How IT Departments Can Profit from a Helpdesk Tool
Information Technology and Information Systems departments are caught in an everlasting struggle: focus on operational excellence, making users happy in the short run? Or use limited resources for strategic topics, to support the company in the long run and create actual value? It's the same dilemma, for companies of any size.
Fortunately, a wide range of tools exist that help improve operational efficiency, hence making resources available for strategic endeavors. Ideally, these tools also serve in different ways, e.g. to improve service quality and responsiveness, and showcase the actual value added by IT support to all employees of the company. Helpdesk tools – also known as problem trackers, issue trackers or ticketing systems – are one of these tools that should be part of every IT admin's toolcase (yes, even if you are working alone).
Key Benefits of Great Helpdesk Software
They make sure everybody is on the same page.
Both for a tech user and a supporter it can cause a lot of stress if the current status of a request is unclear. Consider you receive a report that one of the computers in your fleet has suddenly become really slow, and you provide the user with some quick fix suggestions via phone. Then, you don't hear from them for a few days, and you're left wondering: is this issue still ongoing? Should you be ordering replacements, or conduct a deeper diagnosis? Or has the user switched devices, and the old one is still sitting in an office, semi-functional?
Good helpdesk tools avoid situations like these, by making the current status of an issue fully transparent for everybody involved. If a task is still open, it will show as such on dashboards for both the agent and the requester, and both parties will regularly be reminded to follow up and keep the status up to date. This reduces ambiguity and increases overall service quality.
They clarify accountability and expectations.
In support situations, working together in a team is great. It enables you to cover various timezones, vacations and obviously combine personal skills to competently react to all kinds of requests. However, working in a team also comes with additional complexity: incoming requests need to be assigned to avoid double work, and you want to make sure your backlog is complete before heading home at night. To make this easy, good issue trackers enable you to assign tasks to agents, adding them to their personal to do list.
Using a helpdesk also significantly helps with reporting and service level agreements. When we start using them, tasks suddenly have a documented opening and closing timestamp, making it easy to analyze processing times and eventually contractually agreeing on them by introducing Service Level Agreements.
They provide a persisted audit log.
In today's world of communication, transcience seems to be the standard. Messages show up in one of many chat apps for a blink of a second, and then disappear again. Phone calls are just as short-lived, as well as a short chat on the hallway. This is absolutely fine for a lot of topics. For helpdesks, it can turn into an issue. Why? Because especially when it comes to handling credentials or personal data, it can be important to know who requested a change and which agent worked on it, again clarifying accountability and avoiding unauthorized access.
Good helpdesk tools solve this issue by providing a persisted audit log or paper trail, which cannot be altered in arrear. It documents all changes to a request, their time and the person triggering them, making it easy to go back in time.
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