The lifeblood of your business is the happiness of your clients, the service they’re receiving and their perception of it.
How are they ever going to be happy with this service unless it’s being delivered by people who are happy with their jobs? You must prioritize company culture so that you can increase employee retention rates, satisfaction and team spirit.
Your helpdesk service needs to be in harmony in order to present the best product to your clients. If something feels like it is not going right, your helpdesk should be one of the first places to search for the solution and the cause of the problem.
Apart from technical knowledge, what is as equally important is the compassion and soft skills that are needed in working with customers from a service desk position. These can only be sustained in an environment that is well structured, supportive and accountability-based
If you are looking for practical ways to make your service desk culture seriously good, this guide will get you on the right track
Improve your help desk culture and learn how to creatively use:
- Written documentation
- Dispatchers and Service desk coordinators
- Idle time
Saying that, one of the essential things that will bring order and improve your helpdesk culture and the overall functionality of your company is having everything in writing! This will be a big part of leading a successful MSP that will ensure you can scale safely, without fearing your company will descend into chaos but instead be organized well with clarity of long-term vision and procedures that are reproducible and will work for 5 and 15 people the same
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE WRITTEN STANDARDS AND PROCEDURES
Winging it will only get you so far and will not bring the structure necessary for growing your MSP. Starting from the well-executed onboarding process to working on tickets and projects and dealing with emergency situations, written directions will make the work-flow harmonious.
Create written standards and guidelines to be followed, so that everybody’s literally on the same page, with a well-indexed knowledge base. One of the best things you can do to organize your help desk is to write down the way the whole system is supposed to work, while paying close attention to the requirements of what people in different parts of the job should be doing and how they should be doing that.
Eliminate any ambiguity.
This way, everybody knows that there are consistent standards for judging their performance and moving the goal post when it’s not favorable is avoided.
- Make the requirements for an individual position and it’s placement in the hierarchy clear so your staff know who their direct contact is.
- Avoid broken-telephone, ensure ownership and accountability with well thought-out escalation methods and procedures following your company’s hierarchy.
There is only one way to onboard staff successfully and it requires written documentation so that your staff will have where to turn to when information slips from their mind and they can’t recall something.
- Create a database of all software used with detailed description on how to use them to get a more productive environment in which unnecessary, time-consuming micromanagement will be a thing of the past. Use workflow boards like Jira, Freshdesk, Autotask for tickets, etc.
- Write down the basic information about your company like phone numbers, email, address… all the data that is easily overlooked but essential.
- Adopt a security policy and a way your staff can check the credibility of clients reaching out with their requests. Utilizing softwares like ITGlue will bring peace of mind.
- Create a communication policy and emergency threshold. Which instances ring all bells in your company? How does your staff reach you for non-urgent matters? Write down the proper ways to utilize communication channels and in which situations so you don’t get overwhelmed or miss important information.
|Chat||Video meeting booked in advance|
|Email with URGENT as a subject||Ticketing system|
- Ticket notes writing guide we’ve created will help you optimize and simplify your workflow – Having quality ticket notes will make a huge difference in your business. Download the ticket note writing guide here and see your helpdesk transform!
- Use time tracking properly. Use a method that doesn’t set unrealistic expectations and is not a burden to your employees. Every minute, 100% timetracking is simply impossible without making your staff track bizzare things or be dishonest. Instead use a software like TSheets to clock in virtually and Microsoft Sheets to keep their progress. Realistically, allow for 20% of the time to remain untracked.
- Update the document constantly to be sure everyone is in on the latest changes and procedures.
You can go in and tweak the document to meet new standards to get different results. What’s important is to create a document which ensures a common ground and consistency in work.
Having these documents easily accessible will serve as a reminder and a constant resource which can be updated to improve systems and staff performance.
Having technical knowledge and utilizing the systems according to your preference will optimize the help desk but is only one piece of the puzzle.
Creating a distraction-free environment and easing the pressure your service desk technicians face will benefit them greatly and boost their productivity. The next most important step in creating a good servicedesk culture is strengthening your frontline.
DISPATCHER OR SERVICE COORDINATOR WILL BE A LIFE SAVER
Have a dispatcher or service coordinator to assist, guide and organize technicians. MSPs are often chaotic because they don’t have a dispatcher as the nucleus of the help desk, managing the fulfillment and allocation of tickets.
Prevent ticket cherry-picking to ensure that the ticket distribution is fair and have someone who your technicians can count on for help when things get heated and busy.
Handing over escalated tickets back to a dispatcher so that they can guide the escalated ticket to the right destination, ensuring accountability in the process and seeing it through or following up is good practice.
