Helpdesk setup

Posted on 2006-06-16
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Hello Experts,

I am starting a new job soon on the helpdesk.
its a startup little company so the helpdesk will be starting from scratch.
Can anyone give me any tips or advice on setting up procedures, putting processes in place etc
They have an incident tracking tool purchase so that done.
I really would appreciate any advice you can give.

Thanks in Advance.
Question by:ANGELA11
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LVL 15

Assisted Solution

deepaknet earned 220 total points
ID: 16919428
There are a lot of opensource PHP helpdesk applications. Check out Hotscripts and sourceforge.net
LVL 10

Assisted Solution

daleoran earned 220 total points
ID: 16919549
Use cerberus

It's a fantastic helpdek script.
LVL 12

Assisted Solution

wstuph earned 320 total points
ID: 16919923
If you're the first person to work at a helpdesk at this company, than the most important thing you can do is try to document every single call as well as possible.  You want to set up some sort of knowledge base system so that when the next customer calls in with a similar problem to a previous customer, you already have the information available to you.

Without knowing the job itself it's hard to give specifics, but you want to also make sure you have a very clear escalation procedure set up.  At the small company I worked at before, technical questions that couldn't be answered by the help desk were answered by our QA/testing guy.  If he couldn't answer the question then it generally went to me, since I knew pretty much the whole system and could figure out most problems.  If I couldn't get it I went to the developers.

Sales questions went to the particular sales person first, then to the Sales Director, and then eventually to me again if nobody else could answer it. A clear escalation plan is very important, as well as how you plan to treat that customer in specific situations (call the customer back vs. keeping them on hold).

It's also very important to know how much leeway you have as a customer service rep - if you have the power to give credits or refunds or whatnot, if your industry requires such things.

Every time you have a question and have to go to someone higher up, document it, set it down as policy and stick with that policy in the future.  
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Assisted Solution

ieden earned 220 total points
ID: 16920383
Inventory is very important as well. Make sure that when a user calls in they actually work for the company and are not someone looking for info on how to break in. Refuse sales calls as a matter of policy. See if there is a software delivery tool to help make your life easier to track licenses and apply security patches like LanDesk or CA DSM.

Assisted Solution

maharlika earned 320 total points
ID: 16920913
Is there any other tech support, or are you on your own?  Is this internal to your company only or to outside customers? Most important things, from personal experience, are (1) to clarify expectations from end users (i.e. if you're the only tech support person, you can't spend an hour helping them format their word document, but you can show them where the online word help function is); (2) prioritize requests and stick to them.  Nothing worse than working on what you consider a critical issue and then some PHB overrides it because he has an "urgent" problem formatting his word document.  Make sure management has buy-in on both (1) and (2), because they're the ones that ultimately the end users will run to if they think they're not getting the support they need.

Assisted Solution

Booda2us earned 240 total points
ID: 16921149
Very good advice from everybody!  Documentation, Documentation! That way you can prove it wasn't something you did to screw things up. Repeat problems can be quickly diagnosed and fixed. Develop a Resource library, Technical Books, and websites!  There are a myriad of places to get answers for instance: http://carricksolutions.com/windowsxp.htm
 and one of the best places is doing a Google search.
You didn't mention your troubleshooting skills, try not to get overwhelmed in the science of it all, so that you overlook something simple.As a DSL Tech Support agent I had a client,( an older woman with no computer skills), trying to install PPPoE for 2 hours over the phone, with everything failing to function on the install. I finally asked her to remove the software CD from the machine and asked her which side was up..She said "The shiny side". I told her to turn it over and Voila!! Remember that...Booda2us

Assisted Solution

cbromley33 earned 240 total points
ID: 16923438
I'm going to echo the documentation and knowledgebase advice.  Create a knowledgebase of frequently asked questions, along with their solutions so that, in the event you move up in the company, or go elsewhere, the next person to come in has information to fall on.  It also makes your job easier because instead of troubleshooting every time, you have something to reference for issues you know you've dealt with before.

There are several ways to create a knowledgebase.  You can use various PHP scripts to do it on a webserver (maybe even making you answers available to everyone BEFORE they call in with a problem), you can create your own using Access or some other database.. or you can purchase software just for this.  One of my favorites from long ago was a product called Folio Views, which was similar to HTML, but more database like and fully indexed and searchable.  Nowadays, I think that product has been turned into Fast Folio which is the same thing, but with many more features now.

No matter what you do, document everything in a knowledgebase, and, if you have the authority/ability, into policy binders so that the helpdesk will grow without the chaos.

Accepted Solution

onlinerack earned 220 total points
ID: 16931904
check out desk pro  http://www.deskpro.com it is the best we found..... really nice

Author Comment

ID: 16941258
Hi Everyone,

Thank you all so much for you help and advise it has been a great help !!!
I really appreciate all the advice.

I guess the key things here are to set the boundaries as to what the SLA's will be
Document everything. Put Policys in place.
Setup a knowledge base...but the way i couldnt find anything on Folio Views ?

Again thank you all !!!


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