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Ways to Streamline an Internal IT Service Desk

If you're the head of your company's IT department, you know how important it is to be efficient and accurate. A few factors stand out when focusing on making your internal IT service desk responsive, timely, and part of the solution for long-term company success.

By
JJ Watt, Partner
4-minute read

Want your internal IT service desk to work quickly and accurately? If so, it's essential that your team knows how to offer solutions to every query that comes their way and keep employees as informed as possible. When they ask questions about their work, they need and deserve accurate, fast responses. Company employees who get excellent assistance from the service desk tend to be more satisfied in their jobs, more productive, and more knowledgeable. Making sure the desk runs well is part of a manager's core responsibility. Whenever your company's workers interact with the company in any way, they automatically become internal customers.

Company employees who get excellent assistance from the service desk tend to be more satisfied in their jobs, more productive, and more knowledgeable.

This is true whether they call the accounting department with a question about 401k plans, consult with IT security experts about a new logging system, or contact the service desk with a query about a computer app that's not working as it should. How well do you support your employees when they need quick help from the service desk? There are many ways to streamline the response process and boost accuracy of the information that is supplied to anyone who inquires. But a few factors stand out when you need to focus on making your internal IT service desk responsive, timely, and part of the solution for long-term company success.

Operate on a set transparent schedule

When employees need help and aren't able to get it because the human members of the service desk are not on the job, they become frustrated at having to deal only with knowledge bases, chat-bots, and AI-related assistance. One of the simplest things a manager can do to make a desk run smoothly is to publish a regular hours of operation schedule so that every worker in the organization knows when the service desk is fully staffed.

Wondering what other roles a manager takes on? Check out Modern Mentor's "What Does a Manager Do?

Inspire team identity

Even when you use a professional product to resolve your challenges like the SolarWinds Service Desk, it's imperative to let team members know that they are part of a unique group within the company. For instance, the IT staff who oversee the service desk need to realize that they are as crucial to the company's bottom-line profits as the sales force, marketing department, and production groups.

Remember to inspire technical teams who deal with support tickets by regularly reminding them of their key role in the success of the company's many missions, both long-term and short-term.

Use a three-pronged communication system

Even with the best ticketing system in place, it's important for all IT team members who answer queries to make their direct phone numbers as well as email addresses available to anyone who wishes to contact them. This small step offers peace of mind to workers in all departments. When ticket creation functionality is down for whatever reason, people should be able to contact tech teams directly with time sensitive issues.

Employees should be able to contact tech teams directly with time sensitive issues.

Ensure follow-up

Unfortunately, even some of the world's largest and most successful corporations neglect this essential part of streamlining. Ironically, it's one of the easiest techniques of all because it simply involves routine issue follow-up. For example, is a routine ticket request about a slow application is fully resolved, the tech member who dealt with it should offer a brief written explanation about how the problem arose (was it user error?) and how it was resolved.

Follow-up messages, made available to all, are educational tools that help users avoid presenting the same issue over and over, especially when the initial problem was a result of user error.

Use brutally honest timelines

Members of a service team should not hesitate to offer clean information about estimated resolution times whenever they receive a new ticket. The user/employee might not like to hear that this is a medium priority issue and expect to resolve it within seven business days. It's much more effective to let users know the realistic time-frame rather than use inexact phrasing like ‘as soon as possible,’ or ‘sometime early next week.’

Setting precise schedules for resolution helps keep everyone on track and doesn't let expectations get out of hand.

Focus on language

The language you use as an IT pro working on a service desk has a significant effect on your success. That's because you can build a solid rapport with the company's employees when you address them in a non-formal but still respectful way. In emails, phone calls, and online chats, remember to keep your language tone and word choice friendly and casual. Remember, you're not dealing with external customers, so there's no need for that level of formality. But you are interacting with co-workers in a place of business, so you shouldn't use the same tone or vocabulary you would with a personal friend.

Deal with causes as well as symptoms

The admonition from the world of medicine about treating causes rather than symptoms has a place in streamlining the service desk.

The admonition from the world of medicine about treating causes rather than symptoms has a place in streamlining the service desk. How? Because when you're able to find out why someone is asking a question, you can often categorize it as critical or routine right away. If it's the former, then you'll need to deal with it immediately and find out more details during follow-up with the person who asked the question. However, if it's routine or common, then you have a chance to educate the person and let them know that they can access the knowledge base if the issue arises again.

Use standards

Every discipline has its own set of standards, and you should maintain a clear set when it comes to offering service desk assistance. For example, many companies regularly keep records of such parameters as the average time to respond to a request, the mean time to resolution, the average number of issues dealt with per day, and so forth.

Create a list of standards for your department and use them to improve performance.

Offer help via self-service

For off hours and routine questions, let company employees know that there are self-service resources like chat-bots, extensive knowledge bases, video tutorials, virtual tech helpers, employee forums where folks can discuss common issues, and more. Many businesses discover that the better their self-help resources, the less ticket requests they receive.

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