Stages of Desktop Support

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Customer service can be a testy and egg-shell-related process. Ultimately, customers do not want to have to reach out to customer service representatives. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world free of mechanical and production issues. Inquiries happen, therefore, customer service representatives need to be available. These service methods also include desktop support.

When a customer has an issue with their computer or computer-related product, they reach out to the desktop support department. While silver tongues and expert knowledge are key factors of a great customer service or help desk agent, employee ability can only go so far. A practiced and perfected customer support process must be set in place for your business, especially in desktop support.

Nothing upsets a customer more than a problem with your product or service. Nothing exasperates the irk more than getting tossed around by a confused desktop support department. Your customer service department must maintain a working order. You need a collection of well-known and well-practiced stages for your agents to follow.

Setting up a support team for your business? Here are some tips to create a successful process.

Desktop Support and Help Desk: What’s the Difference?

Firstly, let’s knock the confusion out of the way. Desktop Support and Help Desk are similar concepts, especially regarding customer service, but they do differ.

The Help Desk acts as the first line of support for the customer service experience. When a consumer or client has an issue with their product, they will contact the Help Desk department. These agents take the time to understand the problem and push it to the correct department for troubleshooting. If the Help Desk agent can fix the general issue, they work to do so.

Basically, the Help Desk agent is a general customer service representative for your company’s products or services.

Desktop Support works as an extension of the Help Desk. In most cases, the Desktop Support department is a tier above the Help Desk. If someone contacts the Help Desk with a hardware-based issue that cannot be solved by the agent, they move it onto Desktop Support.

It’s a Matter of Product

To simplify this concept, let’s break down an example.

Say your company provides both computer hardware and software. If a customer contacts with an overall issue, they will reach the Help Desk. If they have a hardware problem and the Help Desk can’t fix it, they will send it to Desktop Support. Being as Desktop Support surrounds the majority of hardware problems, they may often work onsite. If the issue cannot be addressed remotely, they may have to travel to the destination or have the product sent to them to fix it.

The Desktop Support team may be the only necessary customer service department if a business only works in hardware or computer products, acting as a bit of the Help Desk, too. If a company only sells computers, then their Help Desk department would pretty much be a Desktop Support team.

It’s all a bit confusing, sure, but it largely depends on the company and its products.

In-House Is Possible

It’s important to note that a Desktop Support team may only work on in-house clients. The team may act as an overall Information Technology (IT) team for a company. The company may not sell hardware products, so customer relations would not be necessary for the Dekstop Support team. The team would work to solve hardware problems within the office building.

Even if the team only works in the office building, the process still remains the same.

What Is the Process?

While it is impossible to determine issues that may arise with a hardware product (though trends are eventually set), there should be a structural outline for the way things are handled. All cases and support tickets may be different and encapsulate an endless quantity of possibilities in the customer service world, but any structure is positive.

A troubleshooting department should have a stage-based process in place, even if just bare bones to keep things moving.

Looking for help creating an overall Help Desk process?

We broke that down here: Stages of IT Service Desk

What Happens Without a Process?

There’s something to be said about the importance of organization within all facets of life, especially dealing with emotions and solutions.

Let’s dip back into the note we added earlier. Nothing upsets a customer more than a problem with your product or service. Ever heard someone be elated about having to call customer service?

Didn’t think so.

Firstly, having an efficient and laid-out process allows the customer experience to be as smooth and fast as possible. When a customer has to call the Desktop Support department (or a Help Desk in general), they are already in a state of negativity (though the level may vary). To both increase and maintain a customer’s positivity towards your company, it’s crucial to help address their problem as quickly as possible. Get them off the phone and back to living.

Having a clear process increases efficiency, therefore lowering customer call times. This also increases the number of calls that can be answered within a day.

Secondly, having a structured process and hierarchy keeps customer information organized and maintained. For example, if a customer has to call a Desktop Support team for a product twice, having their information and incident already marked will lower the chances of irritation. Furthermore, transferring the customer to a higher tier should not involve the customer having to explain the entire issue again.

A process makes the service easier for the customer, helping keep their emotions towards the company positive.

Desktop Support Stages – How it Works

Still unclear about how the process should look and work? Let’s break down a universal example of the basic operations of a desktop support service desk.

Though this example may not involve specifics, it relays an overview of how the process should look. Specific tasks may vary depending on industry and product.

1. Ticket Arrives

Depending on the tiering process of your company, the ticket may arrive directly to the Desktop Support section or be pushed up by a Help Desk or Customer Service department.

Ultimately, a ticket is directed to the local Desktop Support queue qualifying the need for local onsite support to resolve the issue (or remotely if possible).

2. Queue Manager Takes Note of Ticket

A Queue Manager designation is recommended for equal distribution of tickets. A Queue Manager is a peer who assigns tickets based on availability and/or round robin. The role can alternate between technicians on a weekly basis or a Lead can be the responsible technician.

Simply put: the Queue Manager is a part of the team that looks over tickets on the Customer Relations Management (CRM) software (or other queue management software) and designates each to a specific employee. Obviously, this needs to be done before work begins.

