IT help desk software – essentials for the manager
As a manager, you look to your help desk installation to provide you with actionable reporting that enables you to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of your support organization, while informing your management colleagues. You will need trend information, such as reductions or increases on average incident resolution times, and performance against the Service Level Agreements you either signed up to or inherited. You will also want to see which analysts are most effective, and which appear to be struggling; which come out well in customer experience surveys, and which appear to have left their charm and charisma in the parking lot each day.
Although professional support analysts will recognize and accept these requirements in help desk software, none of these elements are of much direct help in the execution of their role. So, while you may be pleased with the reporting you get, does your help desk software have enough functionality and usability to motivate and support the analysts?
Help desk software features for the analysts
What motivates the analysts to perform well? Here are some aspects of help desk management which we have found to be key.
Professional pride. IT support staff can have something of an image problem, and I think this is unfair. Those that I’ve met in our Vector HelpDesk customer sites understand the significance of their contribution, and so long as that is tangibly recognized they respond by taking pride in the way their deliver the service to their IT user community. Part of the tangible recognition is the provision of a carefully chosen, high quality, issue tracking tool.
Feedback from satisfied customers. Help desk metrics are important but somewhat impersonal. It’s a good idea to run customer satisfaction questionnaires on at least a proportion of incidents, and make sure the information you capture is used constructively to support and guide your team.
Audit trail of activity bears witness to a job done well. This isn’t always available in run-of-the-mill help desk solutions. An integrated history of how an incident was handled can be invaluable for everyone concerned – the end user, the analyst, and the support manager. Look for all aspects of the history, including call logs, email exchanges and action records, integrated chronologically.
Performance rewards. You have already identified the importance of help desk metrics for both informing your management colleagues and keeping your analysts on their toes. It is important to give the team specific goals to work toward, supported by significant rewards – not just more Starbucks vouchers. You will need specific reports that support the performance challenges you are setting, so add these to the checklist when you are shopping for a new help desk software solution. There is a lot of scepticism around the way awards are devised, and this is not so easy as it sounds to carry off, month after month, or quarter on quarter.
Now, next question, what aspects of a help desk enable the analysts to perform well? We’ll work on that very shortly in another post to this blog.