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Making Your Help Desk Smarter

by: Ronald Escanlar

Friday, September 2, 2011 |

Improving IT Help Desk Teams

Majority of efficient IT Help Desks are measured by their high basic performance metrics, which cover high resolution rates and fast average handle times (AHTs). However, as outsourcing consultancy firm TPI points out, these basic metrics only measure how quickly agents can manage contacts – they do not reflect how operations can be made more efficient and effective.
TPI says in its report that problems may actually get unresolved in the efforts of agents to score high metrics rates. The consultancy firm cites the example of multiple contacts about a relatively easy problem, which agents resolve by themselves. Instead of elevating the problem to the production team, the agents opt to increase their resolution rates.
Issues are supposed to be resolved and eliminated, instead of being managed with short-term solutions. A smarter Help Desk is integrated with other groups in the IT organization for proper problem analysis and resolution. TPI suggests five strategies that top Help Desks use in improving overall operations:
Knowledge Management Incentives. Targets for agents should be made, with a focus on publishing a certain number of articles per period. This assumes that the publication process filters good writing from bad writing.
Demand Management Incentives. The Help Desk team should get rewarded in reducing the volume of contacts for specific problems.
Incident Management Integration. Reward agents who connect incidents to existing problems. A tool should be in place to enable an agent to quickly report the incident and evaluate it as a consequence of a known issue. This is considered as a critical ITIL asset.
Problem Management Integration. Agents who can characterize a problem, and thus, assist in resolving it should also be rewarded. A problem can become critical especially if it involves a database, yet with a forward-looking agent, the problem can be resolved immediately.
ITIL Process Integration. ITIL, formerly known as IT Infrastructure Library, is a set of best-practice measures for the IT industry. TPI says interconnecting your ITIL processes will highlight the top incident types, record the progress in resolving the incidents, and reduce contacts related to the incident type.
With a more intelligent Help Desk, gains in operational efficiency are made and customers receive better services and products.

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