Building A Help Desk Essay, Research Paper
The first thing I want to talk about is managing a help desk, I think that managing a help desk can be like running an emergency medical center, in a rough neighborhood, with no supplies, during an epidemic. I believe for some time now, help desk workers and their bosses have been surviving under these conditions, performing triage for some internal users, answering basic computing questions for others. But as in health care, practicing preventive care is more efficient and effective than rushing from crisis to crisis. I think that much of the knowledge and many of the skills for managing a help desk are the same as those needed for managing any organization. The same guidelines that apply to developing, managing, and refining any department, often also apply to the help desk. But be for you try to define your leadership style it is very important to develop a strong foundation, I will do this by defining the help desk mission, establishing clear service policies, and positioning the help desk correctly within the organization. From this foundation, I will be able to make all other decisions regarding help desk structure and activities that may be derived.
I know that it is extremely important that I clearly define the purpose of the help desk at the outset with a mission statement. My mission statement will be a broad description of the goals of the help desk that will help to define expectations. With clearly defined goals, everyone within my organization will be more likely to be working toward the same end, and, with clearly defined expectations, it will be easier to evaluate whether the help desk has met its goals.
One mission statement I might use is “to increase the company’s productivity by providing a single point of contact and responsibility for rapid closure of our users’ technology problems.”
My help desk will be a leading edge one that will leverage consolidation, and automation. I want my help desk to bring value to the software life cycle and all of IS’s interactions with users. I believe that the role of the help desk is no longer just fixing problems; the best ones act as emergency hotlines and strategic tools. My help desks will guide their IT departments in monitoring where and when glitches happen and how to fix them, and they will coach the company on how to keep those problems from happening in the first place.
One idea I have is that self-service is Better Customer Service, most customers will want fast response whether my customers are having trouble using internal or external products or just have a general questions. I will implement products to let my customers themselves speed up the process of getting help, while freeing reps to handle problems requiring more attention. The way I will do this is by having my help desk use only state of the art technology. My analysts and end users will have many tools to use to solve the issues that come up.
Chances are that most of my customers who call for support/help desk are not technical wizards. (Otherwise they probably wouldn t need assistance.) It can be hard for them to describe to a tech what s wrong. I know this is a common situation that other techs and I face on an every day base. I think it will pay to consider a system that lets my techs take over the customer s desktop remotely. Surely it will save time and money (less time on the phone and less chance that we will have to send someone to the customer site). My techs can see why the customer s printer won t print, or why they can t access the database, while sitting at their desks. There is software out there that lets you talk to a customer and exchange data over a single phone line. While on the phone, you can get files from the customer s computer and display them on your PC or send the customer files to his PC. You don t need an external modem or Bulletin Board Service. This is the type of state of art software we will use at my help desk.
Practically speaking, I want my help desk reps to be experts who customers typically call only when they need help, but I will require them to provide essential customer service to all the users. I think that the web has created a proliferation of sources, including help info that was formerly only available in print. I understand that our customers can often search the Internet, unwieldy as it is, to get the same answers they would receive by calling a rep. I want self-help to only be the beginning.
Problem resolution software now lets me treat the Web, in combination with my knowledge base, as your source of solutions to problems. We will do this at my help desk. Trouble ticketing will no longer be the sole job of my reps. My customers can create them, too, and speed up the time it takes for a rep to help them. That’s good news for me because I believe with help desks, faster service is better service. I think that letting customers solve their own problems is one way to prevent your help desk from becoming overwhelmed.
I want my help desk to be self-empowering, I also believe in a single point of access for the help desk. What I mean by that is that the help desk system should be used as an enterprise-wide tool. A big problem is that too many help desks keep tech support and order entry information separate and get multiple customer databases, The support rep should be able to log a problem and order a replacement disk for example, while in the same system. This is one reason I will use enterprise wide solutions with my help desk
Support Online will be a facet of my help desk. Everyone is trying to figure out how to use the Internet to provide support. I will use remote access within a call tracking system, letting customers dial in and take control over the phone line and use our knowledge base to solve their problem. We will use a piece of software that will let my customers log problems over the World Wide Web Our help desk home page will contains customizable incident logging forms. I want the web page to establish a direct link between the page and my help desk center. Customers get the forms through the Web and log incidents directly. We will lets customers use the product s to reach my help desk s knowledge base and troubleshoot their own problems. They can also describe their problems to open a new case that will be transmitted to the appropriate support rep. Customers can later check the Web site to view the status of their problem or add notes. We will let our customers connect to the help desk through the network, modem or the Internet.
