, you can see that as your requirements shorten, your spend rises exponentially!


So how many rings is “good enough” for you and are you willing to pay for faster service? What if your demand varies over the course of a day? If you’ve planned your help desk demands based on a hunch or data that doesn’t reflect when users have problems or really need the most help, then having your IT helpdesk at some points chasing their tails some days just to catch up and then on other days twiddling their thumbs waiting for a call! That means money lost from BOTH lost productivity time of your end users AND your IT staff.

But things get even more challenging. How much do you pay for an internal helpdesk person and how much is each of the calls to your helpdesk really worth?

Consider the following graph:


What you might realize is it’s not always feasible to have dedicated internal helpdesks. If you really don’t get regular calls in—even with simple requests to reset passwords or identify printing issues—your IT department may sit idle until something comes up.  You’re paying these workers to shoot the breeze—and having unengaged staff (even IT team members) can lead to unanticipated problems—web surfing, social media or even instant messaging. And on the other end of the spectrum, you might have workers overloaded with calls feeling overworked and underappreciated.

If we assume the average helpdesk technician gets paid about $55,000 a year, then they’d get about $26 an hour.  Do you pay more than this amount? This might be a red flag of having underutilized people.

But now let’s just focus on the times when your IT department isn’t officially open—nights and weekends when your users are likely still working. How many calls would your support team typically handle?

Just take a look at this:


Until your night helpdesk technician fields at least 10 calls per hour, you’re spending more per call than you really should!

If you really only occasionally get calls into the helpdesk after hours, does it make sense to further burden your IT department IF they just finished a hard 8-10 hour shift? Keeping a happy workforce is a critical part of a successful business.

And if you do have a dedicated resource for after-hours support, are they worth their keep? Good after hours help is hard to hire and retain. They also can be expensive if you really don’t get a steady influx of tickets at those times. We’ve found that unless your helpdesk fields near 10 calls per hour, you’re likely spending more than you should on their service.

The Reality is Help Desks are Hard: Hard to implement, Hard to staff, and Hard to manage if you don’t already have efficient help desk processes. Call me today to get a free help desk audit to determine if an outsourced or hybrid system would better fit your business.

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