10 Help desk best practices to elevate support operations in 2023
Imagine your business as a theatrical performance. In this scenario, the unsung hero working behind the scenes to ensure your business thrives is the help desk. This team diligently tackles obstacles, capitalizes on opportunities, and ensures that your customers are not only content but also enthusiastic advocates of your brand.
Whether it’s addressing customer inquiries, troubleshooting technical hiccups, or assisting internal teams, your help desk is the linchpin of seamless business operations. Their tireless efforts often go unnoticed, yet they are the unsung heroes of your success story.
When asked about the factors contributing to a positive customer service experience, 59% of customers prioritized quick resolution for their issues.
Together, in this blog, we will pull back the curtain to reveal help desk best practices that can significantly enhance your help desk staff’s performance.
The future of customer support
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What is a help desk?
A help desk is a system to receive, manage, and resolve customer inquiries, issues, and requests. It’s a bridge that establishes communication between your customers and support team.
Whether your customers need assistance with their technical glitches, product inquiries, or simply a friendly voice to guide them, the help desk is there to back them.
A help desk is a multitasking system capable of handling a wide range of customer interactions, from simple requests to complex problem-solving.
Why is it important?
According to MediaPost,
84% of customers emphasize that being treated as a person rather than merely a support ticket is crucial in earning their business.
- Efficient customer support: The importance of a help desk becomes evident when you consider the volume of inquiries your business receives. It streamlines the support process, ensuring that no customer request falls through the cracks. This means quicker response times and more efficient problem resolution are key to keeping your customers satisfied.
- Enhanced user experience: We know that user experience is a make-or-break factor for any business. A help desk provides your customers with a seamless support experience. They get timely assistance, clear communication, and a sense that their concerns are heard, which builds customer trust and fosters customer loyalty.
- Data-driven decision-making: A good help desk isn’t just a passive receiver of inquiries; it’s a treasure trove of data. It captures insights into customer behavior, the most common issues, and areas for improvement. This data is invaluable for making informed business decisions and improving your products or services.
- Scalability: As your business grows, so does your customer support workload. A well-implemented help desk scales with your business, ensuring you can handle increasing customer support demands without sacrificing quality.
- Cost efficiency: While investing in a help desk system like DevRev may seem like an additional cost, it often proves to be cost-efficient in the long run. By leveraging its AI-powered capabilities like Turing bot and Smart Cluster, you can significantly decrease your reliance on extensive human resources while streamlining your support operations. This automation plays a pivotal role in preventing costly errors that may arise due to manual oversight.
10 essential help desk practices
Simply having a help desk isn’t enough; you must continuously optimize it by following these practices to maintain peak efficiency and performance:
Choose the right tools and systems
Selecting the right tools and systems is foundational to implementing service desk best practices. Your choice of help desk software and ticketing system significantly impacts support efficiency.
In a business, customer inquiries, technical issues, and service requests come from various channels. That’s why 9 in 10 consumers desire a consistent omnichannel experience from brands. So, an efficient service desk system should offer omnichannel capabilities. Such capabilities enable you to manage interactions from various channels on a unified platform.
Additionally, help desk software like DevRev also has essential attributes, including effective ticket management, a user-friendly customer web portal, automation to streamline processes, in-depth reporting and analytics, and a mechanism for upholding Service Level Agreements (SLAs). These features ensure a seamless support experience. It even enables your team members to address and resolve customer issues promptly.
Create a comprehensive service catalog
A service catalog is like a menu for your help desk. It lists all the services you offer in a clear and organized manner. It’s a crucial service desk best practice, as it eliminates any ambiguity and ensures customers understand what they can request.
To create a service catalog, you should define your services properly, provide clear descriptions, mention pricing if applicable, and make it easily accessible to customers. Update the service catalog regularly to keep it current and educate your customers about its existence. It should be a user-friendly resource that enhances both the customer experience and operational efficiency. A prime example of this is DevRev’s pricing page, which gives detailed knowledge on various plan options, feature descriptions, and plan comparisons. It simplifies
Set clear service level agreements (SLAs)
Service level agreements (SLAs) are the cornerstone of effective help desk operations. An SLA is a documented commitment that outlines the level of service a customer can expect from your support team. Here’s how to make the most of an SLA:
- Define expectations: Start by clearly defining response times, resolution deadlines, and help desk procedures to make a request. These elements form the core of your SLAs.
- Transparent communication: Ensure your customers understand what to expect and the service levels you commit to providing.
- Track and measure: SLAs aren’t static; they need regular tracking and measurement. Use relevant tools and help desk metrics to monitor your performance.
- Embrace flexibility: Leave room for flexibility to handle unique cases. Allow your team to make exceptions when necessary to improve customer satisfaction.
Clear and well-communicated SLAs manage customer expectations and maintain service quality. They are a fundamental aspect of a successful service desk operation.
Implement self-service options
Empowering your customers to help themselves is a smart move that benefits both your team and your customers. A knowledge base filled with well-organized articles, FAQs, and guides provides a valuable resource for customers. It helps them find solutions independently.
Additionally, the self-service portal allows customers to submit inquiries, check the status of their requests, or perform basic troubleshooting. You can also consider incorporating chatbots and AI-driven tools like DevRev’s Turing bot.
