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Help Desk Support – Overworked and Underappreciated

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Overworked Help Desk Support TeamEveryone feels overworked in one way or the other.  Even if you love what you do, things always seem to have a way of creeping up on you when you least expect it.  It is the same in the world of IT – an overworked help desk support team can have major effects on productivity and the quality of support given. In light of the recent holiday, there is one thing that I have learned to be thankful for when it comes to IT: a proper, in-house help desk support team that understands and loves doing their job. Well, that, and adequate management of incoming, password related help desk calls!

So why are we even talking about overworked Help desk support? Why does it matter? Well, one of the headlines of this SpiceWorks survey really sums it up: User issues create a lot of work. Think about it – justifying the importance of the Help Desk always comes down to a balance of cost and efficiency.  User issues create a lot of work, more work equals more hours which require more pay and an overworked help desk support team can result in grumpy individuals and poor service.

That’s just for starters.

Here’s the thing, though – most discussions regarding overworked help desk support focus primarily on the support itself.  That’s a rather egregious mistake! The issue at hand is not that a particular help desk support team is unable to handle the requirements of their jobs; the numbers and statistics show just the opposite – most support personnel are even putting in MORE hours just to get the job done.

No.  The issue is that more and more requests are coming in – costing more time, more money, and increasing frustration on both ends of the spectrum.  The solution to the problem of an overworked help desk support team is simple: reduce the amount of work coming in.

Solving the Problem of an Overworked Help Desk Support Team

One solution that is often proposed in an effort to solve the problems of having an overworked help desk support team is to increase the size of the IT Department – thus spreading the required workload across more individuals.  You increase initial cost by introducing more people, but you alleviate secondary and tertiary costs that stem from the negative aspects of an overworked help desk support team.

However, there is a much simpler, and sometimes even more cost-effective solution: cut off the problem at the source.

Something to that effect...

Something to that effect…

The majority of all help desk issues are with reference to password related issues: either a user has forgotten his or her password, the account has been locked out, or there has been some issue with enrollment.  With the recent upswing in two-factor authentication, there are additional issues being added to the slue of problems being fielded by an already overworked help desk support team.

Solving this problem is not as easy as asking everyone to be more mindful of their passwords, or even to instruct the users on the most effective methods of using their second factor.  That’s like applying bandages when what you really need is an entire first aid kit.

Single Sign-on and Self-service Password Reset

Instead of adding more full-time or part-time help to the IT budget, why not implement a solution that will cut the problem off at the source, while giving your currently overworked help desk support team a much needed break?  After all, providing the means for a user to be self-sufficient is a benefit to all parties involved.

Getting that done doesn’t have to be as difficult as it sounds!

Single Sign-on allows a user to use only a single set of credentials (typically those for the local domain), in order to gain access to all of their favorite applications.  True SSO will require only one authentication, at the beginning of the session, and use that validation as leverage for everything else.  There is no need to recall a separate username and password for each application, reducing the likelihood of forgetting the password, and, by extension, reducing the amount of calls that need to be handled by help desk support.

Of course, there is no eliminating the act of forgetting your password altogether – it’s only human, after all – but that can also be mitigated very simply.  Self-service Password Reset empowers the end user to reset his or her own password, without needing to involve anyone else (including and especially the help desk support). Combining these two features together will give your end users the tools needed to remain happy and productive while still retaining a high level of security online.  Not to mention the benefits to your help desk support team that will then be able to devote time and energy to more important tasks.  Nobody really likes fielding all of those password related help desk calls.

It’s a win-win for everyone!

Refer to the Experts

One of the proposed drawbacks to implementing yet another solution, either on premises or hosted elsewhere, is the involvement of yet another help desk support team for implementation, deployment, maintenance, etc.  Not to mention, more and more companies and larger corporations seem to be outsourcing their help desk support to international organizations – and that can often cause even more problems than dealing with an overworked in-house team.

Either that, or IT Departments will attempt to develop or support their own solution to the problem, and that doesn’t always work out for the best. It certainly doesn’t remove much of the work being placed on the shoulders of the help desk!

Finding the right solution means decreasing those issues, not increasing them – and a local, in-house support team for your chosen solution can make all the difference. The best solution will cater to the specific needs of your environment and provide you with a level of service that allows your own help desk support to sit back and relax.  A happy help desk is a productive help desk.

Happy Help Desk Support

Help desk support is an important consideration for any environment.  We live in a technological revolution – constantly growing and evolving, and we need experts who can assist with major issues and provide us with much needed support.  Derailing help desk support for something as silly as a slew of forgotten passwords just doesn’t make sense.  Get your environment what it needs with SSO and SSPR, and get your overworked help desk support back on track for the more important things in life.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

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Christopher Perry

Author: Christopher Perry

Christopher is the Account Manager and primary content generator here at PistolStar, Inc. He has a Master’s Degree in English from SUNY Albany, and enjoys reading and writing about all things: especially poetry, science fiction and fantasy. Christopher’s daily tasks see him using his customer service and IT experience to improve written content for PistolStar, Inc., while working with customers to provide the best experience possible.

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