Category Archives: Help Desk

Help Desk Basics: How Effective Is Your Help Desk, Really?

An Effective Help Desk

Before you can determine how effective your help desk is, you need to determine what your help desk does. What would you say your help desk’s most important purpose is?

I’ve had the opportunity to work on many different help desks of many different sizes. I’ve found, almost in every case, help desk technicians are unable to answer the basic question of why they work for the company. Some will say “We fix PCs!” or “We answer phones!”

Those may be good examples of their duties, but they do not directly answer why they have a job.

For internal IT help desks, the answer is simple, but rarely communicated or discussed:

The role of all help desk employees is to reduce employee downtime and maximize employee financial productivity.

If you or your team do not have a clear understanding of your primary goal, you may be working on solving problems that do not impact your core objectives. You will also never be able to truly determine how effective your help desk is.

Many metrics are available to help desk managers and employees, including Average Talk Time, Call Abandon Rates, First Level Resolution, Client Satisfaction Scores, etc. Out of all of your metrics, if “Financial Productivity” is your primary focus, this helps narrow down your key metrics to a smaller number.

I do want to state that all metrics are important to understand and measure, but decisions and directions should be primarily determined based on your key drivers. The # 1 most important metric when identifying effectiveness:

First Call Resolution 

How often does your help desk have the tools, knowledge, and access to resolve reported issues on the FIRST call, without delay or escalation? The only faster way to resolve an issue is by avoiding the issue altogether—a topic we will cover in a future blog post.

Do you agree?  Do you disagree?  I would love to hear from you!

By Steven White, Director of Customer Service, Managed Services

How to Build a Modern 24/7 Help Desk

Check out the infographic below to learn how GreenPages’ Help Desk helped a customer drastically improve service desk support while saving 30%. Learn how we can help you lower cost, reduce risk, and increase services efficiency. 

If you’d like to decrease time to resolution, measure service improvement, build a first-class knowledgebase, and leverage support communities, listen to this recent presentation from Jay Keating, SVP of Cloud and Managed Services, and Steven White, Director of Customer Service.

GreenPages Help Desk


By Jake Cryan, Digital Marketing Specialist

The Shifting Needs of Cloud-Era End Users

Help Desk Cloud

Click here to download our recent webinar:

How the Cloud Is Killing Traditional Help Desk

As we enter the cloud era, most people are focused on what, where, and why when it comes to cloud. They want to know; how do I architect it? How do I migrate to it? And how do I operate it? Once the transition is made, the question is then, how does it affect how I support my users? Also, what is the impact to my Help Desk team? Given a cloud framework, operations people need to be considered differently. Their positions were created to deal with issues IT already knew about. However, cloud changes the game. Since so much of the cloud is hidden, you can’t just refer to a guidebook to get some help, thus you do lose some sense of control. For example, if Office 365 rolls out a new update, when users connect it will look different because it updates automatically, and the users might not know what to do.

The issue is that today the traditional structured tiers of Help Desk aren’t the same. The old model won’t work anymore. In a traditional help desk model, Tier 1 handles the simpler questions while Tier 2 handles the more difficult, escalated challenges. But with the cloud, if the Help Desk cannot solve the issue, then they become the user and must open a ticket with the vendor or cloud provider, thus making coordination more difficult and less efficient.

That is not to say that transitioning to the cloud doesn’t have many perks and can greatly contribute to efficiency. But it’s crucial to plan for the impact that your company’s cloud strategy will have on your Help Desk and end user support.  There are a variety of variables that must be considered when moving to the cloud, including more training, re-architecting the way Help Desk is built, and turning it into a Help Hub. Help Desk is changing drastically: it is the hub for communications and you need to be able to provide that conduit to other, additional help avenues and take incident ownership to maximize your users’ productivity. During our recent webinar, How the Cloud Is Killing Traditional Help Desk, we dove deeper into this and provided you with the questions that should be asked and the solutions to common cloud-era Help Desk challenges.

Running Effective Help Desks: Focus on Financial Productivity

Many help desks focus on volume as a metric. How much volume do I have? How long does it take to get through it? How does that translate to headcount for the number of staff I need to handle the call volume? Those are important, but only half of the battle. The other half of the battle is how successful you are in resolving issues at the first level without escalating to the second level.

The reason the first call is so important:

  • Cheaper – fix with one resource instead of two
  • Time – focus should be on financial productivity. How do we get users up and running as quickly as possible?

Your overall key to success is establishing high first call resolutions and identifying opportunities to reduce or remove call volumes from the environment.


Watch on YouTube

Are you interested in learning more about GreenPages’ Help Desk services? Feel free to reach out!


Webinar Reminder: IT Help Desk for the Holidays

As a reminder, we’ll be hosting a webinar tomorrow morning at 11:00am ET! Jay Keating and Geoff Smith will be hosting a discussion on modern IT Help Desk approaches and how cloud platforms and a tech-savvy workforce have fundamentally changed the support game. Learn why your IT Help Desk can’t be an afterthought, and why it needs to be scientific and handled by professionals. Finally, discover how easy it is to leverage IT Help Desk services and why it’s the best present you can give this holiday season to your organization…and yourself.

Topics will include:

  • Market trends in Help Desk: Modern vs. Old School
  • Considerations for building your own IT Help Desk
  • How to significantly reduce ticket resolution time down to minutes.
  • Tailoring Help Desk to unique business needs and IT environments
  • How to support complex devices that require different authentication methods
  • Handling distributed appliances in private data centers needing VDI connections


Register now!


