How to Run an Effective Helpdesk


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  • 15
    Lessons
  • 25
    Exams &
    Assignments
  • 8
    Hours
    average time
  • 0.8
    CEUs
  • 293
    Students
    have taken this course
 
 
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Course Description

A Help Desk is usually not a profit-generating department within a company.  It is, for many organizations, a necessary expense, but it can add a significant amount of value to a company in a variety of ways.  In order for your Help Desk to add this value, it must be established with the proper mission, it must offer the right set of services, and it must achieve its objectives. 

In order to run an effective Help Desk, you must know, in advance, what services you are going to perform, you must know how to prioritize issues, and you must create realistic expectations.  All successful companies start off with a business plan, and the same rule applies to Help Desks. If your Help Desk is focused and has a clear understanding of your business, it will add a significant amount of value to the company in the form of increased productivity and customer retention.

In this course, we will cover all the topics necessary to run your Help Desk, including drafting a plan, determining which services to offer, when to outsource, how to measure performance, how to effectively deal with senior management, which tools will aid you, and how to ensure that your customers are receiving value.

Support from Senior Management

As any project manager knows, the first rule of any successful project is to earn the support of a sponsor. In this case, the senior management of an organization would be the sponsors of starting any major endeavor, including the establishment of a Help Desk. Since Help Desks are usually an expense of the company, getting senior management's support is crucial. More importantly, though, you must also clearly understand what senior management expects of you. You never want to be in a situation where you are, for example, offering unnecessary services - especially if the budget in your company is closely watched.

Senior management sets the agenda and objectives of a company. They know the needs of the business – including the need for support. A Help Desk's fundamental objective is to support the organization. When you are creating your plan for your Help Desk, managers' input will be vital to understanding what services you should include. 

If budgets are tight, for example, senior management might ask you to include as much automation as possible in your procedures.

The types of feedback you might receive from management will vary, depending on a variety of factors. You might, for example, be told that you can outsource any service that might be better performed by an outside company. In some organizations, outsourcing might be strictly prohibited. Similarly, some automation might be called for by some companies, whereas others might want to emphasize more human intervention. You will take direction from management for all of these types of decisions.

Other Information Technology (IT) Groups

In addition to management, you will also be working closely with other Information Technology (IT) departments within your company.They can be a source of help in many instances, and in others they can be challenging. 

Your Help Desk will share many things in common with other IT groups. For one thing, you are both responsible for keeping technology products functioning correctly. But, the most prevalent causes of conflict with other IT groups usually deal with levels of responsibility. The IT department might, for example, claim that certain duties or services are their responsibility, and they will request that you stop offering certain services. Alternatively, they might also try to push undesirable duties off on the Help Desk, when they do not want to be bothered with them. An effective Help Desk's plan will clearly outline its level of services to avoid such conflicts. 

The proper division of duties will sometimes take a good deal of time to become clear, and this is especially the case in companies that use evolving technology. Products change over time, and so will your Help Desk's level of responsibility and your types of services. You do not have to wait until this division of duties is crystal clear before opening your Help Desk's services to customers. The most important objective to remember in these early stages of your Help Desk's development is to never let any support calls go untended. Never let any issue be ignored. 
While other IT groups might sometimes be a source of frustration for you, it's important to note that not all Help Desks deal exclusively with technology. A Help Desk's primary objective is to support a company, but this can be in a number of different ways. A Help Desk in a clothing manufacturing company might not offer any technological help at all; their services might be completely related to clothing and customer service matters.

Your Mission

A mission statement outlines your purpose, whether it is a mission statement for the entire company, a department, or your Help Desk. For Help Desks, a mission statement helps develop a strategy for dealing with customers. Some characteristics of a mission statement are: It must be believable, achievable, and recognizable.

It must be believable, because you want to inspire trust among your employees. It must be achievable, since an unachievable goal will only lead to feelings of failure. Finally, it must be recognizable – you must be able to recognize whether you have fulfilled your Help Desk's mission after you have processed a support request.

Your Services

The services that your Help Desk provides are determined by many factors, most notably your budget and your company's needs.

If you offer too many services, you risk breaking your budget and, more to the point, you risk failure in delivering quality service. Do not offer an overly broad range of services; work with management to determine the right level of service. The services you offer must be: manageable, supportive of the business, and well understood.

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Course Lessons

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Lesson 1: Establishing a Help Desk

In order for your Help Desk to add value, it must be established with the proper mission, it must offer the right services, and it must achieve its objectives. We will start with these fundamentals. 16 Total Points
  • Complete Assignment: An Introduction
  • Complete: Lesson 1 Assignment: Why is a Help Desk Good for Your Company?
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 1: Establishing a Help Desk

Lesson 2: Building Your Customer Profile

In this lesson, we will focus exclusively on one ingredient in all business plans: a customer profile. 20 Total Points
  • Review 2 Articles: What is a customer profile; Tips to create a customer profile
  • Complete: Lesson 2 Assignment: Create a Customer Profile
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 2: Building Your Customer Profile

