As companies grow and expand, so does the burden on their help desk. And as you may know, things at the help desk don’t always seamlessly scale. There are lots of issues with turnover and consistency.
Then the seemingly endless stream of phone calls and chat messages can easily overwhelm staff leading to decreased efficiency and customer satisfaction.
In an ideal world, self-service options like knowledge bases and searchable help would be enough to address most issues. In reality, people often prefer the personal touch of speaking to a representative and will bypass the self-service option and call or chat anyway.
In this post, we’ll explore training employees in the beginning as a strategy for reducing calls and chats rather than relying on when they have a problem.
Instead of relying on the help desk as much or people finding support resources on their own, we’ll explore an approach to addressing this challenge by focusing on training and empowering employees from the get-go.
Employees don’t only contact the help desk because they lack access to self-service resources. While it’s true that a comprehensive knowledge base is crucial, the key lies in training employees right the first time and educating them on the resources available.
If employees know what help exists for them then they’re more likely to find it. People won’t blindly go searching for resources that they don’t know exists.
So, how can we bridge this gap and ensure that the workforce knows more from the start and also embraces self-service options when it makes sense? We’ll uncover practical tips and best practices that promotes self-sufficiency and fosters a culture of technology proficiency within your organization.
Learned helplessness that affects the service desk outcomes that happens from employees not being trained properly on company technology and also not learning about the resources that are available to help themselves. They’re helpless and the company encourages it by not providing the right resources.
By arming your employees with the necessary skills and knowledge, you can reduce the dependency on the help desk and streamline operations like never before. Let’s first take a look at how fewer calls to your company’s help desk will streamline company operations.
How Fewer Calls Streamlines Company Operations
Reducing the number of help desk calls can have a significant impact on company operations. Too many calls not only are overwhelming for help desk staff, but it’s also overwhelming to the company as a whole.
By reducing the time spent on addressing individual inquiries, the organization can focus on more critical tasks to streamline operations. This allows for improved productivity and efficiency across the organization.
Employees will also enjoy shorter wait times because of the reduced help desk calls. This not only enhances employee satisfaction but also improves overall company perception.
Then there’s the fact the customer service and help desk typically have some of the highest turnover rates in any organization. Training has a profound impact on employee turnover in many different ways. That could mean from the help desk perspective that they have less stress and therefore less turnover.
These are some other ways fewer calls streamline company operations.
- Reduced workload for the help desk staff.
- Increased efficiency in addressing and resolving customer issues.
- More time to spend with each person and deliver better results leading to fewer callbacks.
- Lowered costs associated with maintaining a large help desk team.
- Improved customer satisfaction due to quicker response times.
- Enhanced productivity for employees as they spend less time on support calls.
- Opportunity to allocate resources to other areas of the company.
- Better utilization of technology and self-service options.
- Ability to focus on proactive measures to prevent common issues.
- Streamlined communication channels for more effective problem-solving.
As you can see there are many benefits to reducing calls which lead to streamlined company operations. There are few to no drawbacks to reducing calls if it’s done genuinely. The problem is many companies place their efforts into increasing self-service options in an attempt to lower call volume. Take a look at why those efforts often fall flat.
Why Self-Service Options To Address Help Desk Call Reductions Fall Flat
While self-service options such as knowledge bases and searchable help are valuable resources, they often fall short of making a significant reduction in help desk calls.
Why? Because what employees don’t know they won’t seek out. In other words, if they don’t know the resources are available then they’re not going to hunt for them, they’re simply going to call or chat.
If employees aren’t aware of what’s out there then they simply can’t use them when faced with an issue. it must be in their face or it’s not going to be used. That’s one reason why contextual help is a good tool for self-service help, it puts the help in the employee’s flow of work. But it has limitations even though they are much less than things like a knowledge base.
It’s much more convenient to simply dial up the help desk rather than try to hunt for something they don’t know exists. People are lazy overall (including myself) and it’s a lot easier to pick up the phone or click chat than hunting through a self-service option trying to find the right words to use for a search and not even knowing if something exists to help you.
Self-service options can only do so much if employees don’t know if the resources exist or not.
Here are some other reasons why self-service help options often fail:
- Lack of adoption: Employees may be resistant to using self-service options if they are not aware of their benefits or find them difficult to navigate.
- Insufficient resources: Implementing and maintaining self-service options require a lot of resources such as personnel and technology, which organizations may not allocate adequately.
- Poor design and usability: If self-service options are not user-friendly, intuitive, and easy to navigate, users may become frustrated and abandon them. The power of search also determines if self-service is useful or not. Can a variety of search terms surface help that’s relevant to employees or do they have to be so specific as to render resources useless?
- Inaccurate or outdated information: If the self-service options do not provide accurate or up-to-date information, employees may lose trust in the system and resort to calling the help desk rather than bothering with a library of poor resources.
- Complex or unique issues: Self-service options may not be equipped to handle complex or unique issues that employees may encounter, leading them to seek assistance through help desk calls.
- Lack of integration: If self-service options are not integrated with other systems or databases within the organization, all the resources available might not be surfaced in one place. People aren’t going to hunt in several different systems.
- Cultural resistance: In some cases, there may be cultural resistance to self-service options, where users prefer speaking to a human agent rather than using automated systems. That happens a lot with self-checkout in retail stores and it will happen in the enterprise too.
- Lack of awareness and training: If users are not adequately informed or trained on how to use the self-service options, they may not be aware of their existence or their benefits.
Self-service help is a great solution to use in unison with the help desk but it’s only as good as the functionality of it and resources available. It’s also dependent on employees knowing to go there to look for a resource that they are at least aware of. That’s where training becomes essential and using training to promote self-sufficiency to solve technology issues.
