Your help desk is your company’s IT lifeline. It’s where service requests are sent, where troubleshooting happens, and where tensions run high. Some requests can be handled in a day or two, while others need support ASAP. Knowing how to prioritize and provide the right level of support can mean a difference between just having a help desk and having one that actually helps.

Think you need the support of a help desk but aren’t sure where to start?
These common help desk best practices will help you out of the gate:

1. Get Your Priorities Straight

Prioritization should be based on impact and urgency. Does your team know the difference between a P1 (High Priority) and a P5 (Low Priority) for your business? If your priority levels are not clearly defined and communicated up front, you’ll likely fall short on expectations.

2. Know What You’re Dealing With

What’s the number one mistake that businesses make when they’re putting their help desk together? They forget to document their IT environment. “Every corner of the environment needs to be documented so that we can support that client the best way possible,” said Alex Marrero, delivery service manager at UDT.

3. Run the Reports, Then Run Them Again

Trending reports are key because they identify recurring issues that could be impacting your business — like a connectivity problem that happens every week. It’s also a good idea to run reports against your various monitoring tools to make sure updates are being made, patches are being installed, etc.

4. Staff for People Skills

Let’s face it, the people who are contacting your help desk are already frustrated enough. Something isn’t working and they might be worried about missing their deadline. “That’s why you want engineers that have great customer service skills — who have the ability to place themselves in the customer’s shoes,” said Marrero. “That’s number one, followed by troubleshooting skills.”

5. Define Your Service Levels

What are the hours of your help desk? Will you have someone on site or will you be handling everything remotely? How long should it take a technician to reach out to the customer after getting their request? Setting agreed-upon service levels from the get-go is key to the success of any help desk. You’ll also want to make sure that your desk is staffed to meet expectations.

6. Have a Backup Plan

Make sure you know when mistakes are happening, or are about to happen, during the help desk process. For instance, if a technician is in danger of missing the agreed upon response time for a particular request, an alert can be set up to notify that technician and their manager.

Also, think about how your help desk will operate in the event of a disaster. Get your business continuity plans set up now, so everyone knows what kind of service to expect.

At the end of the day, your help desk is there to provide peace of mind. But it can be a huge undertaking to get the right solution implemented in-house. That’s why many businesses turn to IT Managed Services companies like UDT. Not only can UDT provide 24/7 support, we’re able to scale that support based on your current needs. In other words — we’re always there to answer your call.