by CIO Staff

BY THE NUMBERS -Help for the Help Desk

Jul 15, 20052 mins
IT Leadership

Those folks on the help desk sure are nice, but they’re not always, well, helpful. A recent study by Forrester Research found that while users are happy with their PC, e-mail and office productivity software, they’re less satisfied with their help desk and internal communications from IT.

Close to half (48 percent) of the 2,138 technology users surveyed said they’re “on the fence” or dissatisfied with help desk support and services at their companies. Users are most unhappy with the timeliness of updates regarding their issues, with 51 percent of respondents reporting they aren’t completely satisfied. That could spell trouble for CIOs because, for many users, their help desk experience may be the only interaction they have with IT.

While the help desk staff is viewed as courteous, their expertise and ability to resolve requests in an appropriate time frame are questionable in the eyes of end users. Meredith Morris, a consulting analyst with Forrester Research, believes that the poor marks for expertise may pertain to the help desk’s knowledge of specific business unit applications, processes and needs, in addition to overall technical knowledge. Among survey respondents who use custom-developed software, only 42 percent said they get adequate training.

The study concludes that because user satisfaction is a prevalent measure of the IT department’s value and success, improving both internal SLAs and the perception of IT support must be a priority for CIOs.

Best Practices

1] Keep users in the loop. Head off frustration by communicating the status of users’ issues or call tickets and providing estimates of the time it will take to resolve each problem.

2] Check in with users. Conduct periodic user satisfaction surveys. Meredith Morris, an analyst with Forrester Research, suggests checking in with users after call ticket or issue resolution, or after a project that the help desk staff was involved with, such as PC deployment or application upgrades.

3] Talk IT up. Build confidence in IT by promoting the status of projects, milestones and success stories more frequently.

Describe your level of satisfaction with your company’s IT help desk in the following areas?

  Satisfied Dissatisfied On the fence
Courtesy 76% 1% 22%
Availability 55% 6% 38%
Expertise of the help desk 53% 7% 41%
Timeliness of updates regarding your issue 49% 10% 41%
Ability to resolve requests in a timely manner 53% 7% 40%
Ability to resolve requests the first time around 51% 8% 42%