3. Assessing Priority

Based on the priority level set by the Service Desk, the Desktop Support agent responds accordingly. A company can find itself with a wide array of tickets, especially in the hardware realm. While all inquiries are important, some may need to be addressed before others.

If your company does not have the need for a Service Desk, the Queue Manager may be the one to assess the priority of tickets.

4. Assigning Ticket

Ultimately, the Queue Manager must then delegate each ticket to the appropriate Desktop Support worker. As stated, this may include a round-robin approach or go off of each employee’s strengths.

5. Responding to the Ticket

Each ticket should receive a response as quickly as possible. A dissatisfied customer is only going to become more irate if met with increasing wait times.

With the in-person requirement of most Desktop Support solutions comes a holdup. It would be utterly impossible to report to every ticket immediately. We can’t be everywhere at once. Therefore, a messaging system within the CRM allows for the support team to at least show proof of acknowledgment for each ticket.

The service team stating that they received the ticket and will reach out to the customer as soon as possible is a better approach than not contacting the customer until they are ready to visit.

6. Review Service Desk Notes

If your customer service department includes the aforementioned Service Desk, then there should be a plethora of notes already available. As the first point of contact, the Service Desk takes note of everything about the situation, allowing for a smooth transfer to other departments.

No one wants to repeat the same story over and over, especially an upset customer.

At this point, the appointed technician looks over the Service Desk notes to gather an understanding of a possible solution for the ticket.

7. Research Possible Solutions

Consequently, a technician does not want to contact or visit a customer without a base idea for a solution. Though the technician is likely to be an expert on the product, preemptive research allows for an efficient troubleshooting process.

The technician may look over former cases or other information to form a thesis before visiting or contacting the customer. They should have a general theory for solution before visiting.

8. Contact the User

Though a quick or prewritten message should have been sent to the user when the ticket was received, now is the time to contact them. Preferably, the support technician will reach out to the customer via a phone call. If not possible, an online chat will suffice.

If the solution can not be found and administered remotely, the technician may then set up an onsite appointment with the client. When applicable, this appointment should be noted on the department’s calendar.

9. Documenting the Proposal for Resolution

The technician should then note their ideal solution in the customer’s file (where this goes depends on the Help Desk’s CRM practices).

Documenting the proposed solution allows everyone to be on the same page. The technician can remember their ideas if the appointment falls on a later date. Also, other technicians can pick up where the initial technician stopped, if necessary.

10. Testing the Proposed Resolution

The technician should then work to apply the proposed solution. This application may involve an onsite appointment with the client or directions over the phone.

If the proposed solution does not work, the research process must restart. If it seems to be an issue out of the reach of the Desktop Support team, it should be moved up the ladder to the next tier. What department is the next tier depends widely on the specific company. It could be an engineer or manager.

11. Document Results

If and when the ticket is resolved, everything should be documented correctly. This may include closing the ticket with documentation, and updating the knowledge base if necessary. If unfulfilled or unsatisfied, the technician will route the ticket to the next level with comprehensive notes and justification for transfer.

Documenting the results works towards two benefits. One, it allows for quick access to customer information if they receive a new issue. Two, it allows technicians to research-proven solutions if the same problems happen in the future.

What Should a Desktop Support Worker Be?

Looking to build a Desktop Support team? Not sure what qualifications are necessary to follow through with the aforementioned process?

Here is an example job posting for a Desktop Support Technician:

This desktop support individual has strong communication skills with at least two years of current desktop support experience. This includes hands-on and on-site support as opposed to help desk operations. This position assists end users with technical support of desktop computers, applications and related technology.  Support includes specification, installation and testing of computer systems and peripherals within established standards and guidelines.

  • Installs and repairs desktop hardware and software; installs/uninstalls voice and data systems; and processes work orders for voice, video and data users.
  • Performs technical support in a formal or informal help desk setting to users with common hardware and software problems, which includes: logging, troubleshooting, testing, adjusting, resolving, or referring problems to the appropriate department.
  • Acts as a liaison between user groups and the Information Technology unit to communicate problems and possible solutions.
  • Maintains the computerized inventory of voice and data equipment and specialized services for users.
  • Maintains technical procedures, documentation, operational instructions and/or projects.
  • Reads and understands technical or other complex materials.
  • Tests in-house or vendor-developed software and software upgrades for user requirements. Also documents errors or discrepancies for correction.
  • Elementary familiarity of network and servers.  
  • Windows OS, user profiles, backup and restore.
  • Works with Help Desk and Network Operations staff appropriate to determine and resolve problems received from clients.
  • Updating Asset Management. 
  • Mobile device support.
  • Knowledge of Audio/Visual.
  • Troubleshooting corporate printing.  
  • Works with procurement staff to purchase hardware and software.
  • Assesses functional needs to determine specifications for purchases.

Need Help Staffing Technicians?

Tier2Tek Staffing has over a decade of experience staffing within the IT Service and Help industry. Furthermore, we have:

  • A proven methodology to screen and hire the best candidate for your culture and position.
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If you need a reliable staffing agency that can fulfill your direct-hire staffing needs, Tier2Tek Staffing is the right choice.