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Help Desk Layout

By lmoore74 ·
Looking for info on the best physical layout for a Help Desk:

- Low walled cubes?
- Bull pen instead of cubes?
- Mixed in / separate from other IT groups?
- Displays for calls waiting, network issues?
- ??

Any feedback on what works / what doesn't when designing the physical layout of a help desk from scratch would be appreciated.

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What matters to me...

by geekchic In reply to Help Desk Layout

is that it be in a place where the callers can't hear the computers techs yelling and using 4 letters words about stupid users. It is hard enough to calm down someone that is freaking out because their "computer doesn't work" without having to hear screaming on BOTH sides of the conversation!

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layout

by tdaisy In reply to Help Desk Layout

I currently work in a call center/helpdesk position. I would recommend housing (if possible)the helpdesk staff in a bull pen area, so they have the ability to hear what others are saying (this helps to get the word out of a network issue, plus give support to the other staff member). Keep the helpdesk housed in the same floor/building as IT staff, but away enough that the noise will not affect calls. It is good to feel part of IT as well as hear what is going on, it promotes team atmosphere with IT staff. I would recommend display phones. We have the ability to monitor how many calls we have taken, who is unavailable and various other status. Helps to keep us competive and honest.

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Layout

by ntguru In reply to Help Desk Layout

I would go with a cubicle environment. Just make sure that you have a way for the helpdesk team to communicate, like instant messenger. This will ensure that your techs have privacy while dealing with angry users.

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If you ask me...

by rhantson In reply to Help Desk Layout

If you ask me, seperate your help desk from the rest of IT. They WILL clash, and your IT people will be caught up answering questions from the Help Desk people instead of doing thier jobs. (Knowledge by experience).

Most of your IT staff are going to want nothing to do with the Help Desk personell either. Especially your seasoned staff. So keep them apart.

As for putting them together... I'd put them into cubicles. Low walled, and yes, have a display for calls in the cue, but not make a big deal of it. The object here is customer service. Dont try to rush a caller through for numbers... make sure the customer is happy and the problem is fixed...

As for the other comments I read... There is nothing I hate more is a help desk that treats the caller like they are idiots. Yes, many are, but you don't have treat them that way...

ASK what the caller has tried so far... you might have someone who's an MCSE on the other end with 11 years in the business... who might even know more about things than your Help Desk guy.

People with IT problems are NOT idiots... the only ID-10-T errors are the IT guys who don't understand that not everyone is a computer geek or went to school to learn this trade.

Hope that helps....

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No simple answer but try these

by mgordon In reply to Help Desk Layout

The answers I have seen so far reveal (no surpise) a wide variance in what is expected of the Help Desk as well as in staffing it.

I am the Helpdesk Manager at my company, but this has evolved over the past five years and is somewhat misleading. At first, we had a team of administrators who took calls from the 500 employees of the company. Any person taking a call can and should resolve the problem; our "first call resolution rate" was about 100 percent and there was no distinction between helpdesk and I.T.

As to cubicles vs bullpen, it depends. IF the helpdesk team are experienced administrators, then immediate proximity is extremely useful, you can detect network emergencies far more quickly. It is also very good to have a manager, or more experienced tech, in proximity to apprentices.

The downside is well known and obvious -- NOISE. This can be minimized by padded furniture rather than the hardwood cubes we've turned to each other and actually focuses noise across the bullpen.

*IF* the helpdesk is corporate, then the helpdesk needs to be as tightly integrated as possible with I.T. I forward calls pertaining to SQL server problems directly to the SQL programmer for instance.

Also, *IF* your helpdesk is corporate, put REAL TALENT on the helpdesk -- my tier 1 guy is an MCSE and it is not very often we have to escalate.

ROTATE the jobs; don't allow a corporate culture to come into existence of "just" helpdesk. Make it so that Helpdesk is recognized for what it is -- once you've created a cow, just how do you think you are going to keep it contented? Don't let "creating the cow" earn more money and respect than "keeping the cow contented."

