Actionable Data: Best Practices for Making the Most of Help Desk Reporting

With increasing competition in the market, customer service has become a critical factor in determining the success of a business. While help desks play an important role in enhancing levels of customer satisfaction, they are not an end in themselves. The role of a help desk is not just to provide support but to refine business process to make them better in addition to improving the customer experience. This is where help desk reporting plays a huge role. Help desk software can generate lots of information, but this information must be turned into a report that is actionable–a report that provides focused information that leads to action. To create help desk reporting that is actionable, a few critical points must be kept in mind.

A report must have a goal. The purpose of the report should be clearly defined and all the data should be presented in such a manner that the inputs required for making decisions are available. In the case of help desk reports, it is common for too much information to be provided in one report. An actionable report must be direct and to the point with only the relevant metrics or Key Performance Indicators provided. If the goal is to improve the user interface, user experience should be documented and problem areas defined with improvement options. Information that validates the report but does not assist in the decision making process should be confined to annexures.

The metrics used in help desk reporting must mean something. It is not enough to state in a report that there was a 10% increase in service requests over the last month. That by itself means nothing unless it is related to the cause. Make sure that the help desk reports offer valuable and relevant information.

Keeping reports updated is important. Is the issue being covered totally new or has the outcome been noted previously? The chain of events that caused the current issue must be traced. Without this tracking, you may get only a short-term fix, since the underlying cause may still be unknown. Finding the root of the problem can eliminate problems in the future.

Help desk reporting must also take external factors into account. Was a spike in service requests caused by a new product that has unexpected set up or installation problems? Noting these factors and reporting them will be helpful to all departments of the business.

Help desk reporting is of no value unless it is actionable. This means that it provides actionable intelligence that enables decisions to be made.  Tracking problems and reporting these problems will help companies move on and avoid other issues.