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Help Desk Improvement Tip: Communicate with Users

11/01/2011 by: The SunView Team

The IT Wire recently posted a great story: "What your IT dept wish you knew about requesting support." It's full of tips that will help users understand the core operation of an internal Help Desk / Support department. The article is a good, straight-to-the-point read, and something perfect for passing around to any IT team. If anything, it starts to unravel some of the psychology behind what users typically try to do when submitting a request.

In summary, IT Wire's 6 tips* for users submitting support requests are:

  • E-mail the support address your company issues
  • Don't e-mail other addresses, even on the CC: line
  • Don't address your e-mail to specific individuals
  • Include a description in the subject line
  • Explain what you are trying to achieve and what is happening and what you expected to happen
  • Retain the automated reply you receive and reference the ticket number in it if you need to follow up.
While these are great tips, and a perfect place to start, the real challenge comes from getting information like this to users, and then making sure they follow them - a tall task for sure. The real take away here, and as the article suggests early on, make sure there is some transparency to your help / support desk. Nothing bad ever comes from regular, thoughtful communication. Taking that one step further, consistent face-to-face or voice-to-voice discussions, as well as periodic learning sessions, can often go a long way towards improving the experience of your users and even the help desk in general.
Of course, we can't pile expectations entirely upon the human part of the support equation. Regardless of what you direct users to do, you also need to make sure you have processes in place that are built upon best practices such as those found in ITIL . If that's a new concept for you, check out our post from last week: Getting Started with ITIL: A Practical 3-Step Guide . You'll also want a to make sure you have a scalable IT Service Management Solution that enables you to both communicate with your users, while at the same time provide them value in the form of tools such as the Service Catalog which works towards reducing the inflow of incidents and requests altogether.

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