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Reducing Your Help Desk Burden
How to reduce the number of Help Desk tickets
Simple ways that can drastically reduce the number of Help Desk requests you get
A Help Desk is a "necessary evil" for most companies. Your company is probably no different. In most cases, a Help Desk is a pure loss item for you as well. You're probably not going to make money supporting a product you've sold. A major consideration for anyone managing a Help Desk is how to reduce the cost of your Help Desk. Here are some ways for you to reduce the overall Help Desk burden.
Comprehensive Knowledge Base
A comprehensive and easily searchable knowledge base is indispensable for anyone running a Help Desk. Generally, there are two types of knowledge bases: internal and external.
Internal knowledge bases provide your Help Desk personal with information you may not want to make publicly available. For example, you may have a way of recovering a locked-out user's or administrator's password for a system you've sold that's undocumented. You certainly don't want to publish such information as this would allow anyone to gain access to your system. However, in a pinch, after proving that the user calling in does indeed have the proper authorization, your support personnel can follow the procedures documented in the knowledge base to unlock said user.
External knowledge bases provide information for both internal Help Desk personnel and external users. By providing an easy to use search mechanism, your external users may be able to use the documented solutions to solve their own problems. Having them solve the problems themselves provides a better customer service experience for the user as well as saving you the costs you would have had to pay to have a Help Desk person solve the problem.
Important factors involved a comprehensive knowledge base are to ensure the search mechanism is easy to use and effective, to follow an easy to use written format that just about anyone can understand and use, and to make sure you document such things as error message exactly as they appear to the user.
Following these guidelines will ensure a better user experience in solving issues for both your internal Help Desk personnel and external users resolving issues on their own. You'll also save on Help Desk costs.
Published Frequently Asked Questions
Without a doubt, you will have many users asking the same questions over and over again. One way you can track which questions have a high frequency of coming up in support issues is by tracking these issues in a high-quality Help Desk Software solution. Once you determine which questions are asked the most, you can put together a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) listing and publish it for external users to view to solve their own issues.
One such item you might put in a FAQ are port settings for a router people might have at home to open up TCP/IP ports to run games and other application servers. Maybe you can provide sample configuration settings for commonly used configurations for your product, etc.
Good Troubleshooting Guides
Having good troubleshooting guides available for internal Help Desk and external users is also a key way of keeping costs down. Not everyone approaches problems in a logical and thoughtful fashion. They may need help in figuring out how to figure out what the problem is. A good troubleshooting guide can be a big help in this area.
For example, narrowing down the problem is a major step in resolving it. You may want to provide a way for users to narrow down the problem themselves. You could even provide this guide in a flow-chart fashion where they do something, see the result, and continue to the next step based on the results they get from their testing.
These three simple basic methods, a comprehensive knowledge base, a FAQ, and good troubleshooting guides can be invaluable in reduction your overall Help Desk costs.