5 ways to lighten your helpdesk's workload

One company evaluated almost 730,000 help desk requests and discovered the five most common reasons employees submitted help desk tickets.

helpdesk statistics

Ways to lighten your helpdesk's workload

IT help desk tickets can quickly get repetitive with employees needing assistance with the same list of problems day in and day out. But as businesses grow more reliant on technology, the IT department has become a major player in modern business, which means you might need to consider how much time is wasted on troubleshooting these minor IT gripes.

"It is critical for IT departments to have the bandwidth to focus on expanding company capabilities and strengthening security vs. being tied up with routine, repeatable and avoidable issues. The burden of balancing company innovation and maintaining data security typically falls squarely on the IT department, leaving little time for unnecessary requests," says Nanci Churchill, chief operations officer for Mobi.

IT departments face more complex ecosystems at work. Employees are no longer tethered to desktop computers, they now have notebooks, tablets and mobile phones. By automating certain tasks, or empowering employees with the knowledge to fix problems themselves, you can free up your valuable IT workers to focus on more strategic projects.

Email setup

Email setup

Mobi ran statistics on its own help desk system and found that requests to set up email emerged as the number one IT request -- representing 12 percent of all help desk requests in the company. Mobi found it takes 12 minutes per user for email setup, which means that with 1,000 employees, the help desk spent 200 hours per year on this one task.

Chris Hamilton, senior director of Product Management at Oracle Service Cloud, says that creating a self-service environment for employees to set up their email can help alleviate some of this burden. And he feels employees actually want to troubleshoot and set up accounts on their own rather than bugging IT.

"When these issues can be handled in a self-service environment, it's a win-win for everyone: The employee can find their answer quickly and effectively and it can eliminate the need for an assisted interaction, saving the organization time and money," he says.

Activating mobile devices

Activating mobile devices

Workers are more mobile than ever before -- but that means most of them have multiple devices that need to be set up and managed by the IT department. One of the biggest offenders, according to Churchill, is the need to activate new mobile devices, which represented 10 percent of their help desk requests at Mobi.

But activating devices is more than just turning them on. Oftentimes employees need assistance activating SIM cards, verifying device ID numbers and ensuring the phone is equipped with data and voice. Mobi found that each device activation took about 48 minutes, which adds up to an average of 208 hours per year.

Churchill also suggests developing literature around mobile activation per carrier and device, so that the majority of employees can get the job done themselves. "For example, when an employee receives phone activation instructions the same day their device is delivered, they are much more likely to self-activate it than call the help desk," she says.

Questions on company policies

Questions on company policies

Churchill says that at Mobi, one of the third biggest drains on IT support came from repetitive questions on company policies from employees. In fact, after analyzing their help desk data, they determined that the help desk representatives spent an average of 7,363 minutes per year just answering questions around mobile policies alone.

According to Churchill, there is a simple fix -- businesses need to take the time to establish solid guidelines around mobile policies that will answer the most commonly asked employee questions and educate workers during onboarding. It's also about holding employees accountable to self-educate themselves around their company's policies.

But Churchill does note that employees are typically not interested in finding handbooks or instructions, when they can just shoot off a quick email instead. Present them with the most vital information in your mobile policies, such as which apps they can or can't download, or what the company's policies are about accessing corporate data on personal devices. Keep it to information that is only relevant to those employees -- rather than a broad, general overview, she says.

Hamilton suggests going as far as to "interview" workers on the most vital information in your company policies, whether digitally or in-person. "When interviews are coupled with integrations to systems controlling access to IT resources such as hardware and software, these types of policy-based interviews can be automated to help ensure compliance," he says.

App support on work devices

App support on work devices

Churchill says Mobi has a constant influx of requests coming through the help desk around app downloads and issues with mobile applications. And she only expects these types of requests to increase as enterprise apps grow in popularity, citing a Gartner study that predicts demand for mobile app development services will grow five times faster than IT organizations will be able to keep up by the end of 2017.

"The convergence of desktop computing with mobility makes aligning business goals with IT resources to meet workforce requirements crucial for companies. As the facets of mobility expand and diversify, it becomes more crucial for IT departments to leverage resources and platforms to centralize, comprehend and control company environments," says Churchill.

5 getting locked out

Getting locked out

Nearly everyone knows what it is like to get locked out of their own device or personal account, and requests for a password reset represented five percent of all help desk request at Mobi. Help desk representatives spend an average of 104 hours per year just helping employees reset passwords, she says. Businesses can opt to allow employees to change their own passwords using a recovery link, or at least automate most of the steps to eliminate some of the back and forth between the employee and the help desk representative.

As Hamilton points out, a good percentage of your workforce may be mobile, which means IT can't just head up to that person's desk to reset their password or troubleshoot a log-in error. It also means that IT departments should create a way for employees to reset passwords, even if they aren't connected to the corporate network.

"There's nothing more frustrating than being locked out of an account when traveling only to find out that you have to connect to the corporate network in order to be re-instated. Providing this capability in an automated, self-service environment can save IT time and keep employees happy," he says.