5 annoying help desk calls -- and how to banish them
Free your help desk staff and empower your IT customers by eliminating these five all-too-common calls.
Computerworld - The help desk is a hotbed of activity these days.
In fact, reliance on the help desk is actually increasing. HDI, the IT service and technical support association, reported in its 2011 Support Center Practices & Salary Report that 68% of support centers saw an increase in ticket volume in 2011.
What those figures don't show are the number of calls that could be handled better. Help desk managers know what we're talking about -- those calls that just won't go away, the kind of persistent questions that bog down support staff and keep more critical problems at the back of the queue.
"Eliminating irritating calls [completely] is never going to happen, so the goal is how do you stop as much of this from happening as you can, because it costs a lot of money to handle these calls," said HDI managing director Craig Baxter.
To help with that quest, Computerworld checked with the experts to compile a list of the five most persistent types of help desk calls and what organizations can do to get them under control.
An HDI survey of 339 respondents showed that one-third of support centers reported that more than 30% of their tickets were related to password resets -- despite the fact that 69% of survey respondents allow customers to reset at least some of their passwords without help from the help desk.
That jibes with the experience of Ken Hayes, director of continual service improvement at Technisource, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., staffing and solutions firm, who says one of his clients had 25% of its calls related to password resets -- even though the firm had a self-service option available.
The problem, as it is in many places, was getting users to actually help themselves, Hayes says. Help desks often don't do enough to educate users that self-help options are available or don't make them easy to use, he says.
"People always look for the path of least resistance," Hayes says. "If a phone call to the help desk is the easiest, quickest way to resolve the problem, that's what they'll do."
To cut down on the volume of password-reset calls, Hayes's team worked with the client company, a financial services firm, to better market its automated password reset function. They actively registered everyone at the company, rather than leaving them to register on their own. And they instructed help desk staff to remind callers -- politely, of course -- that the automated option was a better way to go. As a result, password calls dropped to about 10%, a sizable improvement.
Other help desk supervisors who have successfully cut down these kinds of calls say automated voice systems, which walk callers through the self-service option, can also be effective.
Office suite basics
How do I format my spreadsheet? How do I change the fonts in Word?
Every help desk fields these kinds of questions from users who confuse help with basic application training, says Hayes. Problem is, these mundane app-related questions cause trained technologists to divert time and attention from issues more critical to the mission of the organization, he says.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- The Critical Role of Support in Your Enterprise Mobility Management Strategy Most business leaders underestimate the importance of tech support when they choose an EMM solution. Here's what to put on your checklist.
- Separating Work and Personal at the Platform Level: How BlackBerry Balance Works BlackBerry® Balance™ separates work from personal on the same mobile device, right at a platform level. Find out how it can work for...
- Protection for Every Enterprise: How BlackBerry Security Works Get an IT-level review of BlackBerry® Security, addressing data leakage protection, certified encryption, containerization and much more.
- Future Focus: What's Coming in Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) Find out why Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions that are truly future-ready must be designed to enable Machine-to-Machine (M2M) capabilities and much more.
- Live Webcast Best Practices for the Hyperconverged Enterprise Network To the Age of Constant Connectivity and Information overload
- Live Webcast Unmasking the Differences between Consumer and Enterprise File Sync & Share The consumerization of IT combined with the rapid pace of the modern mobile workplace is forcing enterprise IT teams to evaluate file sync...
- Live Webcast Government Agency Webifies Outdated COBOL Applications Let this CTO tell you how his agency converted 1980s-era green screens into an e-filing portal for the 100,000 cases handled each year...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the... All Applications White Papers | Webcasts