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A few years back, while facilitating a workshop for a CNC machine builder, it became apparent why the “Helpdesk” was losing respect within their organization. Their team consisted of 12 experienced technicians, who referred to themselves simply as “The Desk". They had collectively removed the word “Help" from their name and were daily demonstrating negative behaviors, such as delayed assistance, growing impatience, and a general disregard for internal customers. The team’s actions were bringing down morale and beginning to impact business decisions. In fact, at the time of our event, their leadership team was weighing whether or not to outsource the department. So, how do you prevent this from happening with your own Helpdesk?

The A, B, Cs of Bringing “Help” Back into Perspective

The key to a good Helpdesk is to remember the ABCs of customer service:

  • Accountability begins with action.
  • Be ready to communicate through multiple channels.
  • Continuous learning and growth.


In the above example, their department began to operate on the belief that they were above being a “Helpdesk”. The collective “Desk” believed they did not have to help, assist, or be of support. As the IT Helpdesk, it should have been obvious that their daily tasks consisted of helping to guide customers through resets, computer and equipment malfunctions, and teaching the basics of the latest software downloads. It was clear that improving and maintaining customer satisfaction wasn’t happening, it needed to be a deliberate and intentional skill set. Does your team need to reinforce the importance of your customer’s experience to the organization?            

Be Ready

As the complexity in communications continued to grow, the team saw an increasing variety of customer requests through multiple sources: telephone, intra-web contact, text, and chat. With all of these choices, a number of decisions began to bubble up regarding the best channel of response and which one would contribute to the best time to resolution for the team. During our training event, the team was able to identify a few gaps they'd need to address in order to drive a shorter time to resolution. They decided to develop standards for how to operate, creating an awareness within the group of how and why partnering with customers is a better practice, as well as how they were going to choose to change less than cooperative behaviors. How well does your team handle their communications and channel choice with your customers?    

Continuous Learning and Growth

This event also led the team to naturally challenged a few concepts. As we moved through discussions and practice, the team eventually discovered a renewed commitment to brush up their skill sets and reform old habits to rebuild their capabilities. Their technical proficiency wasn't going to save their jobs, but being professional, courteous, and polite would prove to go a long way in improving morale and their internal reputation. Just as the military puts new recruits through a boot camp, preparing for the elements of service is best when it is a regularly scheduled event. Service is physically, mentally and emotionally demanding. What does your team need to learn, practice and/or upgrade to keep both our employees and customers satisfied?      

Supporting others is not an easy task. It has been, and continues to be, one of the toughest roles and as touchpoints grow more numerous. After all, it’s never how much you know, it’s how well you can explain information to others that counts.

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Danielle Miller

About Author Danielle Miller

Danielle Miller is the Client Experience SME and Product Manager for Miller Heiman Group. As a customer-focused individual, Danielle has spent her career involved in the direct frontline connections with customers, serving clients in all aspects of training, design, development, and facilitation.

Danielle strives to build innovative solutions bringing constructive business and human-level solutions while aiming for the next level of performance. Danielle earned her master's degree in organizational leadership with an emphasis on innovation and change management. She has been in a training management role for nearly two decades, designing, facilitating, and evaluating a variety of training programs for numerous organizations. Danielle supports organizational success by interacting with and developing strong cross-functional relationships with field experience in facilitation, instructional design, leadership development, employee engagement, talent management, and succession planning.