We’ve all been there. Our favourite online store won’t allow us to place an order, we suddenly can’t send emails, or our website is down. Whatever the problem is, we typically need to contact a service desk for assistance. And this is where the user experience can rapidly go from bad to worse, or – if done right – instantly improve. But what are the key things the user will want from your service desk process? Let’s take a look.

The 7 things your service desk needs to get right

In surveys by the Service Desk Institute and other independent bodies, users often rate these things the most important when it comes to their experience when asking for assistance.

  • Easy self-service
    People are happy to log their own issues on a portal, as long as it’s actually easier than calling someone up to do it for them. Simplicity is the key here – if you want the user to log their problems without your intervention, you need to make it easy for them to understand how to do it properly.
  • Clear communications
    When it comes to communicating ticket progress to the user, the more information the better. Make sure the user knows when they are likely to get a reply – and how long they are expected to wait for a final resolution of the issue. Make the process clear, and if possible let them know who is working on their issue so they have someone specific to ask for.
  • Speed
    Nobody likes to wait for help. We can understand how things sometimes take a bit longer than expected when things are busy, but the user needs to feel confident that their problem will be fixed quickly – especially if the issue is stopping them from carrying out their job.
  • A real person
    Your service desk staff should be encouraged to communicate without sounding scripted or robotic. It’s possible to have standard, templated messages that are still personalised and reflect the person’s own voice.
    You want to make it clear that there are real people behind the other screen – in the same way as it’s important for the service desk analyst to remember that the user is a real person too, not just a case number.
  • Multiple options
    There’s a wide range of channels available for making contact with a help desk today. Don’t restrict your users to only having access to one! Different user types will prefer different options, and will sometimes choose based on other factors like the time of day, lack of phone or internet access, or if they’re in a hurry. Allow them to choose what works best for them – whether it’s phone, web chat, mobile app, self-service ticket, contact form, FAQs, or online forums.
  • Proactive information
    If you are dealing with critical service issues, disruptions or planned outages, your users will want to know about them as early as possible. Consider having a service bulletin on your website or an email notification system, alerting users to any problems. The more you can share with your users up front, the more they will appreciate your transparency as it helps them plan around any service challenges. It also prevents your call centre from being inundated with angry phone calls wondering what’s going on!
  • Historic details
    There are few things frustrating users more than having to describe the same issue over and over. Once a problem has been identified, it’s important to keep the previous information on file for easy access if it occurs again. By taking the time to document each ticket properly, the service desk staff can ensure the user gets access to the same level of information regardless of whom they speak to on the team.

Make life easier for the service desk

Your service desk team obviously can’t be expected to do everything immediately, and they will often find themselves under a great deal of pressure. However, you can make life easier and tasks more manageable by having solid service desk software in place.

The best solutions will include the following features:

  • A fully customised service catalogue
  • A commenting system for incidents
  • A continuously updated knowledge base
  • An intuitive self-service portal
  • Auto-tagging of tickets

Good service desk software will allow your team to be efficient with their time, while also keeping end users in the loop. The user will know who is responsible for resolving their problem and how it will be addressed. With the right help desk software, your team can dramatically reduce the time spent managing tickets and complaints.