Top 10 Features of an Optimized IT Help Desk

Designed to review, troubleshoot and resolve IT issues in a timely manner, an optimized help desk provides integrated ticketing, knowledgeable technicians, toolkit access, remote monitoring, and much more.

Mar 05, 2021 | 6 min read

vector graphic of woman in headset surrounded by laptops and icons of people she is providing tech support to

If you’re seeking to replace your outsourced help desk solution, or want to augment your IT team so they can focus on strategic initiatives, it’s critical to partner with a managed services provider (MSP) that delivers an exceptional end-user experience.

An MSP boasting experienced technicians with advanced certifications and training will resolve issues efficiently—saving you time, money, and resources

Here’s a useful rundown of 10 key characteristics to consider when choosing an optimized help desk services provider. 


1. Customer Service

It’s important to work with an MSP that understands your business and is just as invested in its success as you are. A trusted help desk partner serves as an extension of your organization with the primary intention of delivering exceptional customer service centered around the end-user experience. When qualifying your MSP partner, it’s best to obtain a thorough understanding of their customer service acumen and how they will interact with your valued employees.

Quickly addressing a host of issues—from managing expectations to troubleshooting—provides your organization with consistent engagement for your end users. Trusting your staff to an outsourced firm can feel daunting, but the right partner can provide access to, and engagement with a deeper bench of technical support from professionals who are also highly skilled in customer service.

If you’re seeking to replace your outsourced help desk solution, or want to augment your IT team so they can focus on strategic initiatives, it’s critical to partner with a managed services provider (MSP) that delivers an exceptional end-user experience.


2. Efficient Processes


Establishing clear processes and procedures is imperative to any optimized help desk. This translates into a consistent and detailed framework for essential functions such as data and end-user documentation, communications, and ticket prioritization, among others.

Defining, learning and documenting your workflows help align and streamline efforts, facilitating job sharing among multiple technicians with minimal confusion. Such measures can also reduce or eliminate recurring problems most often responsible for compromising help desk productivity. The result? Improved knowledge of end-user needs, creating a better experience for you and your employees.


3. High Resolution Rates

Minimizing excessive and unnecessary escalations, even in a single area, can improve initial ticket resolutions. Factors that are critical to achieve this level of improvement include increased knowledge base, organized and accessible documentation, technical collaboration, clearly defined ticket workflows, and proactive monitoring.

Implementing more effective processes, updating critical information, and executing an impactful escalation strategy maximizes resources and improves response capabilities  for actual emergencies demanding swift and powerful remediation.

It’s important to understand that outdated or ineffective technology, tools, communication channels, and guidelines all contribute to frequent ticket escalation.

While every ticket is important and will be treated as so by experienced help desk technicians, there are instances in which a customer has a problem that might take higher priority and needs to be addressed immediately. 

Detailed ticket note-taking and documentation can also provide critical insight should the customer have a new or similar issue at a later date. 

Working with an MSP who has an effective help desk management tool and knowledge base ensures tickets are handled correctly the first time


4. Communication Protocols

A truly optimized help desk has little chance of succeeding without clear and consistent communication among all parties. If technicians are unable to keep up with incoming tickets and handle repetitive calls, productivity will be hampered on all fronts.

A help desk provider with a dependable and knowledgeable team specializing in the seamless integration of workflows and strategic procedures will enhance efficiencies, streamline processes, and maximize results. 


5. Patience

There are a variety of reasons why certain situations can quickly escalate out of control. In these moments, an experienced help desk provider acts with professionalism and exudes a calming presence to achieve a timely and thoughtful resolution, no matter the circumstances. 

It’s best to find a company with a proven track record of remediation processes, an unparalleled knowledge base, and consistent follow-up to get customers up and running with few disruptions. 


6. Automation & Proactive Awareness

Clear, concise communication is a vital characteristic of an optimized help desk. This extends to reports, notes, and any other piece of customer-related information or documentation.

According to a 2018 commissioned analysis by global market research firm Forrester: “Proactive monitoring leads to fewer systems experiencing issues or crashes, leading to a 20% reduction in the number of tickets.”

This can be a substantial time-saver that prevents repetition should the ticket be handed off or escalated to a higher-tiered technician. 


7. Managing Expectations & Goals

Understanding customer expectations is another function of an optimized help desk. This includes managing and monitoring day-to-day issues and business improvement processes so organizations can focus on strategic initiatives and other special projects.  

Additionally, clear guidelines in service level agreements (SLAs) are an important tool for enhancing communication and setting expectations.


8. Reasonable Response Times

If the customer’s ROI is tied to specific metrics, it’s best to also outline this in their respective SLA. These could include initial request responses, reply wait times, communication levels, escalation (if required), and final resolution.

These are dependent on several factors such as ticket volumes, end-user organization and size, issue type and management support, among others. 

An optimized help desk that features tracking software to record metrics for research and best practices can help ensure customers are receiving the highest support levels possible.


9. Integrated Applications

An integrated help desk serves as a central command center for all IT operations and services, managing all processes from a well-established toolkit of industry-proven products. This boosts efficiencies and scalability, while also saving time and money for the MSP and its customers. 

Integration can also set the stage for increased communication and data sharing among multiple applications, leading to fewer redundancies, added flexibility, and the capacity to leverage real-time data.

For technicians, perhaps the most convenient advantage of an integrated help desk is  the ability to automate data, execute tasks, and access required data and systems as necessary. Reporting and dashboard access provides the client with direct line of sight to their own metrics and KPIs, while also allowing for the MSP and their client to have strategic discussions about how to continually improve service levels. This also provides an opportunity through data analytics to discover what implemented measures have been successful, all resulting in saving time that would otherwise be spent on additional team coordination and other manual tasks.


10. Knowledgeable Technicians

While it’s imperative to work with a help desk provider employing the latest technology products and services, technicians utilizing these tools should also be knowledgeable and ahead of the curve. This minimizes turnover of consistent, trusted industry professionals who understand both your business and IT needs. 

Many help desk technicians also choose to further their continuing education through certifications and other internal programs. While automation, workflows, and applications are necessary components of an optimized help desk solution, services—and the people tasked to ensure successful delivery—are at the core. Having skilled and knowledgeable staff with industry experience and acumen is critical to a successful help desk model. 

With that in mind, it’s also recommended to understand how your MSP partner handles career and skill development—both of which are critical components to staff retention and customer experience. 


We're Here to Help

When working with LincolnIT, you’ll have 365/24/7 access to our national help desk, providing the highest caliber of managed services, communication processes, support, and guidance. 

Staffed by seasoned IT professionals, we are ‘Tech-Driven. People-Focused.’ We take the time to learn, understand, and evaluate all of your business processes through our three-pillar model built on ‘People, Process and Products.’ This established approach includes delivering outstanding customer service in alignment with your business goals through our advanced toolkit and third-party alliance partnerships, while also ensuring the highest communication levels when it comes to integrating, servicing, and managing your organization’s moving parts. 


LincolnIT provides customized or a la carte technologically advanced help desk services for businesses of all industries and sizes through our ITCare brand. Contact us for more information, or to request a proposal. 

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