About Jay Keating, VP of Managed Services – Jay has 21 years of IT experience, with the past 16 years focused on Managed Services, and is currently responsible for GreenPages’ Managed Services organization. He has a strong data center and infrastructure operations background with substantial experience managing and optimizing 24×7 delivery organizations to execute with quality.

About Geoff Smith, Director, New Business Development, Managed Services – Geoff has more than 25 years of experience working in all verticals and markets, from the SMB to the enterprise, focusing on the application of IT solutions that enable businesses to achieve their goals. As a Director of New Business Development, Geoff is focused on the development of co-sourced and federated infrastructure operations, help desk, and cloud service frameworks designed to optimize IT operations and drive economic value to the business



Are Your Users Happy? Tips for Running a Successful IT Help Desk

What do you think of when you hear the term Help Desk?  Is it a room full of technicians with noise-cancelling headsets, logged into an IT Service Management (ITSM) system, talking with their hands and guzzling Red Bulls?  In your vision, do they appear haggard, glassy-eyed and stressed?  Do they participate in the corporate culture, or languish in that basement call center the rest of the company thinks is some super-secret laboratory?

That may seem a little outrageous, but consider this: Google and Bing searches on “help desk” don’t show a real human representative until almost 20 images in.  And even then, the images are stereotypical and generic.  So you have to ask yourself, is that how the rest of the organization sees your help desk team?  Are they relegated to anonymity?

Back when I started my career in the IT industry as a service technician in the 1980s, I was a pretty popular guy when I strolled in the door to solve someone’s computer issue.  I would come in with my bag of tools, some floppy disks, and my trusty degausser.  I was that guy who could perform the voodoo ritual that would breathe life back into their systems while they went off and filed something or made some sales calls, and, because what I did was largely a mystery to them, they were (generally) pleasant and patient.

{Register for Geoff’s upcoming webinar, “IT Help Desk for the Holidays: The Strategic Gift That Keeps on Giving”}

There is a new reality today, one born out of the following facts:

  1. Little productive work can be done without a functioning system today
  2. Users are more sophisticated with the basics of computer functionality
  3. Systems are more integrated and inter-dependent
  4. Remote support capabilities and call center technologies have matured greatly

These are not unique to IT; there are many parallels to other industries.  Are you more patient today when visiting the doctor, getting your car serviced, or when your Internet goes out?  Or do you find yourself self-diagnosing, visiting the forums, or fiddling with the cables first, and then when you do call or visit the specialist, you’re frustrated and impatient?

With these new realities, IT help desks have to mature to maintain value and provide good client satisfaction.  Our customer base is better educated, more dependent, and less patient than in the past.  However, we have new technologies to reduce wait times and improve resolution times and can leverage data and analytics to identify trends and predict usage demands. I’m actually hosting a webinar next week to go over strategies for reducing wait times and improving resolution times if you’re interested in learning more.

The development of help desk services has been traditionally based on user counts and request quantities: X amount of users placing Y amount of requests equals the number of people I need to staff my service with. But there are other factors that can complicate that seemingly simple calculation, such as the ebbs and flows of requests by time of day, day of the week or month of the year, usage spikes due to new platform and application roll outs, and the geographic dispersion of users to be supported.  Other factors include the types of requests and length of the typical resolution cycle, technologies being consumed, potential complications from BYOD and mobile workforce requirements, and the quality of support artifacts.  And that doesn’t even consider staff burn out, attrition, and career advancement impacts on delivery capabilities.

So, as the person responsible for the delivery of a seemingly basic, vanilla and anonymous service, how do you create something that is world-class, aligned to your specific business outcomes, and is the face of all IT support to a sophisticated, diverse and impatient workforce that needs to work anytime, from anywhere on any type of device?  Seems a pretty daunting challenge.  Here are some tactics you can use:

  • Consider starting at the end. What is the desired business outcome from your help desk service? Ask the question of the line of business owners, determine their individual needs, and correlate that into a prioritized list of requirements. Is speed-to-answer the most valuable? Or is it resolution time? How much can you rely on their users to self-service?
  • Think like a services provider, not as a member of the organization. If you had to craft a solution that provides a consistent and predictable outcome, but that can flex non-linearly as demand changes without impacting your SLAs, how would you do that? What challenges may impact your service delivery capability, and how can those be dealt with proactively?
  • Determine what information is critical in self-evaluation of your service delivery, and in demonstration of value. How would you share that with the rest of the organization, and how can that be leveraged for continual improvement? Your constituents should feel empowered to opine and provide feedback, but equally as important is how you assess yourself.
  • What can I achieve within the given budget? Do I have to downgrade service levels, or can I save money by utilizing lower cost resources and enabling them with better documentation and support artifacts? What are the trade-offs?
  • Think creatively. If I move some services to a provider, can I improve the overall experience by re-dedicating the internal team to more complex issue resolutions or provide a more robust, hands-on response? Will providing end user training based on issue type allocation reduce the help desk need and create a more sustainable service?

Above all else, set the proper expectations, be realistic, and don’t over-commit.  At the root of it, help desk is a human experience, and since all humans are bound to be imperfect, so will your help desk.  While the prevailing perspective may be that they are automatons toiling away in some deep dark lair, we know that they are the face of all we deliver to our constituents.

Interested in hearing more from Geoff on how to run a world-class help desk? Register for our December, 10th webinar!


By Geoff Smith, Senior Manager, Managed Services Business Development