Providing excellent customer support has become more difficult due to outsourcing, downsizing, and tightening budgets; therefore, the helpdesk has to take on more responsibilities. During a recent Help Desk Institute (HDI) Orange County Chapter meeting, Bren Boddy-Thomas shared her story about how to build a ‘Super Help Desk’. She is the Western Regional Director of HDI and manages the help desk for Exchange Bank in Sonoma County. “Just say yes” to additional job duties and this will help reduce analysts’ burnout according to Bren.
Bren has implemented knowledge base tools, self service tools, and survey management tools, which are industry staples. Bren has her team focusing on the soft skills as well. She mentioned she could train her analysts how to be technical but customer service skills are a trait you have to come in the door with. She also spoke of how important it was to follow-up on surveys. Often managers overlook the feedback from their valued customers. The help desk has to implement a closed loop process for following up on negative surveys.
According to a September 2009, Forrester Research Study, the top five drivers of monthly help desk requests are; Passwords, Applications, Security, Performance, and lastly Email (www.forrester.com). Bren and her 3 help desk analysts support 380 employees (4:1 ratio) at 19 banking locations. Although her team is small she has added services such as answering calls for facility maintenance issues, and even calls from the bank’s help-line used to report robberies. The help desk has provided behind the scenes robbery support that has assisted in resolving 16 robberies this year. That certainly adds a new connotation to the term “trouble ticket”. .
Bren is a savvy manager with a passion for customer service, and because she has built a ‘super help desk’, Bren is considered a ‘super women’, and not your typical technology propeller head. She jokes that she even has a cape hanging in her office. Looking toward the horizon, Bren sees the need to integrate social networking sites into the help desk management tool kit. She believes Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are the new wave tools for trouble ticket tracking and reporting. For example she discussed the use of hashtags for reporting trouble tickets. Hashtags were developed to create groupings on Twitter. Hashtags do for Twitter what permalinks do for blogging, they allow you to group themes together and easily track them. Bren envisions using the Internet for easy access to solving and reporting trouble tickets.
Bren is fond of saying everything she learned about the help desk she learned from the Help Desk Institute (HDI), but you get the feeling she’s pulled a few rabbits out of her hat as well.
Visit the Help Desk Institute website to find out about local HDI Chapter meetings in your area (http://www.thinkhdi.com/). Also be sure to register to attend the 2011 HDI Conference and Expo, March 29th through April 1, 2011 in Las Vegas.