It is helpful for everyone who deals with help desk calls to broadly use the same kind of approach when resolving callers’ problems. A unified approach means that callers know what to expect from you. If they get a different response from each member of the team, they will get an impression of a lack of cohesion and may reduce the trust of the customer .


Don’t take this to mean that I approve the use of scripts. I hate scripts. They serve only to highlight a mechanized approach and can mean that the call sounds stilted and may even give the impression that the agent doesn’t really understand the job. My real bugbear is the closing part of our call taker’s script. They are required to ask every caller “Is there anything else I can do for you today?”

I always think that is a silly question. If there was anything else I wanted, I would mention it at the beginning of the call. They should have the necessary technical skills to be able to troubleshoot a problem from a skilled viewpoint while conforming to a call template. Template is probably to strong a term to use. Maybe checklist would be better. Start with the old favorite: Who, What, Where, When, and Why.

Call takers should know that any error messages should be recorded precisely. There’s nothing worse than getting a ticket that states, “User reported an error message” without detailing what the message was.

So, to break down the five Ws we should clarify them.

Who? Name and phone number: an accurate contact can sometimes mean that I can clear the fault without visiting the site.

What? The type of equipment, asset number, and the problem associated with it, including a precise record of error codes.

Where? The address of the place in which to go, so often the address I receive is that of the company’s head office or the address where the invoices are sent.

When? The time that the fault occurred, also take note of whether it has happened before and if other changes were made that might have caused the problem.

Why? Importance/function of the equipment. Why are we fixing the fault?

The same routine should apply when the ticket is a request for service. Who are we creating a login for? What systems do they need to access? Where do they work? Are the appropriate resources available at that location? When is the service needed? Why are we providing this service to this person at this location?

Apply this simple template to any request: change requests, fault logs, provisioning requests, even working out the staffing and holiday rotas.

Using the simple five Ws as a template for help desk calls means that you can ensure that all the bases are covered without having to resort to using a script that has been written by somebody who in all likelihood doesn’t use the language in the same way that you do.