Here’s how to identify an outstanding team that’s capable of delivering optimal productivity, confidence, and morale.

Efficiently resolving technology problems is critical to business performance. Research from Robert Half shows that daily IT issues cause two weeks of lost productivity per person, per year. When you multiply that number by how many people work at the average midsized company, it can quickly become a serious amount of wasted productivity.

Many companies seek to maximize the uptime and availability of their technology through better network management, strong cybersecurity protections, or back-up and disaster recovery (BDR) solutions. Many of these companies fail to grasp just how important the IT service desk is in this equation.

What is an IT Service Desk?
What does an “IT service desk” do for your company? While it may sound like a location, the service desk isn’t a physical place; it’s a collection of people, processes, and tools that’s been built to help your team achieve stronger, more reliable network technology. Here’s what one can do for your business:

  • Diagnose and solve problems on endpoints, like PCs, workstations, and mobile devices
  • Help end-users better understand their technology and work more efficiently
  • Resolve software incompatibilities, speed up slow computers, fix printer issues
  • Install, configure, and upgrade PC software to compatibility and efficiency

While some larger businesses will build an internal service desk team, many will choose to enlist an outsourced partner. Outsourcing this capability to a managed IT service provider (MSP) gives your team a sense of confidence when dealing with their technology, allows your IT department to better focus on strategic or revenue-generating tasks, and promotes a sense of focus and well-being across your whole organization.

What Separates a Great IT Service Desk from a Poor One?

There has been a rapid proliferation of MSPs in recent years, with many small and inexperienced outfits making bold marketing claims, often copied verbatim off the materials and websites of more established providers. The result is a lot of confusion about what really comprises a quality service desk solution.

It’s Staffed with Highly Trained Technicians

A service desk is only as good as its technicians. Good help desk technicians should not only have certifications from a leading body (or bodies), such as CompTIAA, Microsoft, Cisco, or others, they should have the experience and business awareness to prioritize and address each support ticket in the right way.

Here are some other traits that make a great service desk technician:

  • Analytical mindset
    Troubleshooting an IT problem takes a methodical, process-oriented mind that can identify all the contributing factors and eliminate them one by one in a systematic way. While this skill can be taught, a good tech often has a natural aptitude for this type of problem solving.
  • Works well on tight deadlines
    All business IT issues are time sensitive. A good tech understands this and knows how to function well under pressure, triage and escalate critical issues to higher-level support, and provide stop-gap solutions to keep your staff working until the issue is fully resolved.

Look for a Strong Cultural Alignment

If you decide to work with an outsourced partner, then it’s critical that you find one that’s developed a strong culture that’s compatible with your own company culture. What does that mean?

Empathy is a good start. The service desk team should foster a culture of customer care that complements their work. After all, when your staff-member submits a support ticket, they’re not just requesting IT help, their productivity has been interrupted and other people are likely waiting for them to catch up. They’re frustrated and annoyed.

The expectation is that the support team will make every effort to address the issue, knowing that there’s a human being on the other end of the ticket who needs help. Here are some signs of a strong culture:

  • Active listening
    Techs shouldn’t just record information, but process and acknowledge what your team member is reporting, so they feel listened to and supported.
  • Low employee turnover
    High-value IT service provider know that skilled techs contribute to a strong internal culture, so they’ll take very effort to keep them from leaving.

A good culture is not just an individual skill, it’s one that should be reinforced throughout the services desk’s culture.

Recent research shows that 82% of ticket requests come through voice calls, with 62% coming through email and 43% coming through live chat.

Support That’s Guided by Documented Processes

One of the keys of good IT service desk service is consistency. When your staff knows that they’ll reliably get the support they need, then they’ll have the confidence to embrace new technologies and work at peak efficiency.

To deliver consistent support, an IT service desk will need a clear, documented process for detecting, analyzing, and resolving IT issues. Why are documented support processes so important?

  • Faster solutions
    A team that documents its work will have a database of knowledge about your network and organization they can refer to, giving them a valuable reference point and enabling faster resolution.
  • Smooth ticket escalation
    Documentation provides techs with a clear set of guidelines for when and how to escalate IT service issues upward to senior technicians and engineers, so that critical or complex tasks get addressed by the right personnel.
  • Discover chronic issues
    Most IT service teams will try to address significant issues at the outset of your relationship during the onboarding process, but documentation helps track problems that repeat and uncover underlying bottlenecks or incompatibilities.

Custom service platform Zendesk recently conducted a survey and found that providers that track and support metrics reduce their time to resolution by 16%.

Features an Experienced Management Team

Is your IT service partner managing their help desk effectively? That’s not a question that most businesses are prepared to answer – many haven’t even thought about it!

Here are some questions you can use to gauge whether a prospective partner is managing their service desk effectively. Don’t be afraid to ask probing questions during the sales process, a reputable provider should be confident in talking about management and optimization.

  • Do they track and maintain important IT service metrics, like total ticket volume, average response time, time to first resolution, and customer satisfaction rating? Are those metrics trending in a positive direction?
  • Do they have the staff necessary to handle your needs? What about during peak times? Most IT service desks are staffed by a small team, so make sure that your provider has the resources to meet your need.
  • Is the service desk available through the channels that are most convenient to your team? Email and phone support are standard, but real-time chat support has become more popular. The service desk should provide not just friendly technical know-how, but a smooth user experience.
  • How is the service desk’s management team keeping up with business changes? Are they ready to embrace mobile and IoT devices as they become a more important?

Want to learn more about what makes high-quality IT support? Keep reading here.

Complete Network – The IT Service Desk Veterans

Is your business in Albany, New York, Charlotte, North Carolina, or Bluffton, South Carolina looking for a partner who can remove the burden of day-to-day technology issues, once and for all? We’re here to help. Contact our friendly, knowledgeable team at 1 877 877 1840 or [email protected] to ask a question or find out more.

How To Supplement Your Internal IT Team.

In an ideal world, technology would be a consistent source of competitive advantage and benefit for small and midsized businesses. The reality is that many fail to realize that confidence.

Without the right resources and support, even a highly skilled technology team can become overwhelmed by the growing list of technology management duties. When important tasks get neglected, it creates ripple effects throughout an organization that damage productivity and efficiency.

The co-managed IT services model solves these problems by providing your existing IT team with all the support and resources they need to successfully plan, manage, and defend your network technology.

This guide covers:

  • • Aligning technology with business goals
  • • Reducing churn while preserving institutional knowledge
  • • Empowering your staff to maximize productivity
  • • Achieving the highest level of cybersecurity defense

Download it for free by filling out the form here.