To grow and scale your IT services business, or to manage workload as a corporate IT, your helpdesk is often the most important part of your business. For starters – it’s your first line of defense, where employees or clients will send their queries, problems and concerns. But whipping it into shape is about a lot more than just giving people the answers that they need.

When done right – your help desk can become a core growth strategy that allows you to serve more customers, streamline tasks, add efficiencies and ultimately free up your time to do more with your day. Not sure how to make it happen? Here are some top tips for making the most out of your helpdesk.

Have a system in place for prioritizing support tickets

The goal for a support ticket queue should be to make it almost non-existent, but in peak times – tickets can start adding up. In these times it’s more important than ever to ensure that you have a process in place to know what’s essential and what isn’t. You can choose to prioritize tickets in chronological order, ie – you’ll see them in the order they arrive, or you can make smart tagging policies to prioritize tickets based on urgency, or to channel them to the appropriate technician who can meet the need based on keywords. For example, if the ticket says “printer” this can be automatically routed to your hardware technician, while if it says “cloud”, it goes to the cloud architect.

You might also want to create some categories within your customers, such as organizing a group of VIP customers who pay for premium support.

Automate your workflows to work on your behalf

If you’re not using automation to handle manual tasks in your helpdesk yet, you’re missing a trick or five. For example, don’t manually enter tickets into the system when you receive an email from a client, make sure that a ticket is automatically opened on receipt of the email, so that when you turn up at 9am and open your ticket feed – everything is in one place. You can also set up automation that assigns statuses to tickets such as in-progress, escalated, or closed. To make sure that nothing falls through the cracks, consider setting up alerts for tickets that haven’t been closed within 24 hours, or for your VIP customers according to their needs.

Don’t forget – communication is everything, so other smart automations include auto-responses that give the sender some kind of expectation around when they will receive a reply, as well as updates that you’re dealing with the problem, even if you don’t yet have the answer that they need. To make this easier – draft templates that you can save and utilize for situations like “I’ve got your ticket and I’m handling it” “The helpdesk is on a skeleton staff this week” and “This issue has been escalated to X member of staff”.

Create opportunities for self-service

Gone are the days where self-serve meant a worse experience, and today – 70% of people expect a self-serve option. Self-serve isn’t just what the customer wants, it frees up your customer support reps to deal with more intricate challenges, and offers a 24/7 service that provides answers fast.

As 75% of users feel a fast response time is the most important element of customer experience, this speed to value is really essential. The more you can deflect support tickets with self-serve, the more time your technicians have, without it costing you any more on added staff or hours. Here are a few great ways to create self-serve opportunities.

A dynamic FAQ section: Customers may avoid FAQs because they feel like they are out of date. For example, a website that still has last year’s COVID-hours of operation soon loses its legitimacy. If however you make it clear that your FAQ is automatically updated with the latest information, for example by having a network status bar at the top, or updating the latest release features on a bi-weekly basis, this will become your user’s first port of call.

Add assets to auto-replies: When you’re worked with customers for a while, you’ll notice that the same challenges come up again and again (and again!). Create templates and assets for these challenges, such as an article that provides a walkthrough of how to integrate a particular software, or a video that gives more context to how to activate a feature on a certain OS. When tickets arrive with relevant keywords, send auto-replies that link to these assets, and the problem will often be solved with customer education before you even see the ticket has been logged.

Leverage your community: Peer to peer support can be incredibly valuable, and will provide a way for users to ask niche questions about their use of systems and hardware. After all, often the real experts are in the trenches alongside the other users, diving deep into the way your systems work each and every day. If you have multiple customers who all use the same bundles of software or hardware, consider building a social media community or a closed forum where they can ask questions and learn from one another.

Stay on top of reporting and analytics

Don’t forget to better manage your helpdesk by keeping a tight view over the impact and responses to your helpdesk activity. Send surveys to staff and customers to ask how useful tickets and self-serve resources have been, and use reports to track customer satisfaction and technician productivity. With this data to hand, you will be able to iterate and make smart changes to the way that your helpdesk works to see incremental improvements.

Looking for a full list of the reporting options that you get with Atera’s all in one RMM and PSA IT software solution? Here we go! Don’t forget to join the Atera Facebook community, where you can get a lot of peer-support on getting the most out of our IT software.

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