Incident Management - how good are you at taking calls? (cont)

This post follows on from my previous post about call handling.

In this post, I want to talk about training for the ‘front-line’ members of the Helpdesk or Service Desk, particularly when you are preparing new staff for handling incoming Incidents from customers.

Firstly, make sure that they can use your ITSM software tool. You don’t always have to call your software vendor – just make sure that you take a structured approach if you do this in-house.

ITSM Software tool training

Don’t : sit the new helpdesk member of staff next to an experienced employee and expect them to be trained.

Do: Create a list of things the new helpdesk staffer needs to be able to do during call logging. For instance, if you are a Serio user, I’d expect the following to be on the list:

  • Select the customer based on something other than Surname
  • Understand (and be able to explain) what fields like Issue Type and Problem Area are
  • How to access the spell checker
  • How to select an Item from the CMDB
  • How to over-ride any default Priorities you’ve set-up.
  • How to use Actions How to link documents
  • How to process new Incidents that might be placed in the Inbox.
  • How to use Serio Alerts.

Do: Prepare a series of workshops for the new employee.

Do: Prepare a series of workshops for the new employee.

Do: Provide a training system for the employee to use – don’t ask them to use the ‘live’ system. At Serio, we advise that you copy the live database to a test or training environment.

Do: Provide a separate training environment away from the main Helpdesk or Service Desk.

Call handling training

For me, this is the important bit. The first call handled by your new Helpdesk staff member should not be from a real customer. 

You should prepare a series of test calls and simulations and see how the new employee handles these. Make your test calls realistic, and increasing in complexity. Log the Incidents for each call first yourself.

Ask a peer to make the test calls – if managers make these, it can sometimes make people too nervous.

It will be pretty obvious is more work is needed, but you can consider the following in assessing results:

- How confident did your new employee sound?

- Did they control the call?

- Was everything captured that you expected to be captured?

- How do the Incidents logged compare to those you logged yourself? Explain any differences you find carefully and patiently.

In the post that started this thread I mentioned backup, and I think you need backup in the form of a Call Handling Script – something that outlines the information we expect to get on each Incident we log, and the order in which the information is obtained.

I’ll post more on this subject later.