Business Hardware

5 Annoying Help Desk Calls - And How to Banish Them

The help desk is a hotbed of activity these days.

Despite the average person's growing technical acumen, workers still rely on corporate help when systems crash, applications bewilder and any number of other tech-related mishaps occur.

In fact, reliance on the help desk is actually increasing. HDI, the IT service and technical support association, reported in its 2011 Support Center Practices & Salary Report that 68% of support centers saw an increase in ticket volume in 2011.

What those figures don't show are the number of calls that could be handled better. Help desk managers know what we're talking about -- those calls that just won't go away, the kind of persistent questions that bog down support staff and keep more critical problems at the back of the queue.

"Eliminating irritating calls [completely] is never going to happen, so the goal is how do you stop as much of this from happening as you can, because it costs a lot of money to handle these calls," said HDI managing director Craig Baxter.

To help with that quest, Computerworld checked with the experts to compile a list of the five most persistent types of help desk calls and what organizations can do to get them under control.

Password reset

An HDI survey of 339 respondents showed that one-third of support centers reported that more than 30% of their tickets were related to password resets -- despite the fact that 69% of survey respondents allow customers to reset at least some of their passwords without help from the help desk.

That jibes with the experience of Ken Hayes, director of continual service improvement at Technisource Inc., a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., staffing and solutions firm, who says one of his clients had 25% of its calls related to password resets -- even though the firm had a self-service option available.

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