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Can a helpdesk makeover become your competitive advantage?

The right internal tools and devices provide employees with a better experience – so they can help improve your bottom line.

Not so long ago, IT departments held the balance of power when it came to adjusting the business’s technology landscape. Employees had to work with the systems they were given, there was very little flexibility in easily adding new hardware or software, and the process to resolve issues was cumbersome — to the point that it could cause hours, days or weeks of delays. With today’s mobile and tech-savvy workforce, that antiquated model no longer works.

Organizations that want to remain competitive in the age of digital transformation now have to come up with better ways to support users. In a recent webinar hosted by Information Week and now available on demand, Bill Kleyman explains that businesses big and small need to embrace the shifting IT paradigm, where users determine not only the technology that will make them most productive but also the way in which IT supports them.

Empower the people

Helpdesk makeover

Over the next three to five years, digital transformation efforts will no longer be one-off projects or special initiatives, but the new normal of how businesses operate, says Kleyman, Director of Technology Solutions at EPAM Systems.

“In effect, every enterprise – no matter its age or industry – will become a ‘digital native’ in the way its executives and employees think and how they operate,” he says. “When we look at digital transformation, it’s critical to understand that it’s truly transforming processes and business models, empowering workforce innovation and efficiency, and personalizing the user and citizen experience.”

Understanding how consumers interact with their favorite brands provides a hint of what’s to come in IT support. In the consumer world, studies show that more than 90 per cent of people prefer self-service to interacting with a support agent when it comes to solving an issue.

Happy users can boost the bottom line

Kleyman says it’s important to remember that business users are also consumers and they are accustomed to getting support when and how they want it. He says organizations must evolve and leverage tools that support the digital ecosystem.

“The mobile workforce is changing the way IT delivers support,” he says. “Digital experiences are going to become the new normal. Working with different tools and devices, a good user experience can absolutely create competitive advantage.”

“It pays off when you leverage solutions that encourage mobility and support really good user experiences,” Kleyman says. “Virtualized architectures can help impact the performance of your organizations through process efficiency, customer experience, profitability, agility, operational costs and (reduced) employee turnover.”

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Helpdesk makeover

Many users avoid contacting support and instead find a workaround, which can significantly drain productivity in the long run, says Stephen Smith, Senior Manager Product Marketing at LogMeIn.

“We need to change they way they get support. You need to push people to a method they prefer and that your organization can handle. It might be self-service via chat or an online portal, but you have to make it the fastest path to resolution or they wont adopt it,” Smith says.

He says companies should take advantage of trends, processes and technologies that can reduce support costs, user frustration and tickets that require human intervention while increasing user satisfaction and optimizing workflow:

Shift-left for the IT service desk is the movement of IT support closer to the operational frontline and the end user/customer. It pushes users to the proper channels and teaches them to resolve issues on their own, improving the morale of the IT support team.

Skills-based routing: Companies often provide support using a first-in-first-out approach, but with the right system, help-desk tickets can be routed to the most appropriate IT support person.

AI-driven self-help: Mundane queries such as password resets or connecting to a guest Wi-Fi are the ideal types of tasks where users can connect to a knowledge base to find their own solutions.

Take action

For companies keen to make user experience their focus, Kleyman suggests the following steps:

  1. Learn more about your users and how they connect and understand how they interact with various systems and tools. That will allow you to see bottlenecks in support or a lack of support for various functions.

  2. Leverage solutions that support advanced-use cases. This means support and good experiences delivered to all sorts of devices and integrating with cloud and virtual systems. Don’t limit users in terms of how they connect or the devices they use.
  3. Don’t be afraid to test new, cloud-based technologies. Proof-of-concept projects are a great way to test the waters. In the support function, think about using bots and humans working hand-in-hand to create the best possible outcome for the customer. You’re not replacing people – you’re giving IT and support staff more value.
  4. Leverage great partners to reduce complexity and fragmentation. Bringing in outside help can sometimes allow you to see the bigger picture and evolve the conversation.

Up Next: Not having a website could be costing your small business customers.

Patricia MacInnis

Patricia MacInnis is an award-winning freelance journalist based in Regina, Saskatchewan. She is the former editor of national industry publications including Computing Canada, and has written extensively on IT for a broad range of print and online publications.

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