IT Help Desk Practices You Should Know

By on February 17, 2021

Your Information Technology (IT) ticketing system manages requests. However, merely having help desk software doesn’t guarantee efficiency, quick resolutions, or satisfied customers. With a constant stream of incidents and a backlog of service requests to manage, it’s essential to know how to get the most out of your help desk.

Fortunately, there are some useful practices you can adopt to ensure you’re taking full advantage of your IT help desk investment. From automated ticket routing to customized reporting and service level agreements (SLAs), there are intuitive solutions for every level of your IT service management.

In this article, we’ll discuss five IT help desk best practices you can use to help achieve faster ticket resolution, optimal workflows, and higher customer satisfaction levels.

1. Direct Users to the Service Portal First

Employees are often used to picking up the phone to report an issue or shooting an email to an IT manager. However, directing them to a self-service portal before employees contact the support team can be beneficial.

First, by using the help desk service portal, employees can access a knowledge base to find answers to their questions and resolve issues without a technician. They can also track their ticket requests without contacting IT personnel for updates, boosting visibility and reducing unnecessary back-and-forth communication.

SolarWinds Service Desk portal
© 2021 SolarWinds Worldwide, LLC. All rights reserved.

By providing users with pre-defined submission forms, submitting incidents/service requests through a portal can allow IT to collect thorough and more accurate data upfront compared to emailing a support issue to IT and requiring back-and-forth communication to gather details like hardware device, software installed, and location. Using the service portal can also save time. It can help streamlines the resolution process by automatically routing tickets to the appropriate technicians or teams. For example, if a user submits an incident related to their laptop, the ticket can be automatically routed to a hardware support expert or team. This can prevent unnecessary bottlenecks and wait times.

Finally, a help desk service portal serves as a centralized hub of operations. More specifically:

  • Technicians can access the information they need to complete the required services
  • Users have a full view of their ticket submission status and history
  • Managers have a complete view of system operations

Encouraging service portal adoption benefits employees and IT technicians alike by improving communication and visibility, streamlining resolutions, and providing a one-stop shop for access to resources.

2. Take Advantage of Automation for Efficiency

Ideally, your IT help desk management system will let you automate a variety of processes for service requests, incident management, and escalating tickets, which can help free up technicians.

When you use an automated ticketing system, incident requests won’t stall in a general queue. Instead, they’ll be promptly routed to the appropriate team or technician based on the data collected at the time of submission–especially if users are empowered to submit incidents through the service portal.

You can also automate event alerts, turning them into IT ticket requests for expediency. Another option is to implement protocols to convert email requests into system tickets.

With the right automation capabilities, your help desk solution can save you time, improve how you manage workflows, and make it easier to empower end users with the technology and tools they rely on daily. Using software that offers a range of customizations will make it easier to leverage automation to suit your organization’s specific needs.

3. Use Customized Reporting to Make Informed Decisions

It’s one thing to know that your team is complaining about a heavy workload, but another to be able to understand what’s causing the strain. Perhaps you’ve noticed a higher number of incidents originating from a particular department. What’s behind the sudden increase? There’s no need to guess or assume if you’re using help desk software.

Your IT service management system is built to collect data on incident types, peak request times, users, equipment, time spent on resolving each incident, and more. When generated and compiled into easy-to-understand reports, this information can help you identify where system demand is coming from and why.

SolarWinds WebHelpDesk software
© 2021 SolarWinds Worldwide, LLC. All rights reserved.

Customized reporting lets you access the information you need, exactly when you need it. You can use it to pinpoint and evaluate Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), such as first response times, issue resolution rates, Service Level Agreement (SLA) compliance, and more.

Built-in reports can also help you assess how you’re performing against benchmarks. The real-time data provided can inform short- and long-range planning.

4. Define Your Service Catalog to Streamline Operations

Your service catalog is a comprehensive library or ‘menu’ of services offered. Identifying and standardizing this resource can save time and boost performance, by clearly defining IT help desk workflows.

Setting up a service catalog can also give a clearer view of your department’s responsibilities and tasks, detailing each process and showing interdependencies. This insight can help you:

  • Manage requirements to avoid unnecessary wait times
  • Simplify and automate otherwise complex workflows
  • Improve the efficiency and ease of service delivery

Building a service catalog for your IT help desk can also help streamline and formalize processes, to ensure that the appropriate parties are involved at the right time. Ultimately, this can increase customer satisfaction.

Adding a service catalog can also help you maintain compliance and manage company-wide service requirements for better efficiency and SLA management.

5. Employ Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for Clarity

Another IT help desk best practice that can simplify and expedite ticket resolution is integrating SLAs. SLA management facilitates customer satisfaction and acceptable job performance by detailing the level of assistance required for each targeted service.

It also fosters transparency and accountability. For example, by employing SLAs, you could require your help desk team to resolve a certain percentage of tickets or respond to support requests within a defined period. Stipulating SLAs in advance brings clarity down to a granular level as you define the scope, set actions, and determine thresholds.

These agreements can make it easier to determine what gets prioritized and measured, as well as to monitor and track SLA breaches. Technicians, users, and managers will know where things stand, using a predetermined objective measurement so no one is caught off guard.

SLAs aren’t just for mid-size or large companies. No matter the size, your IT department can benefit from the clarity these agreements bring. Why not circumvent potential conflicts or disgruntled users by clarifying expectations and performance levels up front? Using a modern IT help desk solution can make this easier to achieve.


A help desk management tool can assist you in navigating the challenges of today’s IT environments. However, to get the most out of it, it’s important to know how to properly use this software.

As we discussed in this post, adhering to the following five best practices will help you maximize your service with better efficiency, reduced costs, and overall higher customer satisfaction levels:

  1. Direct users to the service portal first.
  2. Take advantage of automation for efficiency.
  3. Use customized reporting to make informed decisions.
  4. Define your service catalog to streamline operations.
  5. Employ Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for clarity. 

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