Technician ring groups are just not working well. With working with 40 MSP we’ve witnessed some chilling set-ups in which technicians barely had time to dedicate themselves to solving tickets because they were constantly answering the phone.
Ring groups can also lead to technicians simply dropping a customer because no one wanted, or didn’t have time, to pick up the phone. If you want to have integrity and be respected by customers this is something that should never ever happen.
It is smart having a dispatcher to:
- pick up the phone and take the info,
- try basic troubleshooting.
- make sure that the tickets are categorized right, with the general issues for a subject.
- manage the urgency and placement of tickets
This way, it will be much much easier for technicians to do their job right while saving time and focus on actually solving the tickets providing great quality, rather than being interrupted every other minute to drop everything and answer the phone.
Bringing order to the workflow to create a productive environment – a dispatcher should be to a technician as a nurse is to a doctor.
HAVE GROUP HUDDLES TO LIFT THE TEAM SPIRIT AND STRENGTHEN YOUR BUSINESS
Group huddles allow for a time where everyone can get together as a team. Employees can raise suggestions for anything they feel would help the group. Everyone should be able to throw things in and harmonize their energy with their coworkers.
Having meetings where your team shares their experience and can raise any issues they need help with will contribute to the overall health of your business. These practices will build the team spirit that seems to be lacking in MSPs especially ones operating remotely.
Staff can consult internally and have a chance to grow that they would not have by trying to find the answers by themselves. Your team can share experiences and create an environment in which they can freely express their ideas.
This will shine a light onto the systems in which they are working, how they operate, what they like and dislike, with a chance to improve the weaker points.
Especially in a remote working environment, where contact and time for teamwork are basically non-existent, utilizing zoom team-building hacks can improve the quality of the work your staff provides by ensuring they feel like a part of a caring team, with people equally eager to work on improving the business as they are.
ENCOURAGE PROJECT TECHNICIANS TO HELP SERVICE DESK TECHNICIANS WORK ON TICKETS WHEN OVERLOADED
Responsibility a certain position carries should be clearly defined and followed strictly but when extraordinary situations occur no body should turn their head because this action simply is not benefiting anyone. However, having senior technicians as staff managers is not a good idea. You should delegate this responsibility to someone who has a different experience and method in gaining it.
Senior technicians can be great mentors! Having senior or project technicians jump in when your more novice technicians are overloaded, instead of ignoring the amount of work they are facing will help with maintaining the work flow steady and customers happy!
An all hands on deck alerts, such as a notification that gets sent out to all senior technicians, helps to resolve the problems when the front lines get overwhelmed.
When a senior tech working on a project receives the alert, they can jump on the helpdesk and knock down some tickets. This reduces the heavy load in times when the front-liners feel weighed down by too many tickets, calls, etc.
An overloaded front line team will lead to inconsistencies in client service. As an MSP, you want to ensure that clients know what to expect when they submit a ticket and get a consistent result.
You can reinforce this behavior by incentivising it.
Making your technicians work together, regardless of their level of experience and position in the company will lead to exchange of useful information, build their confidence and broaden their knowledge. For your MSP this means having a synchronized team that can tackle any issue.
If you think of your MSP as an ecosystem consisting of different parts that need to cooperate and depend on one another to sustain itself, encouraging connection and teamwork is crucial to achieve a strong system.
INCENTIVIZE TIDY DOCUMENTATION AND SENIOR MENTORING
It’s important to make sure that your documentation is kept up-to-date and that a certain amount of mentoring occurs from higher-level staff to more junior team members.
What happens when a technician escalates a ticket? It would go either to a dispatcher or to a senior technician, who has the knowledge, skills and experience to solve it. Why shouldn’t that technician then share what he knows with the person who escalated the ticket?
The senior technician should then reverse escalate the ticket back to the technician that can then learn and grow their experience and confidence – being able to solve the same issue when it comes up in the future. With robust, clear and helpful ticket notes learning how to solve the issue will empower the technician to next time solve the same issue by themselves! Isn’t that great?
There should be somebody, ideally a dispatcher or a senior technician, that closely monitors escalations for training and mentoring purposes.
After an escalated issue is resolved, the dispatcher or senior technician should reverse the escalation and brief the original technician. That junior technician can then read through the ticket notes and understand what solved the issue.
This is a clever practice to help them grow.
Another good practice is creating documentation incentives. For example, you could provide a reward at the end of the month for the technician who flagged the most number of missing documentation items, or reverse escalated the highest number of tickets.
Rewarding the improvement of documentation and transfer of knowledge are great ways to keep your documentation complete and up-to-date.
MSPs don’t dedicate too much time to this but we’ve seen it to be a seamless way of improving your helpdesk service and encourage learning and growing, increasing customer satisfaction as a result.
