The primary goals of the IT help desk are to assist end-users, solve problems and maximize technology value. These goals cannot be met unless and until help desk services are fully utilized. Success depends upon acceptance and awareness. Acceptance is derived from service quality and acquired credibility, while awareness comes from active marketing and engaged end-users. Read on to learn how to deliver both.
Help desk services only have value if they are being used. When a help desk is functioning properly, it is able to assist end-users with regard to technology usage, and also solve problems (either on the spot or through appropriate escalation). A properly functioning help desk promotes productivity, saves money and becomes a central repository of actual “experience” to improve future technology plans and decision making.
To realize all these benefits, end-users must believe that the help desk is capable of providing the required assistance. That belief comes from actual experience and the quality of the services provided. To realize “acceptance”, help desk services must be provided in a manner consistent with the overall strategic IT management vision.
Awareness is equally important. If the end-user community is not sufficiently aware of the help desk mission, and the services provided, it is unlikely that utilization and “acceptance” goals can be met. This is the purpose of a help desk “marketing program”.
The marketing goal is simple - to ensure that all end-users have been fully informed of all available the help desk services and how these services are to be requested and utilized. Beyond the basics of communication and information sharing, internal marketing efforts must also seek to generate interest and enthusiasm for the services that the help desk provides. There are (3) keys to marketing program development and success:
The first step in planning and developing an effective marketing program is to evaluate current help desk value and visibility. To start, you need to ask and answer the following defining questions:
The answers to these key questions will establish the scope and purpose of the help desk marketing effort, establishing prioritized needs and related program objectives. These needs and objectives can then be translated into actual program deliverables.
A "Help Desk Services Handbook" is the primary program deliverable used to market help desk services, promoting both acceptance and awareness. This handbook should be an established organizational mandate, institutionalized by the strategic IT management vision, to be given out to all employees (to be included as part of any new employee orientation).While specifics will vary according to individual circumstances, the handbook deliverable should incorporate the following components:
In addition to a published handbook, regularly published newsletters are another key marketing program deliverable, used to reinforce handbook information, provide new information, and promote help desk services. Newsletters should be produced on a scheduled basis (electronic and/or print depending on individual needs and budgets), to accomplish the following:
Positive and sustained “visibility” is the key to help desk service awareness (and ultimately acceptance). Visibility techniques can be used during marketing program launch and execution to ensure that the end-user community (both key individuals and at-large) are sufficiently engaged in the help desk service process. Here are a few key tips and techniques:
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