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What Makes a Great Help Desk? Part 1: The People Aspect

By Dina Ferriero,
Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

When evaluating technology providers, there are a number of factors to consider when determining which is the best fit for your firm. One important, and often overlooked, criterion is the quality of the Help Desk. Alternative investment firms rely heavily on technology, but no technology is completely infallible. In the event of an unexpected issue, having a knowledgeable, experienced Help Desk at your fingertips is essential.

So, what makes an exceptional Help Desk?

In this series, we will look at both the personnel and technology aspects of a great Help Desk and provide guidelines for what to look for when selecting a Help Desk provider for your firm. Let’s first discuss the human factors that are common among the most effective Help Desk teams.

Dedicated Expert Teams

The best Help Desks are those on which analysts are 100% employed by the IT service provider. This approach means that the help desk analysts are focused solely on servicing the products provided by their company, thus allowing them to become experts on those systems. They are also much more likely to be experienced in resolving any issues that your firm may experience. When a challenge with your firm’s technology arises, having dedicated help desk analysts ensures a rapid and efficient resolution.

Centralized Help Desk Personnel

Help Desk employees should be centralized to ensure that clients in all regions have access to the highest quality service regardless of the day or time. It is not uncommon for an IT firm to have decentralized help desks focused on specific geographic regions. The challenge with this approach is that resources often get stretched during peak call times resulting in long hold times. This also means that help desk analysts have a limited number of colleagues to tap if they cannot answer a question.

With a centralized help desk, response time increases and more escalation paths are available to help speed problem resolution. Eze Castle Integration, for example, has a centralized help desk in New York City that takes calls 24x7x365 and then works with local engineers to respond to on-site needs.

Knowledge Sharing

A Help Desk is only effective if its team members are highly knowledgeable and experienced in the range of issues that may arise. The best Help Desk teams receive regular training to stay constantly abreast of all product updates and changes. Also, since each individual analyst will not likely experience every type of issue, knowledge sharing between team members is extremely important to ensure that all analysts have knowledge to draw upon when serving customers.

When evaluating a help desk, look for one that has an open floor layout, so that all team members can easily communicate with one another throughout the day. There should also be a knowledge sharing platform, such as an internal Wiki, where analysts can share troubleshooting tips with other engineers across all regions. Finally, the company should invest in training the help desk analysts and keeping their certifications current.

Personal Touch

Having a knowledgeable Help Desk team is crucial, but the most effective teams deliver top quality service with a personal touch. Analysts should recognize that a technology issue is very important to your firm and should carefully see your problem through to resolution. They should also take the time to follow up with you to ensure that the problem has been resolved and no further issues have occurred. Be sure to inquire about the firm’s method for quality control.

Feedback Mechanism

After the Help Desk has rendered its services, a client should have the ability to provide feedback on both the analyst and services provided. A user-friendly feedback mechanism (such as a “How am I doing?” link in the analyst’s email signature) is one option that makes giving feedback quick and easy for the client and helps the Help Desk constantly enhance its services.

Additionally, the best Help Desks have an efficient internal system in place for monitoring client feedback, so that great service can be rewarded and problems can be prevented from recurring in the future. Be sure to ask your potential help desk provider how they measure client satisfaction.

Be sure to read part 2 on the technological aspects of an exceptional Help Desk

Need a Help Desk?
Eze Castle Integration’s a round-the-clock Help Desk staffed 24x7x365 with fully trained engineers based in New York City who are extremely knowledgeable and well-versed in handling any unexpected issue or general support question that a firm may encounter. For more information on Eze Castle Help Desk services, please contact us.

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