With so many IT help desks struggling with too much work and not enough resources, it’s no wonder why help desk managers are constantly on the lookout for ways to relieve the pressure on their agents – while ensuring that quality support is provided to end users/customers.
As you certainly already know, telephone calls are a common and standard way for customers to report their IT issues (to the IT help desk) and to make requests. But, when your agents are taking calls all day long, other areas of the desk can suffer, such as ticket escalation management, training, or document/knowledge article creation. Plus, end users – who desperately need support – waiting in lengthy call queues can become irritated and your help desk can suffer from a negative reputation.
With that in mind, I offer you 5 ways to reduce the volume of telephone calls to your IT help desk – such that your agents can be freed up to concentrate their efforts elsewhere.
A knowledge base is an in-solution or online capability that can be accessed by customers and technical support staff alike. It holds information such as user guides, lists of frequently asked questions (FAQs), and technical documentation.
By providing a self-service knowledge base to end users, you can encourage your customers to search the available information to resolve their own IT queries. If you notice that a particular need/question is being expressed/asked repeatedly, write up a document explaining the answer and provide it in the knowledge base.
Plus, provide user guides such that your customers can serve themselves: “How to clear your cache” or “How to create an email signature.” How-to guides like these can significantly reduce calls to the help desk because the end user can easily find and then follow simple instructions to self-resolve their issues.
However, for this to be successful you must ensure that:
A self-service portal means that your end users/customers essentially help themselves or log their own incident/service request tickets for you. Rather than telephone the desk they can just hop online to self-help or to open a ticket, whether it’s to report a fault or to make a request.
You’ll need to make the user interface (UI) user-friendly while ensuring that you successfully capture all of the information you need (the last thing you want is to have to go back to the end user to get more details about their issue). This can be done using mandatory fields and help text (or tooltip text) to describe what needs to be input into each field. For example, you might need the PC name and the help text for this field would instruct the end user on how to find this.
When end users are logging their own tickets it means that they’re not calling your help desk agents.
This one is a life-saver when your organization is running with a major incident. Major incidents can cripple your help desk stats as floods of end users, all suffering with the same issue (caused by the major incident), try to report it.
To prevent this from happening, you can deploy an IVR message that tells callers that the IT organization is aware of a major incident and is working hard to resolve it. This makes the caller aware that they don’t need to hold on the line to let someone know (as does making the information clearly available on the self-service portal).
Your help desk can also use IVR messaging to provide instructions to customers, perhaps following a global change or fix. For example, if your email service suddenly went down and, after the resolution was put in place, you needed end users to close and re-open the email application for it to work correctly on their machine. Then you could let them know via the IVR (along with whichever other communication method(s) your organization employs).
If you’re IT organization is planning a global change, then ensure that your customers know what’s coming. The worst calls to the IT help desk are calls that could have easily been prevented if the organization had communicated better.
Don’t just send an email communication out the day before the change and hope that it gets read. Because it won’t!
Instead, talk to departmental managers, and put a message on your IVR system and self-service portal. If the change is really big, or high risk, think about doing a desk drop in advance – a small postcard with details of the change, reasons why, and instructions on what end users should do following the change can be a great idea.
When people are communicated with, they won’t get a (nasty) surprise. They’ll know what actions they need to take, and as a result, your help desk agents won’t be bombarded with repeat calls about the same issue.
Likewise, if you’re running a major incident, you should have various communication methods to ensure that end users can be advised as quickly as possible that there’s an issue. These communications should be provided regularly, only stopping once the incident itself has been fully resolved and people/services are back working again.
Use the information that you’ve collected over the past few months to determine which calls are repeat calls. If the data shows that you have high levels of password-reset phone calls for example, consider implementing a self-service password reset function for your organization.
You might also be able to identify missing knowledge articles/documentation that, if available in your knowledge base, will result in reduced call volumes.
You will be surprised by your findings. Often repeat calls to the help desk actually have easy solutions that could be resolved with some simple end-user education.
Reducing telephone calls can be a great way to reduce the pressure on your IT help desk agents and improve call stats. It can also help to lift your IT department’s customer satisfaction (CSAT) score by empowering customers to fix their own issues and keeping them in the loop about what’s happening within IT.