Describe your relationship and expectations of the Service Desk (Help Desk)

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I'm new. The questions I've seen so far are all very techie. So I'd like to ask the opinion of the techies and their management. Tell me about your relationship and expectations of the Service Desk (Help Desk). I would like to get a sampling of the current state of support processes and understand common challenges. I very much appreciate your time. Tracy

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Which helpdesk are you referring to? The controlled situation at work? Specific product help desk? This site?

What people expect of any help desk? They expect a assistance to resolve a specific problem. Which could be anything from a network password reset, recovering lost data, all the way to a non functioning computer..

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  • Bobkberg
    Ah! Another nice person has provided me with a soapbox. Thanks Sassafras! Seriously though.... Help Desks (as ve3ofa pointed out) range widely, so I'll assume that you're referring to the typical first level support found in many organizations. My relationship with them is two-fold. First - despite complaints about their lack of knowledge and creativity ("Have you tried rebooting yet?"), they serve a valuable function. Many times - as hackneyed as the expression sounds, sometimes rebooting DOES solve the problem, as do other seemingly "obvious fixes" that may not indicate serious capability on their part. Additionally, they also do the initial legwork and paperless work (opening trouble tickets), and so free me up to spend my time on more complex issues. Also, they take a lot of the initial anger and frustration of the end user, try to calm troubled waters, and find them the right person to deal with. So - bottom line - I treat them with respect, regardless of my personal opinion of each individual's abilities, and work to maintain a good working relationship with them. Which brings me to my second point... It does no good at all to complain about the help desk staff's lack of expertise if you don't take the time to provide them feedback (in a helpful way) so that they know how to better handle the next call of that nature. This is how you build both a community, and individual growth paths. In some cases, I'll put together a "Lunch and Learn" brown bag session (No, I'm not buying) to cover issues that seem to arise frequently, to better educate them. Often what happens in such events is that I learn something that they've figured out on their own - and they've shielded me from even having to deal with it. It's a two-way street. As to your question about expectations, state of support processes, and common challenges, here goes... I expect that the helpdesk folks will make an honest effort to figure out the caller's problem, and for a tough one, they will consult with their colleagues. I'm often disappointed. Partly because not everyone shares my sense of curiousity and excitement at a challenge, and partly because they've been told to follow a set of scripts and NOT deviate from it or they are in trouble. Talk about killing initiative!!!! But in some organizations, they can't afford to be playing guessing games - although this moves more into the Tech Support business (Dell, Microsoft, TI, HP, etc.) than the usual helpdesk, and so their responses have been engineered carefully to fit the vast majority of common calls. Probably the biggest challenge is how to grow the helpdesk from a technical standpoint as a group. Overall, help desks provide a limited level of technical support, and so attract as hire-in staff, people with a limited interest in technical problems. As a result, you tend to get a group of people who are more "people" or "behavior" oriented than technical. This is a difficult group to move ahead technically. Typically, their responses are scripted to make sure that they meet certain minimum standards, and they are usually not free to suggest other things, since that 1) might not be correct and 2) it skews the impression of the help desk from the outside (customers/users) that not all agents are created equal. As a complete aside though, if you search the archives, you'll find a lot of discussion on issues of college vs. trade school, how to figure out and follow career paths, and how to manage, evaluate, and deal with relationships (professional, that is) and careers, tradeoffs and other not-directly technical subjects. AND those subject often draw a far wider response than your posting does. (2,362 recipients). The wider ones typically range around 10,000 people. If you're curious about people's opinions of things like this, I'd suggest that you cast your net far wider than you have (strictly judging on the recipient count - I'm not criticizing you). I hope all of that helps you, Bob
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