There are several options my technicians will have available to them when it comes to solving a problem. One idea is to have a knowledge base composed of rules, case bases and documents. This knowledge base will help techs find previously resolved problems. I want techs to be able to type in problem descriptions and the software prompts them to enter diagnostic information through a series of questions. Once the software finds the right problem match, the tech can use multimedia annotations to describe the solution to the customer. Another option they will have at there finger tips is help desk software which uses proprietary knowledge retrieval technology called Answer Base Reasoning (ABR). ABR sifts through large amounts of possible related information indicating only the answers associated with the caller s problem and objective. The system uses natural language reduction for an intuitive interface. The knowledge base lets you build an expert system using tree diagrams. As notes are added, the tree automatically expands to include all cases. I want them to be able to click on the mouse to bring up a window that identifies the rule associated with that “branch.” This type of problem solving software system has a one-hour learning curve and its development features enable us to build an expert system quickly and easily.
I want help desk to collect data on frequently occurring problems, recognizing patterns and, all trends that relate to the software and the end user of that software. Then most important, I want them to feed that data to system designers for incorporation into next-generation of the applications, if it is our application and if it is not our application, perhaps we can sell that information to the system designers of the. For example, some thing I want to do is have the training dept design tutorials on the most common problems and incorporate them into the training of new employees and current employees. If the help desk is in a company that that makes software have them put these tutorials in the software itself. Then what we can do is designed two levels of access into our help desk web pages system knowledge base–a tutorial with pull-down menus and an alternative where they can skip the menus and do things more quickly. As the manager or perhaps the CEO I must realize, the help desk is the standard bearer for IS. If you don’t have a world-class help desk, it reflects negatively on our ability to support internal and external customers.
What kind of analysts do I want working for me, well I will want my analysts to have the following personality profiles.
ARRANGER Deploys resources effectively, is a long-term planner, contributes to team bonding.
COMMUNICATOR Articulate, confident conversationalist who adapts to the level and interests of others.
DISCERNER Quickly sorts the critical from the superfluous and acts appropriately.
EMPATHETIC Sensitive listener who recognizes the role of human nature in business decisions and is ready to reach out and comfort.
TECH MASTER Quick learner who can train others in what he has learned and is committed to continual self-education.
AFFILIATOR Enjoys sharing expertise with other professionals, contributes to team bonding, has interest in gaining knowledge in a variety of fields.
It has been proven in study after study that people with the above personality profile work the best and stays the longest in a help desk environment.
We will use Walk-up reporting in my help desk. When user walk up to the help desk and reports a problem I will have to make certain that the problems are recorded in the tracking system and the appropriate support resource assigned to resolve the problems. I do know that one disadvantage of walk-up contact is that it can be somewhat disruptive, because walk-up users typically expect a response to their issues immediately, and the appropriate resources may not be available. It is also difficult to prioritize walk-up issues. I believe that, the ability to accompany walk-up users to their desk at the time they are experiencing the problem often results in productivity gains for both the users and the help desk.
One of the very first thing we I will have to do is establish a system to prioritize incoming service requests and set responsiveness guidelines for the different types and severity of the incidents they will handle. My guidelines are derived from the service agreement with the user, the need for prompt service, company needs and resources, incident volume, and staff size. My first step will be to assign a priority and/or a severity rating to an incident. I will think of severity as a measure of the impact of the problem on the user reporting the problem.
The priority is the measure placed on the incident by my help desk to manage the level of available resources. My priority will be assigned by estimating the seriousness of the problem and the resulting impact on business in relation to all users reporting problems. For instance, affected users might rate a downed network and a damaged hard disk drive at the same severity level because both problems prevent them from doing their work, and cost the company significant expense or prevent critical processes from happening. However, at my help desk the network outage has a higher priority, because it affects the productivity of many users where the failed hard disk drive affects the productivity of only one. Whatever priority system I end up a adopted, it should will be based on customer satisfaction, and be simple enough to manage easily, yet adaptable enough to yield to developing situations.
The main responsibility of my help desks will be to take reports about problems and to find solutions for those problems. To work more effectively, my help desk will track those problems and their solutions, using the information collected to allocate resources and to develop a collection of standard solutions to common problems. I also want my analyst to have related duties, such as providing training to the users of the technology, offering on-site technical support, planning for future technology, and installing new technology.
My help desk be responsible for resolving any problems that involve technology or the application of technology, this means we will focus on providing help with computer software, maintaining and troubleshooting computer hardware problems, and finding the right people to resolve any remaining problems. Also my help desk will be responsible for supporting phones and other office technology.
Like I said before we will offer a variety of contact methods including fax, e-mail, intranet, and face-to-face interactions. We will let the end users bring the problem to the help desk if they want and we will offer on-site support for other problems. We will actively try to anticipate problems that may occur and through e-mail and a support web sites try to bring the problem solving methodology to the customers. Making this strategy work for my help desk will depend to a large extent on how clearly the help desk mission is defined and communicated, and on how well it is integrated into the company and with the user community.