Promoting Self-Sufficiency and Technology Proficiency
Help me help you. That’s what every company should be asking from their employees. I think the resounding request based on that statement would be training.
Providing employees with training on how to use company technology is the best way to make sure they’re self-sufficient and don’t need to call the help desk as much. Not only that but training is a great resource to use to educate employees on additional resources also.
In almost every custom company IT training solution we built we also build performance support. That performance support is useless unless employees know it exists and where they can find it. Employee training is a great way to communicate the availability of self-help resources such as performance support.
Just don’t forget the power of performance support, a forgotten yet essential form of training as long as employees know it exists.
By empowering employees with the necessary skills and knowledge, they can become more self-reliant in resolving common issues without relying on the help desk. And, if they can’t solve their issues then they know other help exists and where to find it.
No that’s self-sufficiency and the complete opposite of learned helplessness!
If companies consistently make sure employees are trained and each training promotes the same location for additional resources, that will help create a culture of continuous learning and improvement. It encourages employees to take learning into their own hands and know the resources they have available to help themselves.
Now all of a sudden employees are playing a huge part in helping your organization reduce help desk calls. How cool is that?
The Transformational Power of Effective Training and Efficient Processes
Effective training plays a pivotal role in reducing help desk calls. By efficient we mean created with a plan and performance-based rather than learning-based or simply haphazardly put together by a subject matter expert (SME).
By equipping employees with a base level of knowledge of company technology, they’ll be able to navigate the tool and understand it more effectively. Not only that but training that also discusses additional resources and where to find them will better prepare employees for using self-service methods.
That’s how good training will reduce common issues and reduce their dependency on the help desk.
Training should be an ongoing process that covers not only technical aspects but also how it applies to their job. There’s no better training than making sure employees can apply it in the flow of work. So, you’re not only empowering employees to use company technology but also empowering them to help themselves.
As part of the transformational power of effective training, contextual help is another solution we’ve used to help employees do their jobs while providing relevant support they might need while working. There are many different ways we’ve implemented digital adoption platforms to offer help to employees in an application.
In the years we’ve been creating effective custom company IT training we’ve compiled a decent list of practical tips and best practices. Now it’s time to take a look at some of those and how they can reduce company help desk calls.
Practical Tips and Best Practices for Reducing Help Desk Calls With Training
We’ve worked on a lot of projects to help reduce calls to the help desk. Not only that, we’ve also worked on training initiatives that the help desk has used to better answer employee questions.
What does that mean?
We’ve created an entire series of videos that quickly and efficiently answer the most common questions the help desk receives. That helped to reduce calls but help desk employees also used those videos to answer questions quicker. Instead of spending 30 minutes on a phone call, they sent a short five-minute video that made their call less than a minute and helped answer the employee’s question.
It all came down to having well-documented calls to understand what employees’ most common issues were. With that information, targeted training can be created to answer those employee pain points if they are indeed training issues. Sometimes they were just a communication issue, though, in which case a short video can help with that.
Other tips we have to reduce help desk calls require a strategic approach. Here are some practical tips and best practices we have to lower help desk calls with training:
- Create “only what’s necessary” training materials: That means it needs to be comprehensive for how employees use the tool and the issues they may run into but nothing more. They don’t need to learn everything about the tool but they need to know enough to do their job. With training, nothing is important if everything is important.
- Offer hands-on training sessions: And by this, we don’t mean actual hands-on the real software training. We mean realistic practice including realistic software simulations of the system and real scenarios for how they’ll use the tools in their work. A safe environment is better than learning and practicing in the real thing and being scared to mess things up. Real learning can’t happen in that situation.
- Every tool needs training: Not every tool needs custom training but every tool should have training available. If your organization uses Microsft Office then provide training for Office. With an off-the-shelf application such as this off-the-shelf training is typically fine unless you have a very specific way of using it. For custom company software you’ll need to also create custom software training. Don’t leave it to coaching and employees sharing how to use it with new employees, that’s a great way to encourage poor practices.
- Provide ongoing support: Establish a system for ongoing support, such as a dedicated help desk portal or a designated point of contact for technical assistance in the software employees are using. Every course should end with additional resources, where to find them, and a specific point of content if there is one.
- Encourage knowledge sharing: Foster a collaborative environment where employees can share their expertise and help each other resolve issues. It could be a channel or community in your enterprise’s social media network such as Viva Engage.
- Track and analyze help desk data: Regularly review help desk data to identify recurring issues and areas where additional training may be required.
By implementing these tips and best practices, you can empower your workforce to become more self-sufficient and reduce the number of help desk calls significantly.
Reducing company help desk calls is essential for streamlining operations, improving productivity, enhancing customer satisfaction, and reducing the number of help desk employees needed while making each one more effective.
While self-service options have their merits if used properly and in conjunction with good training, they are not sufficient in addressing the diverse needs of employees all on their own.
By focusing on promoting self-sufficiency and technology proficiency through comprehensive training programs, organizations can effectively reduce the dependency on the help desk only. Scaling a help desk that has a reasonable workload is much easier than using it as the first line of defense from a lack of knowledge.
Implementing good and effective training strategies optimizes operations and minimizes the need for as much help desk staff. By taking a holistic approach to reducing help desk calls, companies can achieve greater efficiency while providing exceptional support for employees.
We’re experts in reducing help desk calls and helping employees learn company technology better. Our instructional design consultants are experts at helping make help desks, as well as company technical training, work more efficiently. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your project with us and see if we can help your organization work more efficiently to save you money.