We have a special post today from one of our Helpdesk Team, Adrian, looking at the importance of the helpdesk. Over to you Adrian…
The names have been changed in this article to protect the innocent.
I was talking to a group of computer enthusiasts recently. All of us working in the MSP sector and helping clients our prime directive, I was surprised to be faced with a what can only be called an anti-helpdesk sentiment. It went something like this:
“When I worked on the helpdesk I couldn’t wait to get off there and get out to help my clients, my clients now are so happy to see me.”
When challenged on the comment, my colleague, who we shall call Bill, went into a whine of constant phone calls, password changes, network access, email delivery failure and file permission problems. Bill lamented that he could feel everyone around him sapping his intellect as he sat there day after day faced with this barrage of calls all the while being reminded from in the office that there were SLAs that needed to be met. He felt he needed to be off the helpdesk to be able to provide the clients with proper service. This sentiment was met with a murmur of agreement from around the assembled group of engineers. There was a definite feeling that the helpdesk was beneath them. To be looked back on with relief that they were no longer subject to the Damoclian Sword of call stats, SLAs and client satisfaction.
I have, in my years of PC support, worked on first line, second line and field service engineer roles, so I understand what each of them offer in customer engagement. I asked Bill what he thought was wrong with his helpdesk experience.
Bill was generous with his praise for his previous employer with the exception of their attitude to the helpdesk, which he felt was occupied by people fresh out of school, for the most part, with no life experience and little experience with dealing with people over the phone. Their duties primarily to log the call and advise the customer that ‘a technician would be giving them a call as soon as one was available’. Bill felt that, due to the pressures of the constant calls and hitting targets imposed, he was unable to sit and assist the clients when they called in.
I had to jump to the defence of the much-maligned helpdesk.
The helpdesk is the interface between a company’s clients and the support that they need.
It can be a painful experience, in which case the client is reluctant to put themselves through the experience more than a few times before they give up on their masochistic yearnings. At this point the client is already looking for an alternative, more pleasurable, experience when they have an issue that need to be addressed.
The alternative to Bill’s unfortunate helpdesk is a carefully created beast, much like a Bonsai. It must be nurtured and shaped, patience is needed, but the rewards are priceless. This is a group of individuals who can speak to your clients and make them feel their issues are being taken seriously and that the technical skills required are available to rectify them. These are not clones. They each bring unique skills to the group that are then shared and expanded on so all gain and grow. They go above and beyond to ensure that that the customer is satisfied that the issues are resolved. They are passionate in providing a service that they can individually be proud of and so when they hold themselves to a higher standard it takes the standard achieved by the helpdesk to another level.
I challenged Bill that if he had provided a service to his clients while he was on the helpdesk he would have found it a more satisfying position and something for the other members of the desk to aspire to.
I also challenged the group listening that their roles as engineers visiting clients everyday would not be such a pleasurable experience if their clients were not being given an exceptional experience by the helpdesk. The assembled group acknowledged that their jobs were easier with the helpdesk providing great service, every day and with every phone call, to each and every client.
It certainly made Bill think again about those guys and girls stuck in the office under the barrage of ringing phones, call stats and SLAs. Explaining to Bill that they were still there but of secondary importance. Primary objective is client satisfaction and the clients happy, not if an SLA is met or not but if the reason that they called has been resolved. If this can be achieved in a single phone call, then the client is over the moon. One call, fixed.
So, to make the client meetings with account managers and engineer visits go smoothly, make sure your helpdesk has the tools and resources to give the clients an experience they will not get anywhere else with every phone call they make.