Managing any type of service department poses various challenges throughout each day and Anchor’s Help Desk is no exception. At the top are two key principles fighting for first - consistency and communication. When I think back at past failures or frustrated customers, those two factors are typically to blame. Anchor has been growing, which is great, but my department typically holds the brunt of the growing pains as we try to promote within and hire new technicians to start on the Help Desk.
We are working to overcome the consistency issue by improving our documentation. This recently came to light with a client that has been with us for several years and watched the company grow from one to eleven employees. Those of us that have been with Anchor for several years know them well, and we tend to forget that the newer engineers do not. We put in place a few checklists to help offset that learning curve. I am working to implement this for all our clients with an end goal of having identical work regardless of the technician performing the steps.
Communication is at the root of so many things both good and bad. As I train our new engineers, I drill on the importance of communication. That alone can help resolve tension and unforeseen problems regardless of skill level. Not knowing where a ticket or issue stands (i.e. poor communication) is most often the cause for frustrated calls and emails that land in my lap as manager to resolve. We have made small changes throughout recent years to help with communication such as putting in place an automatic response for new tickets, notifying users of our Service Level Agreements (SLAs), and communicating an end-of-day message should we run out of time to address a pending ticket. Our department however has implemented three main procedures and workflow rules to help reduce any ticket from “slipping through the cracks”. First, each technician is to reach out to a ticket’s contact three times in consecutive days to try and schedule or work the problem. This needs to be in alternating forms of communication such as phone calls and emails to hopefully hit the easiest way for that person to respond back. Second, a workflow rule is setup to notify the technician should a ticket remain idle for 24 hours. I am then notified if a second 24 hours passes. These notifications bring the pending ticket to our immediate attention and can help me see where a technician might need further training. It also lights a fire for the engineer to get going! Lastly, our incentive plan highlights the importance of meeting Anchor’s SLAs on each ticket and can be the cause for someone not earning a quarterly bonus.
Anchor will never claim to be perfect, and we struggle with many of the same issues other small businesses face in the service industry. We take customer service and feedback very seriously. Most of the changes I’ve highlighted above have been a direct result of conversations with customers and peers. How do you as a company manage consistency, communication and overall customer service? I would love to sit down and talk through ideas! We are always looking to improve.
Help Desk Manager
Anchor Network Solutions, Inc.