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As your first line of customer support, your help desk needs to be a finely tuned machine—agile and ready to handle any technical issues the customer throws its way. To keep your team focusing on priorities rather than trying to determine which issues are urgent, you need a solid inbound and outbound ticketing process, complete with escalation procedures and ticket resolution procedures.

Without an efficient help desk, you'll drown in tickets. "We were bleeding engineering time. Being a small support organization was very painful," said Charles Berry, owner of Total Care IT, of his company's situation.

At end of the day, it's more about capturing time you're already working. Many times, technology service providers are working hours they're not billing for because they don't have a platform with which to effectively track time.

"I would throw out a lot of time because I didn't know how to articulate or justify it," said James Riley, CEO of JNR Networks.

That's why it's essential to have a business management platform. You instantly become more billable, giving you an automated process through which to track time and manage service requests. Whether it be through call, chat, email, alert or portal, you have to find a way for tickets to be automatically created.

Keep customers—and your help desk—happy with these five tips:

Track Everything: Turn every customer request into a service request regardless of its origin—phone call, live chat, email, etc.

Ask Yourself the Right Questions: Do you have dedicated resources performing the help desk function? What are your inbound channels for customers to contact the help desk? What are your escalation procedures from the help desk to other teams (NOC and field engineering)? How do help desk resources communicate with customers?

Link Key Activities: To be successful, you must tie your entire service delivery process together by linking service delivery, field services, NOC monitoring, asset management, projects, contracts and billing. You must clearly define processes, so each service type knows when to jump in.

Focus on Vital Processes: We're human—mistakes happen, which is why it's important to have built-in workflow features to ping you when an activity sits untouched for too long. But your team has to follow set processes for it to work. Make sure your dispatcher is assigning resources to tickets and that those resources are updating the ticket as they work it.

Stop Inefficient Processes: For a business management system to streamline your operations, you have to use it. Eliminate having your techs contact the customer outside of the ticket or performing tasks without tracking their time so you can stay booked up, busy and billable.

Visit the ConnectWise blog for more tips from industry experts, and for a more in depth view of how to supercharge your help desk, download the eBook, Help Desk Management – Must-See Tips to Increase Your Efficiency.

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