When you are in charge of a help desk support queue, few things will cause you more anxiety than a ticket queue spiraling out of control. Once you start to descend that slippery slope, it takes a lot of effort to get things back to manageable levels again. In some cases, an overflowing queue can persist for weeks and even months.
Managing ticket queues certainly isn’t easy especially because the problems end users raise aren’t homogenous. You can’t simply close them all in one fell swoop. However, you can keep your ticket queue under control by staying organized and developing a process that accelerates resolution times. Here’s how.
1. lassify Users and Requests
The equality of all men and women is an ideal all liberal democracies subscribe to. While we may all be created equal, we do have individuals whose stature demands they receive special attention in certain circumstances. We refer to them as VIPs and they are found in workplaces everywhere too.
As a help desk agent, you’d want to handle tickets on a first-come first-served basis. This isn’t practical though since some tickets are inherently more urgent than others not just due to the status of the end user but also because of the potential consequences if the ticket isn’t closed fast.
Ideally, your ticket system should use color codes that indicate ticket priority based on who raised it and the nature of the problem.
2. Empower Agents
To quickly resolve problems and close tickets, your help desk agents need knowledge, tools and authority. The better equipped agents are, the more likely they are to close tickets fast. Organize regular training for agents that covers both the technical and non-technical aspects of successfully managing a tech support ticket queue. Make available knowledge portals that agents can quickly refer to for solutions to the most common problems.
Provide the right tools such as workflow applications, remote support software, and SMS alerts for tickets almost overdue. Give agents the power to make most decisions needed to close a ticket. They shouldn’t have to seek approval from their manager for every single solution they propose to an end user.
3. Monitor Ticket Status
Monitoring ticket status is crucial. Failure to do so is one of the fastest routes to an overflowing ticket queue. Tickets go unattended, agents duplicate one another’s efforts, users are exasperated and high priority issues are drowned in the sea of low and medium priority tickets.
Visual cues make it easier to keep tickets moving and quickly catch a glance of how well the help desk team is doing. Develop rules for handling each type of ticket. For example, new tickets must be responded to immediately to let the user know the issue has been acknowledged and is being acted on.
Help desk agents are hired to tackle computer and system problems. It’s therefore vital that you ensure nearly all of an agent’s working hours are devoted toward this goal. The best way to do that is workflow and process automation. Getting as many tedious activities as you can out of the way (especially those that do not directly involve troubleshooting and problem-solving) gives agents more time to concentrate on what really matters.
Automation eliminates manual intervention, reduces human error, bolsters consistency and speeds up ticket closure. Examples of automation include sending an email alert to the help desk manager when a ticket is overdue or assigning every ticket from a particular department to a specific agent.
5. Detailed Description of Ticket
The depth and quality of information accompanying each ticket directly affects how quickly a ticket can be closed. The more detailed ticket description, the faster an agent can get past the troubleshooting and onto a solution that works.
Things like user name, department, location, problem category, nature of problem, problem duration and any communication had with agents so far, are all useful to know.
Strictly speaking, there isn’t one way to manage a help desk ticket queue. While the above tips are helpful, keep an open mind and tailor your queue management process to your organization’s unique circumstances.