Lesson 3: Help Desk Organization

The organization of your Help Desk is another aspect of the planning process. Your organization, or structure, will depend on your mission, objectives, and types of services. 10 Total Points
  • Review Article: How to Set Up a Customer Service Division in a Company
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 3: Help Desk Organization

Lesson 4: Staffing Needs

In this lesson, we will discuss staffing in more detail, including the different types of employees you will need, the skills they need to possess, how to plan for employee departures, and the proper training required for your staff. 10 Total Points
  • Review Article: Establishing support staff
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 4: Staffing Needs

Lesson 5: Issue Management: Establishing Priority and Severity of Issues

When a customer calls the Help Desk, it usually means they are not able to perform their job to the fullest extent or, in some cases, not at all. There are varying degrees of importance for each call. You cannot use "first come, first served." 20 Total Points
  • Review Article: Opinion Article: Issue Priority and Severity
  • Complete: Lesson 5 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 5: Issue Management: Establishing Priority and Severity of Issues

Lesson 6: Issue Management: Procedures

In this lesson, we will focus on procedures, their importance, and how to create them. 20 Total Points
  • Review Article: How to Resolve Customer Service Problems
  • Complete: Lesson 6 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 6: Issue Management: Procedures

Lesson 7: Logging Support Calls

Every time a support calls comes into a Help Desk, that call must be logged and tracked. The call, itself, must be logged, but the issue's status and progress must also be tracked throughout the entire life cycle of the issue. 9 Total Points
  • Review 2 Articles: Call Logger Devices; Keep a log of telephone support calls to pinpoint how your time is spent
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 7: Logging Support Calls

Lesson 8: Help Desk Tools: Forums, Collaboration, and Communication

In the daily operations of your Help Desk, you will use many tools. In the next two lessons, we will devote time to discussing which tools to use, why they are used, and how to use them effectively. 10 Total Points
  • Review Article: The Help Desk Frequently Asked Questions Site
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 8: Help Desk Tools: Forums, Collaboration, and Communication

Lesson 9: Help Desk Tools: Problem Resolution and Help Desk Management

Many of the tools used by a Help Desk involve problem resolution and Help Desk Management. Examples for problem solving include knowledge bases, expert systems, and diagnostic software. 35 Total Points
  • Review 2 Articles: Open Source Help Desk List; A Comprehensive Guide to Help Desk Software Solutions
  • Complete: Lesson 9 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 9: Help Desk Tools: Problem Resolution and Help Desk Management

Lesson 10: Your Help Desk and the Internet

There are varying degrees of opinion on both the Internet's usefulness in business and its impact on our daily lives. But, one thing is a fact: It is an incredible, vast array of information, available to Help Desks worldwide. 10 Total Points
  • Review Article: How to Create Your Own HelpDesk
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 10: Your Help Desk and the Internet

Lesson 11: Establishing Your Help Desk's Online Presence

Your Help Desk has a choice about its online presence: You can have an Intranet site, which is typically only accessible by people within your own company, or you can have an Internet site, which is accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. 35 Total Points
  • Complete: Lesson 11 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 11: Establishing Your Help Desk’s Online Presence

Lesson 12: Help Desk Metrics

If you are a member of a Help Desk, and especially if you are managing one, you must keep a close watch on performance. This course gives you the details on how to run an effective Help Desk, but how will you know if you are effective? 35 Total Points
  • Complete: Lesson 12 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 12: Help Desk Metrics

Lesson 13: Marketing Your Help Desk

Although many Help Desks operate as part of a much larger company, or within a company, your Help Desk should be considered a business: You have products and services, and you have customers who need them. Management is not going to automatically fund you. 10 Total Points
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 13: Marketing Your Help Desk

Lesson 14: Return on Investment and Value

As we have learned in previous lessons, senior management will be involved in many aspects of your Help Desk, and the budget is the one area where you are likely to see the most input. 35 Total Points
  • Complete: Lesson 14 Assignment
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 14: Return on Investment and Value

Lesson 15: When to Outsource Work

Most Help Desks have two distinct perspectives about outsourcing work: It is either a great idea that will ultimately save money for the company, or it is a ridiculous idea that will only add expense and overhead to a company. 83 Total Points
  • Take Poll: Let us know what you think of this course
  • Take Survey: Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course)
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 15: When to Outsource Work
  • Complete: The Final Exam
358
Total Course Points
 

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Describe the processes establishing a help desk.
  • Demonstrate building your customer profile.
  • Describe help desk organization and staffing needs
  • Establish priority and determine the severity of issues.
  • Demonstrate management issue procedures.
  • Demonstrate the process of logging support calls.
  • Know available help desk tools and how to put them to work.
  • Describe your help desk and the internet.
  • Recognize, implement, and review help desk metrics.
  • Describe marketing your help desk and calculating the return on investment and value.
  • Determine when to outsource work, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.
 

Additional Course Information

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Course Title: How to Run an Effective Helpdesk
Course Number: 8900088
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Category:
Course Type: How To (Self-Paced, Online Class)
CEU Value: 0.8 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Instructor: UniversalClass Staff Instructors
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Duration: Continuous: Enroll anytime!
Course Fee: $50.00 (no CEU Certification) || with Online CEU Certification: $75.00

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