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Help Desk Efficiency and Software
Although corporate executives often overlook the help desk, help desks must be addressed as a key part of customer relations and conflict resolutions measures within any company. A less than exceptional help desk can have a marked impact on a businesss bottom line, resulting in high call abandonment rates, low customer satisfaction ratings and costly contact resolution rates. A well run help desk can actually become a critical element in a companys overall appeal to its customers and provide a substantial return on investment, which is extremely important for senior management.

Help desk costs can be viewed in terms of how much return on investment they generate. There are several factors that can improve help desk functionality and add value to overall operations. These factors include raising first contact resolution, lowering the volume of escalated or dispatched requests, lowering employee turnover at the help desk, lowering the cost to customers who have technology issues, and reducing the incidence of support duplication within the company.

The cost of first contact resolution is one of the key cost drivers that can substantially affect the overall inherent value of help desk operations in the company these help desks support. For many companies, the average cost per request or service interaction is around $25 in an environment where requests are resolved at the help desk. Since those costs bcome substantially higher if the call must be escalated beyond first contact (up to a couple of hundred dollars or more per request), the help desk should aim to resolve at least 80 percent of all requests made. By implementing automated solutions that cut down on first call costs and providing employee training that focuses on the skills necessary to resolve complaints on a first call basis, companies can lower their costs substantially. For the best efficiency rates, a help desk must be able to quickly help customers to resolve their own issues through self-service solutions as well as deal efficiently and quickly with the calls that must be escalated beyond the self-service level.

Lowering employee turnover at the help desk is a similarly cost saving measure. The cost of recruitment (which includes management time to review resumes and engage in an interview process), training, lost productivity while a new employee is learning the ropes, coupled with the cost of temporary personnel to fill the gap between old and new employees, can cost between 75-150 percent of a help desk professionals salary. Since these costs are so high, it makes sense for companies to try to retain their employees or keep them for a long time. Retention options include additional training, professional certification, flexible work schedules and other employee satisfaction measures.

Technology problems cost the customer time and money as well. Each time the customers employee has to take time out to contact the help desk, there is an additional cost accrued. The quicker requests are resolved, the lower the cost to customers. Oftentimes, the best way to reduce customer time in seeking a resolution, involves web-enabled self-service solutions and software, which can provide one of the best return on investment scenarios.

Situations in which duplicative help desk efforts are taking place in different locations or departments throughout a company can create additional costs in terms of employee time and customer time. Many large organizations can consolidate their various help desk functions into one centralized location and improve efficiency and consistency, as well as save hundreds of thousands of dollars. By implementing some of these tactics, companies can improve efficiency and lower overall costs.

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