APPLAUD GOOD CLIENT FEEDBACK TO REINFORCE THE BEHAVIOUR THAT LEAD TO THAT
Another thing that doesn’t get enough attention is client feedback and the ways it can be used.
Applaud good client feedback in your staff huddles. Pat your staff on the back when they do a good job.
Some MSPs have an attitude of “If there ain’t no complaints, then we’re good”, but we believe that technicians need positive reinforcement as well. This will tell them that they are on the right track and motivate them to continue with the good work and effort they’ve been putting in.
Encouraging good behaviour is sometimes more useful than pointing out the fallacies.
Client feedback is a resource that can be utilized in useful and creative ways but is often neglected.
For marketing, it means getting an insight into the manner your clients like to be treated and which techniques to avoid.
For your technicians, it offers a chance to improve their weak-spots and fortify their strengths. For your service or product, it presents an opportunity for upselling.
Create a word of mouth recommendation that works better than any high-budget marketing strategy.
Having your clients talking about how great your service is, how helpful and swift-handed your staff is or how your response time is unmatched in the field will spread among the users in their circle, bringing you more clients.
You want to know what it takes to have the best customer support team? Click here to read an article we wrote on why your MSP should invest in improving customer service (and how to do it).
All this can not be done if your staff is not encouraged to pursue the highest-level of support that includes empathy, consistency and attention to detail alongside great technical knowledge.
ALLOW ANONYMOUS FEEDBACK – EMBRACE CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM TO IMPROVE YOUR MSP
From an MSP thread on Reddit we’ve had a chance to read what’s really on a technician’s mind and found out that they do not have the ability to express themselves within the very company they’re working in.
Give your technicians an anonymous way of submitting feedback regarding what they don’t like about their job and how can that be improved.
At Support Adventure, we hire technicians, assign them to MSPs and monitor their results. We act as a mediating force that listens to both sides to create harmony in the relationship. Technicians give us a lot of feedback that they wouldn’t tell the MSPs that were their direct employees.
You can emulate this by making an anonymous feedback system.
Weakness in structure, ambiguity in procedures or an overload is doing damage to your helpdesk culture. Giving people a space to vent and have their ideas heard will fix the issues you overlooked for some reason or wasn’t aware of in the first place.
IDLE TIME – THE UNDERDOG OF PRODUCTIVITY BOOSTERS
Contrary to what it might seem like, idle time is actually necessary for your technicians to be happy, fresh and productive.
- Human focus is a fragile thing and doing the same thing for a long time will weaken our attention making us unproductive. Having the opportunity to switch tasks for a while will sharpen our senses and freshen up our mind. Apply this to your technicians!
- During down-time, when there are no tickets coming in don’t have your staff staring at the ceiling, dulling down. Engage them with arbitrary tasks!
- Use idle time for bonding, chatting, exchanging interesting links/softwares/ideas. Allow your team to decompress if they need by simply relaxing in a light conversation or some comforting alone-time.
The truth is that there is always something to do. Sometimes, it is hard to decide what to do or where to start. You can encourage your staff to take on tasks different to what they do the majority of the time.
Create a list of arbitrary tasks your technicians can take on when they want to switch things up or have down time.
It can be something along the lines of:
- Filling in documentation
- Improving processes
- Working on systems
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT
The two most important criteria in measuring the success of your company. Have you ever thought about looking at it the other way around?
Think about it this way – making your customers engage with your company more will make them invest more attention to it and therefore feel a deeper bond, depending on your MSP more. You can do that by:
- Providing useful Help Center Articles that will guide them to simple solutions
- Making them choose a communication channel according to the severity of their issue by the categories you’ve offered
- Asking about feedback after each interaction with your staff
|The urgency of the Issue||Best way to communicate||Expected solution time|
|Blocker or Critical||Phone call||Depending on the issue|
|Not affecting crucial points||Live chat/email||End of the day|
|Trivial, advice, inquiry||Day/Two|
When it comes to the satisfaction of your employees – the happier they are the better their work will be! Create confident, compassionate and committed staff by:
- Creating a distraction free environment
- Encourage teamwork and team building
- Have clear procedures and open door policies
WE ARE HAPPY TO SHARE OUR EXPERIENCE WITH YOU
With working with 40 MSP over the past years and providing the best talent for them continuously, we’ve had insight into many systems and know when they do and don’t work.
You can talk with our founder and CEO, Eric about improving your workplace culture or hiring some of our best technicians for dedicated service!
For more useful tips and guides check out the BLOG on our Support Adventure website! Whether you are an MSP searching for talented staff or a technician looking for a caring mediator – we are here for you.
If you are looking for a job as a helpdesk technician – apply now!