Help-Desk Support Meets Worker Expectations - InformationWeek
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Paul Travis
Paul Travis

Help-Desk Support Meets Worker Expectations

Every user of business technology runs into problems, whether it's frozen computer screens, slow-running applications, or viruses and worms. When rebooting the computer doesn't solve the problem, that's when most of us call the help desk.

The good news for IT managers and help-desk personnel is that most workers seem satisfied with the assistance they get from their companies' help desks, according to a survey of 2,138 technology users by Forrester Research. The bad news is that there's plenty of room for improvement. A majority of those surveyed say they're satisfied with their companies' help-desk and support services, and only 7% say they're dissatisfied. But four in 10 are "on the fence," meaning they think the service they're getting isn't as good as it could be.

Support Appraisal pie chartOnly 38% of those surveyed rank help-desk support as very important, which isn't a surprise since the majority of them called for assistance once a month or less. Forrester surveyed a wide range of workers, and more than two-thirds use IT products and services for at least five hours a day. About one-third are described as technology influencers; they're managers or executives who are involved in IT budgets and purchases. Around 32% work in manufacturing, 28% work in public service, and 19% work in business services. Only those working for companies with at least 500 employees participated in the survey.

A majority of respondents say they're satisfied with help-desk personnel's availability, promptness, expertise, and ability to resolve problems. Help-desk personnel got the highest marks for courtesy, with 76% of those surveyed saying they're satisfied on that point.

Still, help-desk support ranked at the bottom of users' list of satisfaction and importance when compared with desktop technologies, a corporate intranet, and the ability to access systems remotely.

What support changes is your company making to help employees work more efficiently?

Paul Travis
News Editor

Ability Assessment bar chart
Ability Assessment

How satisfied are you with your company's help desk in the following areas?

The percentage of surveyed users who are satisfied with the courtesy of the help desk is 76%; promptness of copier and printer repair, 55%; expertise of the help-desk staff, 53%; ability to resolve requests in a timely manner, 53%; ability to resolve requests the first time, 51%; and timeliness of updates regarding the status of requests, 49%.

Ready When You Are pie chartReady When You Are

How satisfied are you with the availability of your company's IT help-desk staff?

For many users of technology, the key issue when it comes to help-desk and support services is availability. Having expert troubleshooters doesn't do a company any good if those folks aren't available when a problem crops up. That's not a major problem: Only 6% of the 2,138 technology users polled say they're dissatisfied with the availability of help-desk personnel. Some 55% report they're satisfied, while around 39% say they're neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.

Infrequent Contact pie chartInfrequent Contact

How frequently do you use your company's IT help-desk and support services?

It may be that technology users are having fewer problems with their PCs. They're not calling the help desk all that often. Fewer than one in 10 technology users surveyed say they use their company's IT help-desk and support services on a weekly basis. The largest group--nearly one-third--only ask for help from their IT support staff once every couple of months.

Training Lacking bar chartTraining Lacking

Do you receive effective training on the use of business-application software?

Technology users don't think they're getting enough training in the software they use at work, whether it's packaged applications or custom-developed apps. When asked about packaged apps, only 7% strongly agree with the statement that they get effective training, 26% agree, and 31% somewhat agree. That leaves 36% who disagree to some extent or another. A higher percentage of the technology users surveyed had positive feelings about their training on custom-developed applications, but 30% still didn't think their training was effective on those apps.

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