It would be nice if every help desk job was predictable, reliable, and ran like a well-oiled machine, but they don’t. Depending on the company, the space, the managers, and the team in question, help desk offices can be anything from a rowdy pen of adult children on phones to a structured regiment of serious professionals. Admittedly, most techs would prefer to find an employer whose help desk office is somewhere in between. The best places are the ones where your manager and co-workers take the work seriously when it matters but can still laugh off a joke or the ridiculous behavior of trouble customers, where you can have snacks but the workstations are clean, and where the quota policies make sense for both efficiency and customer service. Of course, to create an environment this functional and friendly, it takes a talented manager, a well-designed work environment, and a smooth infrastructure for the team to work with each other and the clients.
If you want to improve your help desk office efficiency, think about it from the technician’s point of view. Their work experience determines the quality of the notes and documentation created, service provided, and customer satisfaction.
1) Keep the Temperature Comfy
Office thermostats have been a well-known enemy of employees for decades. Everyone is familiar with the bizarrely uncomfortable work environments created by overzealous, inefficient, or badly programmed office thermostats. The fact of the matter is that people, like computers, have an optimal working temperature and any other temperature will become a distraction from an already complex job of solving technical problems and walking customers through understanding and accepting the solutions. Unfortunately, even two people who look identical can have slightly different temperature preferences. A great way to address this is to vote every six months on the ideal temperature, usually somewhere between 65 and 75, and then provide blankets, space heaters, or fans and cool water to those who have edge-case preferences.
2) Desk Sanitization Supplies
One of the worst ways to start a shift, especially in customer service, is to come in to a sticky, trash covered, or otherwise dirty workstation. While many offices know that desk sanitization is a good way to reduce the big waves of sick days as something travels around the office, there are actually a large number of reasons to make regular desk cleaning a policy. If every workstation is equipped with wipes or something equivalent, this allows people to sanitize after a shift, clean up any accidental messes, and make sure their station is completely clean at the beginning of a shift. This not only reduces annual sick days, it also makes starting work more pleasant.
3) Manager Rescue Policy
When you listen to tales of tech support, one theme that shows up over and over features the hero stories about managers who know exactly when to step in. When customers have gotten unduly abusive, when the problem is clearly above your authorization level, and when there’s clear indications of scamming, it’s great to know that your manager is on your side. Having a supportive manager and a policy of backing up employees on problem calls can improve the morale and confidence of the entire team.
4) Provide Hot Beverages
Tech support is not a brainless task and doing it on the phone only makes it harder. Most people don’t actually talk all day long, but this is the job and your agents are ready to do it, as long as there’s something hot to drink after the tenth consecutive call. Many offices provide coffee but it’s important to remember the dehydration effects of caffeine, not to mention that some people have a dietary restriction. Make sure to provide a form of hot water, tea bags, and hot cocoa mix as well. Hot cider is also a fun way to mix it up and keep everyone healthy.
5) Lose the Phone Tree
Your customers hate the phone tree. We don’t have to ask, it doesn’t matter what your industry is because everyone hates the phone tree. You hate phone trees. If you absolutely must have an automated operator to sort initial calls, consider reducing the branches before connecting to a human representative. The longer your customers argue with a half-deaf robot, the more likely they are to yell at your phone tech when they finally get through. No one likes getting yelled at, and this is what the phone tree creates.
6) Sound Absorbing Office Materials
The most efficient help desk offices can have dozens of techs working in the same room without disturbing each other. However, there are only a few very subtle ways to make it work. First, you need to turn the thermostat down a degree or two and second, you need sound absorbing office materials. Cube walls, light fixture covers, wall art. Any unused surface you can find that can support a soft texture can be used to reduce the amount of sound that travels across the room.
7) Modular Personalization
Personalization of the work area has always been highly debated topic in the business world. Whether employees should be allowed to personalize at all and if so, which employees do personalize is always a matter of individual office protocols. That said, permitting employees to personalize in small ways as long as there’s no mess or disturbance is a great way to make your office unique and give your team a little bit of psychological space.
In the question of shared workstations, you can even make it possible to personalize on the job and depersonalize the station at the end of the shift with individual boxes or baskets for each person who shares a shift-assigned desk.
There are many ways to make your office more supportive to your team and these are just the beginning. With the right attitude for approaching your help desk work environment, the quality of your service and even the skills and capabilities of the technicians themselves will visibly improve. Contact us today for more help desk insights.