Daily Archives: August 23, 2010

Global Help Desk challenge

I received the following question over the weekend and thought the question, , , and my response might be helpful. Here goes:

The challenge from one of my newsletter subscribers
“I am in a dilemma over the Global Help Desk servicing our users.  My company is based in Singapore, but the Global Help Desk resides in the UK. The Global Help Desk is supposed to handle first level calls, and if they cannot help over the phone, the request is then dispatched to my small team of engineers (x 3) based in Singapore. My team is supposed to handle only 2nd or 3rd level requests. However, since we do sit among the users in an open concept office, the users tend to go directly to my team for support instead of following the Global Help Desk support framework.

I have to admit that the Global Help Desk analysts are not exactly up to mark, despite several work improvement plans with their supervisors to improve the situation. Also, it seems to be a cultural thing in Asia, whereby people prefer face to face support versus calling some 10,000 miles away. I explored many areas to improve the issue; for example conducting a workshop to educate the users, putting up posters, even moving to an enclosed room…however the situation still remains the same.

I do not want a conflict between users and my team just because we have to adopt a Global Help Desk framework which just doesn’t work. Users (even senior management) are starting to lose confidence with the overall level of IT support and service in our organization.

What is your advice?”

My response
“This is a good situation to look at because it happens quite a lot, even when users are in the same building as their Help Desk. A distance of 10,000 miles would certainly make your users feel like they are required to contact someone in a “foreign” country, , , even if they are from the same company. The fact remains that people from different countries have different cultures and speak very differently.

Here are my thoughts:

First, you don’t want to create artificial structure or process in supporting your client. What you want is to create an environment where you are providing great support and your clients appreciate what you are doing. More on this in a minute.

Second, clients are like “water”. Water as we all know seeks its own level and flows to the lowest possible point on the ground. Clients are similar in that they seek the easiest and what they see as the best and fastest means of resolving their problem. What this should say to you is that your local clients don’t feel they get the best support when having to go through the Help Desk some 10,000 miles away.

What I would do is analyze the situation from your client’s perspective, , , not from an IT perspective. The client is sending a message that they do not receive extra value when reporting their issue to the Help Desk. What they probably feel is that IT is simply imposing a set of rules on them that makes no real sense, , , “where is the value in calling in a problem to a group we do not know and who rarely takes care of the issue 10,000 miles away”?

You might consider running a research project for 30 days, , , or even just 2 weeks will do. Train your staff to take the call from the client and take care of the problem like they are doing already.  Part of taking care of the issue is to be sure they log any of the calls that came to them directly from a user into the Help Desk issues log. At the end of the month, analyze a few things:

  1. How many calls went to your staff directly versus went into the Help Desk?
  2. What percentage of all calls that went through the Help Desk were handled by the Help Desk?
  3. Analyze the type of calls that come in to determine if the Help Desk should be able to answer more of the calls? Maybe, staff on the Help Desk need to be trained to be able to handle more issues immediately. One way to get users to call into the Help Desk is to  be able to handle their issue quicker.
  4. Can you determine whether the User is getting their problem resolved faster when they go directly to someone locally versus calling in the problem to the Help Desk?

Another way to address the issue is to have a point person on your local staff to field all calls and to be sure the Help Desk is updated. After all, good Help Desk information is a vital source of information to help you know where you need to focus to eliminate calls and to improve support.

At the end of the day, you want to be able to deliver support as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Users typically do not want to change unless there is something in it for them, , , so ask yourself, “How do we provide users more value so they call the Help Desk rather than grabbing one of your technicians?”

This means several things:

  • Being able to respond and resolve the issue as much as possible with Tier-1 support when taking the initial call
  • Being able to get to the problem in Tier 2 and higher as quickly as possible
  • Being knowledgeable and able to resolve the issue effectively
  • Maintaining call and response data so you can focus on eliminating certain types of calls by preventing the problem
  • Being able to track support call status effectively

To me, I don’t care so much about how we take care of the client as long as we are doing so and doing it cost effectively. If one of your local support people acts as a local Help Desk “point person” so you can be more effective for your client, that would probably be a good thing as long as you continue to insure you get the call data into the Help Desk database. This information is very valuable to help you understand where your support resources are spending their time and what kind of issues are taking place with your users.

Ultimately, users aren’t going to change without a challenge unless they can truly see there is more value in calling the Help Desk first. If users start getting faster and more reliable support from IT as a result, , , and hopefully you can show them the data that supports it, they will reinforce within their groups that calling the Help Desk is the way to go.

I hope this is helpful.”

Got a helpful hint of your own? Post a comment and share your experiences.

Ladd Vagen wins our first week ToolKit giveaway

Our first week’s contest winner is Ladd Vagen from Flagstaff, Arizona.

To promote our company turning 10 years old on September 1st, we are giving away a free IT Manager ToolKit each week through the end of the year. Better yet, we will select a random winner from our ITLever subscribers and award a free Apple iPad on December 4th, 2010.

You must be a current subscriber of ITLever to win. To subscribe, click the EMAIL SUBSCRIPTION link in the righthand panel and then select the frequency you want to receive new posts to our ITLever Blog (immediately, once a day, or once a week).

Ladd gave us some great comments this morning when I asked him, “What do you like about ITLever?”

His comments were, “I like how Mike is able to find pearls of wisdom and relevant examples of good business/IT practices in unrelated experiences.  I especially liked the story about Amber Falls Winery.  And then there are the ‘just for fun’ articles (the sidewalk chalk was incredible!) and, of course, the practical articles which are always helpful.  Thanks, Mike – keep up the great work!”

For a complete list of all winners, go to https://itlever.com/2010/08/12/subscribe-to-itlever-and-win/

Subscribe to ITLever and you may be our next big winner.