At first glance, "inventory" might appear to be yet another item on a company's balance sheet. However, as most businesses know, the importance of tracking inventory cannot be understated. In an economy that constantly demands efficiency, it is becoming increasingly common for businesses to adopt Information Technology Asset Management (ITAM). Although managing the life cycles of inventory can be incredibly complicated, ITAM offers clients real-time monitoring of all assets, which enables businesses to significantly lower the risk of asset loss.
Colleges present different challenges for IT help desks than businesses. For starters, they have different customers and different hours. Students are extremely tech savvy, much more so than the average working adult, and possess high expectations not only for the technology available to them, but also for support.
In addition, students often use their own technology and work away from a physical campus. Unlike in a traditional business setting, in which employees mainly work on the company's devices, IT help desks must contend with compatibility issues more often.
Given these distinctions, it is not particularly surprising that a successful help desk for an institution of higher learning is fundamentally different from that of a business.
More than ever, businesses are analyzing market data in an attempt to better understand consumers' buying habits. However, data is often outdated by the time it reaches businesses, or the information is too broad and generalizing to draw any real conclusions. Analyzing market data is analogous to "looking in a rear view mirror," according to the authors of "Customer Intelligence: Connecting the Dots for Service Insight," who emphasize the importance of customer intelligence in anticipating consumer needs.
Every tech-savvy person has heard (or even experienced) customer support horror stories at least once. These tales usually lament the struggle of dealing with users who seem to have no right to be anywhere near a computer: users who cannot find the "any" key, users who cannot tell the difference between the spacebar and backspace key, or users who do not even know what an operating system is.
Even though home computers have become easier to use, customers might still feel confused or frustrated. When business customers contract engineers for new software, it is often difficult for the tech-savvy to speak the language of the customer and nail down exactly what features the client is seeking. Effective communication is vital in both customer service and business-to-business relationships, and learning how to speak the language of your client is often easier said than done.
If there is one thing that is constant in this day and age, it is change. Today's business pace demands perfectly smooth transitions or large amounts of money can be lost from interruptions in productivity. The optimal part of change is growth. If growth is the goal, then improving customer service should be top priority. According to author Seth Godin, "Customer service, like everything an effective organization does, changes people. Announce the change you seek, then invest appropriately in a system that is likely to actually produce the outcomes you just said you wanted." In order to have the best customer service, your company needs to have the best and most up to date software that addresses your customer service needs.
In a previous blog post, we discussed how important it is to have a variety of contact options for today's consumers, based on findings from the 2015 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report. However, many companies are finding it difficult to integrate these new options into their contact centers.
As expected, a majority of call centers have the capability to support customers over the phone and through email. These capabilities line up with the previous generation's expectations in a support center, as most customers over the age of 40 prefer support over telephone or email. However, the next generation's first choice of webchat is only supported by 45% of organizations, and 35% of organizations without webchat have no plans of offering it in the future.
According to data from the Report, an average of 79% of companies are afraid that their systems will not meet demands in the future. However, the cost of integrating a new support system can be expensive, and new software may not be compatible with older machines. One solution that the Report proposes is hosting contact centers in the cloud, which can reduce the cost of integrating a brand new system greatly while expanding support options.
In fact, the Report found that 89% of organizations currently using cloud architecture agree that it has reduced costs. Other benefits from cloud technologies noted in the Report include access to new functionality, improved flexibility, and better reliability. Yet half of the organizations surveyed do not even use hosted technologies.
Giva's customizable cloud technologies are easy to use and can save your company time and money. Read about how the Giva Difference has changed the way many companies handle customer contact on Giva's case study page!
Best Practice simply means the most effective way that has been determined to accomplish a desired goal. In order to improve, an organization must assess its current practices against those used in other organizations. The following are some Help Desk Best Practices, summarized from Giva's free whitepaper on this topic, recommended to be used when evaluating what your company is doing and why, and what your company should be doing and when, as well as what features and functions you should look for in help desk software.
