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Help Desk Teamwork
The help desk can be thought of as a portal through which a company interfaces with its customers. Traditionally, customers have used the phone to call the help desk to request support. When they do, they often have questions. These can be either pre- or post-sales questions. Phone support has a number of drawbacks, however. First, customers may be passed through layers and layers of support personnel and each time need to re-explain the problem. Second, customers may have to leave messages and may not having any assurance that support personnel will address the message that hey are describing. Third, some customers may have to call back repeatedly to get the issue resolved. Fourth, customers may not be able to obtain important information such as pages or specifications. Finally, long waiting queues during new product launches and system upgrades can bother customers. Moreover, phone-based help desk teamwork can be fragmented and too segmented.

With the advent of e-mail and internet-based support systems, the situation has improved. However, without full email integration with a help desk system, there is a danger that the support process will move to the email system and a series of emails will flow between the customer and the support department. Histories of individual calls and related events or information about past calls resolutions may be lost and no archive will be created.

Fortunately, the nternet provides a medium for potential and existing customers to communicate directly with a supplier. It also allows them to review and often buy services on line. An Internet-based help desk complements the buying process and support process by giving the customers a direct route into the help desk. It also takes away the need for continually expanding the telephone call management systems. However, few companies have been able to fully exploit the potential this system can deliver.

The use of an Internet-based help desk is best facilitated by a team approach, since the Internet is available 24 hours a day. This is especially important in todays business world where support staff can frequently work late or customers/staff are based overseas and in different time zones. It is critical for personnel who staff online help desks to have good interpersonal skills and to be able to work well in a team environment. Strong interpersonal skills can calm disgruntled customers and regain lost goodwill. Support staff with these skills also create the foundation necessary for good teamwork since these types of people can ease communication and enhance personal interactions.

In order to run an online Help Desk 24 hours a day, every day of the week, support staff may need to hand off to another team member, or solicit input from another team member. These interactions require people who thrive in a team environment. Companies and call centers that want to build teamwork can implement several strategies. The first strategy involves changing the hiring process. Help desk employees should be screened for good interpersonal skills and experience as team members. The second strategy involves training. This strategy may include team-building retreats, workshops, and coaching sessions with experienced staff. Companies should also create and maintain open and clear channels of communication between all team members.

To maintain a good help desk team, bonuses and commissions should be awarded on the basis of team performance, not individual performance. Together, these strategies should promote a cohesive, tightly-knit customer support team for a company call center or help desk.


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