TechRepublic member fpcoelho asked in a recent post about options for improving his help desk. Fpcoelho keeps notes on all calls but wants a more detailed record-keeping process that accurately measures the help desk’s performance.

Here is a simple, three-pronged strategy to document calls and increase the usage of your help desk:

  1. Download TechRepublic’s sample trouble tickets to document every call.
  2. Set up a Web page or e-mail address people can use to request help.
  3. Create a shortcut that leads directly to the trouble-ticket document itself, to the help desk Web page, or to an e-mail address. Then push that shortcut to all the desktops on your network.

Downloads are just the ticket
Many support pros avoid putting pen to paper like the plague, but a paper trouble ticket is a great way to start building your help desk database. A paper ticket doesn’t require any development work or testing to implement. Simply print it, duplicate it, and use it. Keeping good records will help you spot trends, anticipate and prevent problems, and allocate your support resources more efficiently.

TechRepublic can help you kick-start your system. Follow these links to download these ready-to-use sample trouble tickets:

  • Hardware Repair Ticket: Use this form to keep an accurate record of the types of hardware-repair problems that occur and to document the resolution. This repair ticket was designed to help technicians track each piece of equipment as it moves from diagnosis to repair and back to production.
  • Help Desk Trouble Ticket: This generic help desk ticket is less hardware-centric than the Hardware Repair Ticket. Use this form to document what your users are telling you about the systems they’re using.

The great idea of the day: Get pushy
In “Analyze your data while it’s still relevant,” the column that elicited the call for help from fpcoelho, I wrote about a CIO who surveyed the users in his organization and discovered that a high number of people had never used the intranet help desk tool.

The link to the help desk is in plain view at the top of the organization’s intranet home page, and the URL to the help desk is frequently e-mailed to all users. So, the IT people assumed that everyone knew how to get to the help desk page. However, when asked for comments about the help desk site, many users wrote that they “couldn’t remember” the address or “could not find it.”

To help solve the problem, the SMS administrator pushed a help desk shortcut file to everyone’s desktop on the next login. Now, when users need IT help, they simply click on the Help Desk icon for assistance.

The IT team has anticipated that some users will delete the shortcut, but they plan to keep pushing it out there. They hope the help desk database will show a spike in new users as people begin taking advantage of the new shortcut.

How do you publicize your support services?

Do your users know how to request IT support or training? How do you get, and keep, the word out? Share your experiences by posting your comments below or by writing to Jeff.