Part one detailed several best practices for help desk optimization. Listed below are additional recommendations for implementation.
Perform Root Cause Analysis Every Day to Determine Why Problems Occur
It is important to be able to track the root of issues, so the actual cause of problems can be determined. This helps with forward planning and being able to determine which areas of IT (hardware, operating systems, networking, etc.) might need more attention. Ideally, the help desk software should allow for easy tracking, and even possibly requiring, the selecting of a root cause before closing a ticket, and/or entering/requiring problem resolutions. Further, root cause reports should be available, to identify specific issues and trends.
Implement Service Level Agreements Linked to Impact on Firm Revenue
Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are an important part of help desk accountability to the customer, and compliance with them can impact customer satisfaction or even revenue. A help desk should not only implement SLAs, but should be able to track compliance in various levels of granularity, from the overall help desk or service groups (eg. facilities, networking, etc.) to the individual agents; and SLA trends reports should be available, which can be valuable to management, in understanding how effectively services are being provided.
Utilize Predefined and Customizable Help Desk Reports
Agents and management should have a wide variety of reports available that they can quickly access, easily customize, share with others, and use to analyze their areas of responsibility to keep the customer service process flowing smoothly. The reports should also provide the right data to assist in better decision-making.
Use Real-Time Reporting Features That Decrease Time Required to Prepare Reports
Having real-time reports customized and automatically e-mailed to users, or easily downloaded in various formats (eg. Excel, PDF, etc.), can further provide useful data for quicker analysis and better decision-making, and can save time and money.
Implement an Asset Management System That Is Integrated With the Help Desk Software System
Having an asset management system integrated with a help desk software ticketing system not only can better provide root-cause analysis, but the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) foundation in part requires tracking changes to assets, which can also help in saving problem-diagnostic times. This type of asset management can include software license tracking as well, helping IT departments better track licensing compliance.
Implement an Integrated ITIL Change Management Software System
Integrating a change management system with the help desk software system can reduce problems due to change-related failure. Not only can the help desk be prepared ahead of time with information about upcoming changes, perhaps even notifying its customers beforehand, but once implemented, issues can be tracked, and backout plans implemented if necessary. Further, problem tracking analysis can help better plan for future changes. This type of system keeps the change and help desk teams much more coordinated and functioning as a cohesive unit.
For a much more in-depth look, please refer to Giva's free whitepaper on Help Desk Best Practices.
With today's mobile workforce, the ability to access answers to important questions quickly is a must. Meghan M. Biro at Forbes says there is a "need to maintain a corporate culture supportive of - and with technical and communications systems in place - to enable remote employees to be successful."
Saint Elizabeth Health Care has long been a leader in incorporating technology to support new and innovative ways of delivering care, information and improvement of health care practices. Many of Saint Elizabeth's 6,500 employees work remotely providing health care services in clients' homes and other community settings.
Because of this, Saint Elizabeth has been an innovator in the private cloud and was the first health care organization in Canada to offer employees a full suite of applications in a private cloud over ten years ago. Saint Elizabeth was looking for the newest generation of IT service desk functionality and a long-term vendor partnership to respond to rapid organizational growth. Following an evaluation of other service desk vendors, the organization identified concerns that replacing the current IT service desk tools would be highly disruptive. In their search, they found Giva to be what they were looking for.
"Giva has provided Saint Elizabeth with a solution that makes extraordinary economic sense and has achieved a high ROI in a very short period of time. The organization was looking for a true cloud-based service with multi-tenancy to avoid the cost of dedicated servers," said David Burne, IT Leader.
Upon switching to Giva, Saint Elizabeth realized the following ongoing benefits:
- 40% increase in productivity of the IT service desk team by using Giva reports and dashboards
- 50% lower TCO (total cost of ownership) over a three year period
- 90% reduction in the time required to configure/customize Giva
- 100% application uptime using Giva nearly 24x7
According to David Burne, "Giva does not wait years or even months to launch new product improvements. The stream of improvements is ongoing. Giva is very proactive in that they take time to carefully listen to feedback. Saint Elizabeth has never worked with a vendor that listens and delivers as well as Giva. This is one of the key ways that Giva is very unique!"
