The foundation to building any support organization lies within the people and the best protocol in hiring the proper help desk staff.
In part 2, the discussion continues on the topic of Process. You could argue, that People and Technology are the gears of any support organization, if that's a fair analogy, then Process is the grease between those gears. It is what makes everything mesh smoothly. Without process, nothing works.
Process in a support organization needs to be "Predictable, and Repeatable." Without a predictable, repeatable process, you get inconsistency, and inconsistency is the death of any support organization. It needs to be predictable, for both those providing and those seeking support.
Let's take the prior first. When help desk agents have a predictable repeatable process, they know exactly what to expect each time they come to work. This typically lowers stress, which increases morale and productivity. This is the process of how they do their job, such as answering calls, providing information, documenting issues, etc. But it is also the process of how they are managed. Do agents get proper training, do they get recognized for a job well done?
All of these things done with repetition and predictability will lead to a more productive, and "happier" help desk. Which, by the way, leads to longer employee retention. Typically, help desks have a turnover rate of over 60%. Predictable processes can quickly cut turnover in half.
For those seeking support, a predictable repeatable process means the callers know what to expect when they call. They fully expect to provide the proper information, know what troubleshooting the agent will do, and know that their concern will be addressed in a short period of time. At GHDSi, we drive to a 70+% first call resolution rate, and that means the callers are often back to work quickly. When callers know what to expect, they are far more likely to call the help desk in the first place.
When they don't have a clear expectation of what to expect or they receive inconsistent treatment, they tend not to call the help desk and instead seek "underground support", usually from a co-worker, local IT staff, or worse yet, an internet support forum. Underground support robs productivity from others, and in the case of the support forum, if they download patches from the web, the risk of malware is drastically increased. In the end, all of these issues remain undocumented in any ticketing systems so that data can't be aggregated to determine if there's a larger systematic problem.
Lastly, process is important at an organizational level. At GHDSi, we have a daily management process for evaluating the effectiveness of the desk by reviewing those issues that were escalated from the help desk to other organizations. This review process identifies if we need to improve training, add to our knowledge base, or simply need to give agents access to systems that would allow resolution on the first call.