It is an AI-powered chatbot that can be used to deflect user queries in conversation or to suggest articles for resolving tickets. If you have added your knowledge base, Turing can be switched on in two modes, such as suggestion and auto-response mode.
Hire the right talent and provide training
Building a strong help desk team begins with hiring the right talent. Look for individuals with excellent communication skills, problem-solving abilities, and a customer-centric mindset.
Once you have the right people on board, invest in their growth and development through comprehensive training programs. The training will ensure that your support team is well-versed in the latest tools, technologies, asset management, and customer service trends.
Armed with the right skills and knowledge, they can confidently tackle even the most complex issues.
Empowering your help desk staff with ongoing training yields numerous benefits. It results in faster problem-solving, exceptional customer service, and enhanced customer loyalty. In fact, studies show that help desk employees who receive consistent training tend to be more satisfied in the workplace.
Refine help desk operations by creating specialized groups
Creating specialized help desk groups is a strategic move that enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of your support services.
By organizing dedicated teams, you tailor them to address specific support needs. For instance, you can have specialized groups for technical support, ticketing inquiries, billing-related issues, or various levels of IT support like L1 or L2 teams.
This targeted approach ensures that each customer is directed to the right team, streamlining the support process.
Encourage cross-functional collaboration
Encouraging collaboration is one of the fundamental help desk best practices for optimizing operations. When different departments work closely together, it leads to more efficient problem-solving and improved response times. For example, your sales team might need assistance from IT to resolve a customer’s technical issue. Or, your customer service provider might need insights from marketing to address specific customer needs. In such cases, comprehensive help desk solutions like DevRev facilitate seamless interteam communication within your organization, offering a dedicated in-product chat feature that allows different teams to collaborate effectively.
Such effective collaboration ensures that information flows seamlessly between departments. It allows for a quicker and more effective resolution of customer issues.
Gather feedback from customers
Capturing customer feedback is a vital aspect of maintaining an effective help desk. It’s not just about gauging customer satisfaction but also driving ongoing improvement in your support services.
After resolving a customer’s issue, proactively seeking their feedback through surveys, post-interaction emails, or other channels is essential. This feedback is a valuable resource for understanding how customers perceive your support, pinpointing areas for improvement, and recognizing your strengths.
For instance, you may notice that many customers frequently seek assistance with a particular product feature. Noticing this can prompt you to create a more user-friendly resource for it or make improvements to the feature. This can result in a reduction in support requests.
Measure performance with key metrics
Assessing the performance of your help desk is crucial to ensure that it is functioning optimally. By monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs), you can gain insights into the effectiveness of your support operations. Here are some key metrics that can help you assess your help desk’s performance:
- Ticket volume: Keeping track of the number of tickets received over a given period of time gives you insight into the workload your help desk is handling.
- First Contact Resolution (FCR): This measures the percentage of issues resolved during the customer interaction.
- Average response time: This metric evaluates how quickly your support team responds to customer inquiries.
- Customer satisfaction (CSAT) score: Gathering feedback through surveys allows you to measure how satisfied customers are with the support they receive. This approach aligns with industry practices, as a significant 48% of support teams employ customer satisfaction survey results as a means of measuring their performance.
- Average handle time: This metric focuses on the time taken to resolve an issue from when it’s assigned to a support agent.
- Ticket backlog: Monitoring the number of pending tickets is essential to prevent overwhelming your support team.
- Escalation rate: Tracking how often tickets are escalated helps identify areas that may require training or resources.
- Service level agreement (SLA) compliance: Evaluating how well your team meets SLAs gives you insight into maintaining support quality.
- Use of knowledge base articles: Assessing how frequently customers utilize your knowledge bases indicates the effectiveness of self-service options.
- Resolution times: This metric indicates the percentage of tickets that are successfully resolved without requiring escalation or follow-up actions.
- Repeat tickets: Multiple tickets from the customer for the same issue should be monitored closely, as it could indicate persistent problems.
Regularly tracking these KPIs provides a clear picture of your help desk’s performance. It helps you identify areas that require improvement, make data-driven decisions, and allocate resources effectively.
Continuously improve help desk processes
Regularly assessing and refining your support workflows keeps your operations efficient and responsive. By identifying bottlenecks, leveraging the latest technology, and adopting a customer-centric approach, you can ensure that your support processes are fine-tuned for excellence. Ongoing training and skill development for your team, along with data-driven decision-making, further contribute to enhanced efficiency.
Continuously implementing and monitoring changes to your processes demonstrates your commitment to providing excellent help desk support. It reinforces your service desk as a valuable asset to your organization.
Delivering reliable customer experience with help desk
A well-organized help desk is the key to customer success. The secret to providing great support services is combining these strategies with a specialized team, efficient processes, and an ongoing commitment to customer feedback.
Your help desk is more than simply a cost center; it’s an important aspect of your company’s growth and customer satisfaction. So, consider choosing an AI-enabled help desk such as DevRev, which provides a range of capabilities, including omnichannel support and the Turing chatbot, to streamline the way customers contact you. Embrace these help desk best practices, and you will be well on your way to achieving excellence in your support operations.