Learn more about the benefits of Giva at Saint Elizabeth Case Study.
What is your challenge? Let Giva be your solution!
Best Practice simply means the most effective way that has been determined to accomplish a desired goal. In order to improve, an organization must assess its current practices against those used in other organizations. The following are some Help Desk Best Practices, summarized from Giva's whitepaper on this topic, recommended to be used when evaluating what your company is doing and why, and what your company should be doing and when, as well as what features and functions you should look for in help desk software.
Perform Customer Satisfaction Surveys on a Regular Basis
Daily customer satisfaction surveys performed by your call tracking software provide valuable information from a broad sampling of employees. It is important for your company to generate its own customized survey to keep a close pulse on help desk performance at any given time. A continuous customer satisfaction survey process improvement philosophy will drive customer satisfaction and loyalty to even higher levels.
Implement a Web-Based Knowledge Base Tool
The greatest asset of a service organization is the knowledge of its staff. By encouraging and rewarding employees to document their knowledge in a centralized knowledge base software system, it becomes available for all staff to leverage. Also, the customer can access this knowledge through a self-help portal potentially easing help desk traffic.
Implement a Web-Based Knowledge Base Tool With Real-time Reports, Dashboards, Metrics and Business Analytics
Having readily available reports for knowledge base value, knowledge base usage, knowledge base status and more can help knowledge managers better understand how their knowledge base is being used, which can further streamline help desk agent processes and increase self-help usage.
Implement Service Request Automation Processes In Your Help Desk Software
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Providing for uploading screenshots, or perhaps allowing agents remote terminal access to those whom they support can increase problem resolution speed. Converting customer emails automatically to help desk tickets, configuring quick-ticket templates, predefined resolutions, and preset questions to ask agents as they create issues provide more options to optimize your help desk performance resulting in greater customer satisfaction.
Use the Help Desk Software System to Increase Communications with Agents and Customers
Communication among agents can help keep the help desk processes flow smoothly. Some examples include: a scrolling marquee message for event alerts, data record lock notification, new agent assignee alert, important message alerts, and more.
Implement Customer Self-Help Portal Accessible 24 Hours/Day
Allowing customers to access a self-help portal to resolve issues, when appropriate, or create their own service requests, can save your organization a significant amount of money.
Use Real-Time Help Desk Reports, Dashboards, Metrics and Analytics
That which is not measured, cannot be managed! Good real-time metrics can also result in higher-quality decision making by any involved personnel, including the CIO if needed.
For much more in-depth information please refer to Giva's whitepaper on Help Desk Best Practices.
Read on in part 2!
As shown by the 2015 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report, businesses having a strong social media presence is important to the next generation of consumers. However, with so many different social media options available, it can be overwhelming to even think about getting your company started with any social networking site.
John Rampton in Forbes suggests identifying your social media goals and objectives before setting up a social media account. He also suggests businesses take the time to learn how their target platforms work and figure what their target audience is. Knowing your audience can help you understand what they need, which will allow you to deliver the content they want to see and make them more interested in your business.
Once you have established a social media account, be sure to post often – but not too often. Make sure your posts are timely and relevant to any current events. For example, if your company attends a local event, post pictures from that event as soon as possible. Using tags and hashtags effectively will also help others find your posts easily.
If you branch out to multiple types of social media, Rampton advises to treat each as its own entity, and post unique content to each. It may seem tedious to update multiple accounts, but followers will feel rewarded and in the know when they see information exclusive to one platform.
As more customers turn to social media for support and help, it is important to respond to and resolve customer complaints on social media pages in a timely and professional manner. When other customers see that you were listening and willing to respond to complaints, they will feel more important and valued.
Each business will use social media in different ways, but outlining your goals, understanding your audience, being active on multiple accounts, and staying professional in all customer interaction can greatly benefit everyone trying to grow their social media presence.