Help desk Problems


Everyone loves a help desk when they get what they want in a timely manner. But problems do ensue and clear constructs and rules should be developed to run a help desk for proper support. Issues from what products to support to hours of operation and monitoring progress are all part and parcel of any help desk support activities.

Scope of Support

The scope of support that any help desk can offer is a major issue. A help desk should be able to support specific software and hardware and make repairs within a relatively appropriate amount of time. A help desk should have a clear, well-defined range of products and services that they can support. When new products become available, notice should be given to the public or at least to product consumers of when support for an older product will end.

Help desk Support Levels

Help desk support staff at larger institutions and companies like IBM range from level one to level three. Incoming calls or walk-ins are routed to a first level support person who gets their contact information and a general description of the problem. Product warranty is also checked at this time, if applicable. Calls then get routed to appropriate departments for level two product support. These staff either are familiar with their products or are competent at searching in-house databases for problem resolution. It is on to level three support for the most difficult or unusual problems.

Problem Escalation

When problems become too complicated for entry level staff to solve, a mechanism should be in place to hand off the problem to a more skilled work group, or a higher level of technical support. Problem escalation is an important issue that can quickly get out of hand when dealing with agitated and anxious customers. At the same time more qualified staff are trying to solve the problem, a duty manager should keep customers abreast of their progress. A plan should be implemented to call on outside consultants when in-house personnel cannot fix problems.

  • Metrics

    Whether the help desk is newly developed or is well-established, periodic assessment should be made to determine if customer needs are being met and that enough employees are available to support products and services. Metrics are the statistical data that the support business keeps to show how they manage their resources and services. Computer databases can be designed to log the number of incoming calls, walk-in customers, and customer complaints. They can also log product names and services and the time it took for help desk personnel to resolve problems. Supervisors can run metric reports that show which products and services customers request most frequently. Metrics can also assist help desk support managers determine how to better utilize their resources.

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