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How to Increase IT Help Desk Customer Satisfaction
and IT Help Desk Performance

The problems IT Help Desk Customers Often Encounter

If your company or organization has an in-house or outsourced IT Help Desk, chances are that some of your Help Desk customers are dissatisfied with the service they are receiving. Some of the many possible causes of dissatisfaction with IT Help Desks include:
  1. Long wait times when calling the Help Desk or after submitting a service request by e-mail or using a Help Desk Web portal or ticket system
  2. Long CSRs that do not understand their customers' problems
  3. Rude CSRs
  4. Closing IT incident tickets before the problem is resolved
  5. Lack of follow-up by IT Help Desk CSRs
  6. IT customers (IT users) having to deal with recurring problems for which the cause never gets addressed and/or eliminated
  7. IT Help Desk CSRs that are not adequately trained and that lack knowledge required to solve problems
  8. IT customers having to explain their question or problem to multiple CSRs and IT technicians
  9. IT customers having to wait a long time for Help Desk problem resolution, hardware repairs, software installation, and other IT support provided at their desk or by phone/e-mail
  10. IT Help Desks not being staffed when customers need support (nights, weekends)
  11. IT Help Desks having CSRs with difficulty communicating with IT customers in English (e.g. IT Help Desks often outsourced in other countries)

Assessing IT Customer Satisfaction and IT Performance

The best way to assess IT Help Desk customer satisfaction and IT Help Desk performance is to conduct an IT customer satisfaction survey. An IT customer survey gathers IT customer/IT user perceptions, experiences and suggestions about IT Help Desk performance, along with the performance of other IT services. The collective information and insight provided by IT customers provides IT Help Desk and other IT managers with the ammunition they need to make changes to increase service levels and customer satisfaction.
In a well designed IT survey, IT customers indicate their satisfaction level with the in-house or outsourced IT Help Desk and with the other IT support services including Desk Side Support, Application Support, Network Support and any other IT services. IT customers also include comments and suggestions related to the specific issues included in the survey questions.
The IT survey should include questions about:
  • IT CSR knowledge
  • problem handling and resolution effectiveness
  • CSR courtesy and professionalism
  • timeliness in actually contacting the Help Desk
  • timeliness in getting problems resolved
  • ability of Help Desk CSRs to understand the customer's problem
  • follow-up by CSRs
  • other pertinent questions
To achieve the best results, IT survey responses should be anonymous. IT customers are more likely to respond to IT surveys and to provide honest feedback when they know their responses are anonymous, eliminating any chance of retribution from IT staff if negative ratings and comments are given.
Most organizations that conduct IT Help Desk surveys conduct the surveys annually or semi-annually, using the same questions in every survey. Some organizations do a great job of taking action based on the survey results, while other organizations take minimal action. When we conduct IT Help Desk surveys for our customer companies and other types of organizations, we provide them with trend reports that track progress in addressing problem areas and opportunities needing improvement. Help Desk managers receive survey data that identifies areas of strength and weakness, where improvements have been made since previous surveys, and where Help Desk customer satisfaction levels have decreased.
Most IT Help Desk customers respond to surveys with the expectation that their feedback will be taken into consideration and acted upon. When IT Help Desk managers take action on survey results and Help Desk performance and service levels are visibly improved, IT customers are more likely to respond to future surveys.

Following are some important issues to consider when designing and conducting IT Help Desk surveys:

  1. Asking the right questions and knowing how to effectively word the questions.
  2. Making the survey responses anonymous. IT Help Desk customers are more likely to respond to an IT survey and to provide honest answers when an outside company conducts the survey and they are comfortable that their responses will be anonymous.
  3. Having IT Help Desk customers identify their department, site location and other pertinent demographic information, and generating survey reports for each demographic criterion.
  4. Providing the opportunity to include comments and suggestions along with ratings.
  5. Promoting participation in the survey.
  6. Sharing the survey results with IT Help Desk staff and with IT Help Desk customers.
  7. Taking action based on the survey results.
  8. Conducting the survey periodically (e.g. annually, semi-annually or quarterly) and tracking progress in IT Help Desk customer satisfaction and service levels, and IT Help Desk performance.

Taking action to increase IT Help Desk Customer satisfaction and IT Help Desk performance

Some of the actions that CTOs, CIOs, IT Help Desk managers and other IT managers can take to increase Help Desk service levels and customer satisfaction based on IT survey findings typically include:
  1. Providing training and mentoring for IT Help Desk CSRs in how to handle customer calls, problem handling and resolution, acting professionally, technology knowledge, IT customer follow-up and other pertinent issues.
  2. Identifying and managing IT Help Desk customer expectations for service.
  3. Establishing and communicating SLAs (service level agreements or standards) to Help Desk CSRs and IT Help Desk customers.
  4. Ensuring that Help Desk CSR hiring practices are effective in hiring the right people to staff the IT Help Desk.
  5. Staffing and scheduling the Help Desk to provide consistently high levels of customer service based on IT customer demand for service.
  6. Identifying and eliminating recurring technology problems.
  7. Streamlining the IT environment.
  8. Providing effective IT Desk Side and Application support.
  9. Having an effective IT Help Desk ticket tracking system, managing ticket ageing to keep the backlog minimal, and ensuring that tickets are not closed prematurely, before problems are resolved completely and effectively.
  10. Sharing the survey results with IT Help Desk staff and other IT employees, enabling them to understand how IT customers perceive the effectiveness of IT Help Desk and other IT functions.
  11. Creating an action plan to address the issues and opportunities identified by the IT survey and tracking implementation of actions/changes made to increase IT customer satisfaction and service levels.

Benefits of IT Help Desk Surveys

Conducting IT Help Desk and other IT customer satisfaction surveys/IT user satisfaction surveys is well worth the effort. When designed and executed well, with effective analysis of the survey data and timely action taken on opportunities, IT survey benefits include:
  1. Significant increases in IT Help Desk customer satisfaction
  2. Significant increases in IT Help Desk service levels
  3. Improvements in performance of the IT Help Desk and other IT functions
  4. Possible reductions in the cost of delivering Help Desk and other IT services as they become more efficient and recurring problems are significantly reduced or eliminated
  5. Increased service levels for your company's/organization's external customers as employees are able to perform their job more effectively as a result of improved IT Help Desk performance
  6. Reduced pressure on CTOs, CIOs, IT Help Desk and other IT managers as IT customer satisfaction increases
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