It's inevitable; but I counter it, pointing out to the self-important programmers that, hey, I get to talk to HUNDREDS of people, MY name is known, is YOURS?

But like I say, mix it up a bit; let every I.T. worker do a stint on the helpdesk, and conversely, every helpdesk worker is encouraged to program, write SQL queries, make web pages.

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by The Admiral In reply to Help Desk Layout

I think the best layout that I have ever done put managers, team leads, and Account Representatives within walking range. With this, it put the decision makers, the experienced and the Account Reps all in one area, quickening customer satisfaction.

With that, it would be a great idea to put the generalists on one side of the building and then put the folks who take the escalations on the other. This will allow the ones who do escalations some privacy, especially if it turns into a legal matter that needs to be taken care of in a more seperate setting.

The team leaders could also be the ones who are the Product Support Specialists, who would be considered second level, or just those who have had more than 1 year of experience.

And remember - NO CUSTOMER SHOULD EVER BE PLACED ON HOLD. So in this matter you can have Instant Messages going back and forth to the Product Specialists to assist the call taking employees, since placing a customer on hold makes the customer question the competence of the person who takes the call.

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Depends on the size

by bobpark5 In reply to Help Desk Layout

There are four of us that do all the tech support for a local school district. We have a room that we share that's away from all the other departments. Two reasons for this...one, we can talk on the phones and not disturb the other departments on the floor. Secondly, we have privacy from people just walking in for help. We all have corner desk uniths with ample shelves and counter space for many of the pieces of hardware that we support. In this setting we face away from each other to no interfere with a call. However, if we have a question, we can just turn around and ask or fellow support staff.

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separation slows communication

by kroos In reply to Depends on the size

I'm also part of an educational support team - Help Desk is in the center. Noise in the office is kept to a professional level.

More than once, staff from the surrounding offices have overheard Help Desk calls and been able to quickly respond by overhearing -especially with major network issues start flooding in. In turn, the Help Desk staff benefit from being continually in the loop on current system events and upcoming processes.

The atmosphere here is that all IT is here to support the institution - we are all Help Desk. The key is professionalism in volume, working together not against, remembering the purpose of all IT staff - support the end user.

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Library for Shared Software / Hardware, Training Material

by yvettemyrick In reply to Help Desk Layout

Hello, I managed a help desk for 275 employees
for nine years. It included providing help with telephones, voice mail, network, windows,
software applications, printer and faxes issues.
Below is what I would recommend.

- Low walled cubes? 5 - 6 ft recommended, as long as they are somewhat sound proof

- Bull pen instead of cubes?
Ideally, if you have the money, lol
Each help desk personnel should have there own
assigned work area, cubes do work well.
In addition, a bull pen or a shared area, similar to a library for the various shared software and hardware,also a round table for urgent,or weekly meetings would be super too.
sharing of information is critical to success

- Mixed in / separate from other IT groups?
they can certainly reside with other IT groups,
they should not be totally isolated from other IT groups

- Displays for calls waiting, network issues?
yes bulletin board and / or white board to post daily issues or changes and urgent news & updates

Good luck, I am sure you will arrange this super!
- ?? What would be great is an office that is rectangular, with the cubes on the sides of the square, then the shared area/library/bull pen and a round table in the center.


I have managed a help desk for 275 employees.

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Help Desk layout

by startouched In reply to Library for Shared Softwa ...

My help desk experience has been for companies in the government sector and public with very large customer base (NASA & a large home building supply company) as an analyst.

My recommendation would be:
-low walled cubes (sound proof and personalized) with ergonomic furniture, configured in such a way that visitors or others walking by your cubicle are not distracting.
-Bullpen or library area for shared resources and team meetings, training,but again, the arrangement should be such that those on the phone are not distracted.
-Private phone areas for personnel to make personal calls or have visitors.
-Being near other IT groups is not a have to. More important is having a supervisor or team lead in close proximity.
-Display boards (for real time network/phone outages, etc. We even had a center TV for company messages, weather etc) are a have to have item in a large call center IMO, especially if your group is supporting more than one area.

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