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The 10 Common Traits That Signal Help Desk Burnout

06/04/2012 by: The SunView Team

The 10 Common Traits that Signal Help Desk Burnout

There is no disputing the fact that a Help Desk can bring out the best and the worst of those sitting (or standing) on either side of the interaction. Customers (users), especially when communicating through a phone call, email, or chat, often have a sense of empowerment that can translate to rather salty conversations. Though, no matter what the attitude is on one side, there really isn't justification for the often terse and "heard-it-before" attitude that a burnt out member of the Help desk team can have.

Now, this isn't to beat up, or down, the spirits of those that might occasionally behave in a less-than-courteous manner. It happens - we're all human. This difference lies in identifying that you sometimes slip up, and understanding that you can work to improve the way you handle difficult customers and situations. On the contrary, those that lack necessary empathetic concern present a challenge not only to the customers that must interact with them, but also the negatively impact perception of the Help Desk itself. Simply saying they have "burnt out" isn't an excuse, and is equally difficult to remedy. Meanwhile, an ugly stigma can begin to be associated with the quality of service you provide.

Inevitably, we all discover the hard way, that perception is a tough wheel to turn. This is especially true once it has been moved too far in one direction. While there is no true equation for it, imagine that for every customer you or one of your teammates interacts with in a negative manner, you would have to have a perfect experience with the next ten. Even if you could make that happen, negative feedback goes a long way to how others view not just you, but your whole team, and in some cases your whole organization. In short, when it comes to a Help Desk, there is most definitely a thing called bad publicity.

The trick, is to spot the signs of burnout, and start direct communication to figure out the root cause. You may inevitably find that you truly are working with an individual that just isn't cut out for the repetitive and often thankless job of being a Help Desk representative. In contrast though, and much more likely, you should discover that there are particular issues that incessantly plague the team, and have reasonable, quickly-implemented solutions. You might be surprised how just getting a list of common services and requests exported to a ITIL Service Catalog will improve interactions and morale.

Want take that a step further, look into Service Desk tools that allow you to create simple and easy automations, notifications, and reporting. This means your team will spend less time answering the same questions over and over, and more time finding resolutions - a much more enjoyable endeavor.

So, after you take a look at our list below of ten personality traits that signal Help Desk burnout, click on our solutions guide with twenty five requirements for a modern service desk solution. With these tools, the perception of your Help Desk can only improve.

Discover 25 Requirements for Your Service Desk Solution!


  1. The Foulmouth - Spouts "user" like a four-letter word, one you wouldn't use to describe your own family... usually.
  2. The Oracle - Diagnoses incidents based on the customer, before they even read the ticket.
  3. The Mercenary - Provides superior service, but only after an offering of doughnuts, pizza, or some other form of food stuff.
  4. The Know-it-all - Has an answer for everything, often wrong, and typically when no one asked.
  5. The Ghost - Is conspicuously absent when their lot is drawn for the next desk-side support case.
  6. The Hulk - Routinely appears busy, stressed, and overwhelmed with every incoming ticket, usually producing a tirade of desktop destruction.
  7. The Bladder - Tends to need more bathroom breaks than the average human being, even considering the 44oz-per-hour consumption of soft drinks.
  8. The Idea Guy - Loves to present the obvious problems, but never sticks around to offer a solution.
  9. The Long Weekender - pinpoint-accurate placement of sick days means the Help Desk will be understaffed on more than just a few Mondays.
  10. The Grump - Regularly places the customer on hold, waxing almost philosophically about how stupid, annoying, or frustrating that particular customer is.

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