Manage an internal help desk? Here’s all you need to know
By Harsh Vardhan
Happy employees are productive employees. It’s not a supposition—it’s a fact backed by a full-fledged study: the 700-person experiment.
For the study, researchers chose employees at random and either showed them a 10-minute comedy clip or gave them snacks/drinks. Then, they checked with a series of questions to gauge if they were actually happy—they were.
Finally, they were given a task to measure their productivity—it was 12% higher than another control group which was not under the happiness shock. Happy employees are certainly more productive.
What makes (and keeps) employees happy?
It’s not well-stocked break rooms, inspirational morning briefs or engaging team building games. We’re not saying these things have zero impact on a person’s motivation—just that they make sense only when you’ve already covered the basics.
The basics? The right support to do their job.
And it’s more than just a good desk and a working internet connection. It’s about giving them prompt support when things don’t work the way they are supposed to.
Things break. The internet goes down. Laptop chargers go bad. And it comes in the way of work—people get frustrated. An internet outage or a browser that keeps crashing can make the calmest of employees lose their minds.
When things break, there’s always a bigger impact (much beyond displeasing employees):
Email attachments getting blocked? You might have lost out on a major deal. CRM down? Prepare to deal with a horde of angry customers. QA server acting up? You might miss your release deadline.
Your customer support teams, developers, marketing folks, sales wizards—everyone needs smoothly functioning systems in place.
And this is where a powerful internal help desk is going to make a difference.
When you solve employees’ problems quickly, you’re making their lives easier.
And how do you keep doing that every day? You need a help desk solution that makes your life easy—that helps you assign emails to your team quickly—that helps your team work together to solve employees’ problems.
No matter what you do, whether you’re an engineering company or an online retailer, or even a fledgling social network, a responsive internal help desk can aid not just efficiency, but morale as well.
Running a help desk efficiently is not simple or straightforward.
Internal help desks are (sometimes) slow to respond—not because your team doesn’t care enough. You’d want to assign work to the right person on your team. You’d like your team to work together on emails efficiently. It is not easy.
Handling employees’ emails usually involves forwarding them to your teammates. And then they exchange emails among themselves to discuss the problem. Email threads become long and confusing. The resolution gets delayed.
Sometimes, emails get overlooked (the “someone else will deal with it” syndrome) till an angry reminder is sent. Or worse, it never reaches the person who should be looking at it, all because a junior saw the email and decided to resolve the issue on their own.
You’ll end up with an angry user, as well as a team that’s wasted a lot of time and effort.
To manage a help desk efficiently, you’ll have to keep both sides in mind:
What do employees expect from internal support?
What does your team need to work faster and better?
Once we have answers to these questions, it gets pretty easy to choose a help desk solution.
What do employees want from internal support?
Employees rely on you way more than you think. They wait for you to solve their problems so that they can get back to work.
Here’s what most people expect from internal help desks:
1. Easy to reach
No logging into websites with a confusing layout and buggy text input fields. Just an email. It’s on their phone. It’s on their laptop. Send an email—forget about it—go grab a coffee.
2. Zero fuss
Nobody likes to be dragged into conversations they don’t need. Employees do not want to be Cc’d on emails your teammates' exchange to discuss the issue. Let your team deal with the problem—and let the employee get back to work.
3. Time-bound resolution
Your employees will love it when their problems are solved within a reasonable time frame. You’d need a system that keeps your team on top of emails, and helps them resolve problems quickly.
4. Status updates
Your employees will appreciate being kept in the loop about the status of their issue. Sending timely alerts in case of escalations would set the right expectations for them.
What does your team need to work faster and better?
You’d want your team to have clarity about what they have to work on, and the ability to take help from others on the team without much hassle.
1. Automation to reduce manual involvement
It would be great to have a solution that can automatically assign emails to your team based on pre-set rules. You’ll be able to evenly distribute emails to your team, and you will never run the risk of missing an email.
2. Confusion-free internal discussions
Some tricky issues may need your teammates to work together. Why subject everyone to a long email thread by keeping them in Cc? Take internal discussions away from email and you’ll avoid confusion.
3. Analytics and insights
You’d love a tool that lets you assess your team’s performance. Analytics and insights can be a boon to ensure your team is solving problems efficiently. At the same time, you’ll be able to pinpoint areas of improvement for individual team members.
Your internal help desk system should be the last thing your IT team needs to worry about. Something that’s easy to deploy, dovetails perfectly with your existing email system, and works invisibly in the background—will make your life simple.
But where do you get these features? One way out is to implement a shared inbox system like Hiver. It’s proven to be a fantastic tool for help desks, as many customers have found.
It’s got everything to help you and your teamwork better and faster. Easy email assignment, internal discussions that don’t clutter up the main thread, focus-enhancing custom views, analytics, SLA alerts, and more.