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Help Desk support staff differs for a technical support desk and a help desk for customer service. The technical support desk faces special additional technical challenges.

In the hiring process, most managers look for a high degree of technical aptitude. While a technical understanding is essential in delivering support to users, also important is the ability to communicate and empathize with the customer’s situation.

Surveys have found that while managers might perceive the most sophisticated tech support rep as being the most valued by the customer, surveys find that IT support professionals who possess the highest level of empathy tend to win highest evaluations from customers. Their empathy drives them to find an answer and explanation for the customer and to focus on customer satisfaction. Technical aptitude alone will not ensure success as a tech rep. Aptitude and help desk training in both technical and specialized customer contact skills are requisites for a successful tech support desk.

These are some of the unique issues facing technical support. Whether dealing with internal customers, or external, the technical help desk needs a high level of people savvy, technical knowledge, and diplomacy.

The temptation in scheduling training for help desks, especially technical help desks, is to place all emphasis on technical skills and either ignore training in customer contact skills. However, the skill in which the help desk agents communicate with customers determines the customer satisfaction rating of the interaction, and directly impacts the customer friendly reputation of the help desk.

Help Desk Training must include a focus on customer service skills. Without these skills, calls will take longer, help desk professionals will experience more stress and burn out, and the frustrated customer will take much longer to hear the solution to the problem and feel less satisfied by the interaction.

The technical helpdesk staff needed some guidelines for politely, but clearly communicating what they could provide, while still pleasing the customer. This can be accomplished during a help desk training seminar. Help desk training in customer service helps technical professionals demonstrate their technical skills by using excellent customer contact skills.

Free Help Desk Software

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Many website owners might not be aware that many hosting accounts includes Free Help Desk Software.

 

The popular Unix cPanel hosting includes Fantastico De Luxe Services. There are 30+ free help desk software scripts available. These scripts can be installed in seconds with just a few clicks.

 

Below a summary of Free Help Desk Software Scripts available with most cPanel based hosting. We will discuss the pros and cons of each of these in the weeks to come.

 

Crafty Syntax Live Help support.

A Live Help chat system featuring monitor your visitors, proactively open a chat session, multiple chat sessions, referrer tracking, page view tracking, multiple operators, canned responses/images/URLs, multiple departments each with different icons, leave a message.

 

Help Center Live support

Very powerful all-in-one help center including Live Help, Support Tickets and FAQ. Features include unlimited operators/departments, monitor visitors, initiate chat, collect visitor’s information, track visitor’s footprint, auto save chat transcripts, canned messages, leave a message, auto-assign tickets to operators, unlimited FAQ topics.

 

osTicket support

A Support Tickets system featuring email piping, pop3 login, unlimited email addresses, admin/staff/user panels, avoid auto-responder loops, limit maximum tickets user can have opened, accept attachments and limit size, pager alerts for admin.

 

PerlDesk support

PerlDesk is a feature packed browser based help desk and email management application designed to streamline the operation of managing emails, support tickets and customer communications, with built in tracking and response logging it is an ideal free help desk solution for companies with one or more members of staff or for those who want to organize client communications.

 

PHP Support Tickets support

A simple, one-admin Support Tickets system featuring self-registering, emailing to admin, attachments.

 

Support Logic Helpdesk support

A Support Tickets system featuring multiple email addresses, admin/staff/user panels, canned responses, HTML tags support, email limit on a per user/day basis, attachments.

 

Fred Lotgering

LotCon Biz Solutions

 

What is a Help Desk

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A help desk is an information and assistance resource that troubleshoots problems with a product or products. There are many “Help Desks” products and services available. Corporations often provide help desk support to their customers in various ways.

 

Help can be given:

1. via a toll-free number (often through a call center)

2. via e-mail.

3. via website through a static FAQ (Frequent Asked Questions) system

4. via website through submitting written questions

5. via website through live chat system

6. via website through live voices and video messaging or conference system

 

There are also “in-house help desks” geared toward providing the same kind of help for employees only using intranet.

A typical help desk has several functions. It provides the users a central point to receive help on various issues. The help desk typically manages its requests via help desk software and includes a tracking system which allows users (often customers) and helpers (employed by the help desk) to track requests and replies with a unique tracking ticket number.

The help desk software can often be an extremely beneficial tool when used to find, analyze, and eliminate common problems in an organization’s products usage, both internally and/or externally..

The user notifies the help desk of his or her issue, and the help desk issues a ticket that has details of the problem. The user gets information on how to login and to access the ticket issued. If the first level support technician is able to solve the issue, the ticket is closed and updated with documentation of the solution to allow other help desk technicians to reference in the future. If the issue needs to be escalated, it will be updated, noting what was attempted by the technician and will be forwarded to the second level support.

There are many software applications available to support the help desk function. Some are targeting enterprise level help desk (rather large) and some are targeting departmental needs. Some are for small companies or even for personal business. There are even several free applications available. These we will address in the near future!

Large help desks have different levels to handle different types of questions. The first-level help desk is prepared to answer the most commonly asked questions, or provide resolutions that often belong in an FAQ or knowledge base. Typically, an incident tracking system has been implemented that allows a logging process to take place at the onset of a call. If the issue isn’t resolved at the first-level, the ticket is escalated to a second, higher, level that has the necessary resources to handle more difficult calls. Three escalation levels are commonly used.

 

Larger help desks have a person or team responsible for managing the tickets.  Typically, larger help desks have several teams that are experienced in working on different issues. Tickets can be assigned to one of the specialized teams based on the type of issue.

Many help desks tickets are elevated in priority on time. If no proper answer or solution has been made after a certain set time, the priority is elevated and more experienced helpers are getting involved.

Fred Lotgering

LotCon Biz Solutions

http:/www.24x7helpdesk.com