The typical conception of the IT help desk is a group of support people ready to be contacted by employees with any number of types of problems, and the help desk staff willing and able to go about resolving these issues--a process that is "reactive" in nature.
But, what if those problems never even occurred? Or, what if they were mitigated before the customer even had them?
This is the idea of the "proactive" help desk: Providing answers to customers' questions without them ever needing to contact support, or preemptively maintaining or fixing IT environments before troubles arise. This lightens the load on help desk agents, and keeps employees more productive and less frustrated with their workplace from a technical standpoint.
The following are 5 helpful ways an IT help desk can provide proactive service:
Self-Service Portal with FAQ and Knowledge Base
This gives customers a place to go to find answers to a whole host of technical support questions they might have, before ever needing to talk to a person.
Status Page and/or Internal Communications Channel
Setting up a status page that is continuously updated as needed with issues that are currently happening is a great place to train customers to look there first. Or, having an internal IT help desk communications channel, such as with Slack, where employees can view real-time updates from any IT group.
Help Desk Surveys & Root Cause Analysis
Surveying customers and analyzing root cause results and trends from ticket tracking can help identify patterns of frustration that might be starting to brew, giving the help desk and IT planners lead time to be able to address these issues before they boil over into down time or a wave of customer contacts to the help desk.
Close Integration with IT Change Management
It is important for the help desk teams to work with the IT change management teams in preparing for potential service disrupting changes. This way, help desk and technical support resources are ready during and after the changes for any issues resulting from those changes.
Internal Email Campaigns
This can be used to preemptively announce upcoming changes that might affect a larger set of employees, so customers can plan themselves and be ready for potential problems in their technical environments. This can reduce their frustrations and allow them to prepare ahead for any adjustments they might need to make in how they conduct their own business, should they experience issues.
Help desk staff are already under a tremendous amount of stress, which is a main reason why turnover is so high when compared with other departments in a company. But implementing proactive measures can help reduce these difficulties, and can help all employees be more productive by keeping their technical workplace environments flowing smoothly and being less frustrating, all of which reduce costs for the company in saving time and energy with personnel.