Have a Ticket System
Large companies that are offering support to their vast client pool will often use a ticketing system to keep track of tasks and ensure that all issues are addressed in due course. Even for internal support, a ticket system allows for increased organization and ensures that techs are not overwhelmed but can work from an orderly plan. The most essential component of a functioning ticket system is the function that automatically responds with a ticket number and allows for a note field so any important observations or notes from the tech can be added to the ticket’s progress box.
...Or At Least a Dedicated Email Address
Then there are some companies that may prefer to not work with a ticket system or lack the resources for such a component. In these cases a dedicated email system will allow all questions and support issues to be handled and can feature a simple auto-responder for all incoming emails. An email system is perfect for IT businesses.
Send Fewer Emails
Accomplish as much as you can in a single email. One of the major problems IT personnel can have is becoming consumed in sending our innumerable emails and messages going back and forth. It often goes like this. The client says something like “I can’t open my email.” And the tech, support sends back a quick note, “which device are you using?”
“My Laptop”, says the next email. “And you operating device?” is the fast response. This kind of communication can go back and forth all day.
Instead of this, IT should be working to put all possible information and potential solutions into a single email, which come is one tidy response. Taking the time to respond to the client in full detail can do much to cut back on the back-and-forth conversation with the client.
Provide Info About Known Bugs
In your FAQ section there should be a list of all “Known Bugs” or a list of issues that more than a couple users have reported. By including the specifics and issues of these particular issues and what can be done to avoid them, the IT will have much fewer issues with clients facing the same problem over and over again.
Create a Forum
For larger organizations with more extensive categories to address, a forum provides a suitable platform for seeking and finding solutions to problems. Here employees may be able to speak with each other and solve issues mutually.
While it does seem logical to respond with an impersonal sign off like “regards from your Tech Support Team” when dealing with customer questions, this can be ineffective and even annoying to clients. To many clients this sounds like a way of spreading the lack of responsibility across the department and lurking in anonymity. Take the opposite approach for a better connection with your valued clients. If the IT support staff respond with their name they create a trust with the client and the client feels they have a connection within the company for whenever they need help.
Provide a Time Frame
Make it a point to let your client know exactly when their issues will be taken care of. It does seem obvious but most often this small detail is left out in the broader order of things. But, not only does the ETA of a solution give the client peace of mind, but it provides a time stamp and strengthens the paper trail for the next time issues like this arise.
Any department within an organization that is seeking to improve its process should be consistently seeking feedback from their contact points within and without. After providing support, there should be a way for the employee to provide feedback on the service they were provided.
Don't Tolerate Abuse
Small issues and repetitive problems are triggers for frustration and tension and this is especially true in those high pressure jobs. This often leads to frustrations being vented on those responsible for providing solutions, like the IT staff. While many executive level personnel consider the IT staff subordinates, they are not slaves or servants. IT managers need to make sure that those executives that speak or behave inappropriately or less than professionally are directed to HR.
This is one department where a little cordiality and common courtesy go an especially long way. It is easy to become brusque or dismissive after hearing the same issue for the umpteenth time, but maintaining the same professional charm and attentive tone when responding to the first request of the day and the 763rd is a true sign of professionalism.