mtbowen asks: "Our help desk is pretty much a joke. Most people don't bother calling them, they go straight to the developers or whomever they think can actually help them. I am trying to work with the manager of the Help Desk group and give him some ideas of how to improve in some key areas. I would like some opinions on my approach, as well as any comments you feel pertinent to the situation." What kind of processes would you start, in the hopes of improving a Help Desk that isn't providing much help?
"The problems as I seem them are:
- Credibility - Until the users see them as useful, they aren't. Once there is some confidence that they are competent and helpful, users will stop bypassing them and developers will stop letting users bypass them.
- Poor Processes - The help desk is supposed to be able to field most basic calls. They should answer all calls related to basic program functionality and system availability. They should know how to bold and underline, change email settings and know whether or not the web server is having problems. This requires cooperation from other groups, and I think everyone is willing to help IF there is a legitimate attempt at improvement.
What would be wrong with using some sort of decision tree (electronic or hardcopy) that walks the Help Desk person through the process of gathering information, determining the problem, and either answering the question or forwarding on tot he appropriate party? They have some sort of knowledge base, but either it is poorly maintained or it is not easy to sue because they don't use it.
I really like the idea of a decision tree type process that could guide them through a trouble call. It would also help new employees become effective faster since the basics are laid out for them. I know this will not catch everything, but it should help answer a lot of the basic questions as well as gather enough information that whomever the call is passed to (also determined by the tree) will have all they need to begin working on the problem.
- Poor Follow Up - In my experience, follow up is crucial in determining effectives of any service. I think they should implement some sort of follow up procedure to track overall effectiveness and user satisfaction.