D'Arcy Gue

Help Desk: What Good Is a “Best Practice”?

February 12, 2015

Healthcare IT, IT Service Desk 3 Minute Read

Healthcare help desk / service desk providers consistently tout the term “best practices” on their web sites. How many of us understand this distinction? How many vendors actually have — and diligently use — “best practices?” It’s time to clarify – especially if your hospital organization is examining options for improving its help desk services. A best practice can be defined as a method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those achieved with other means, and that is used as a benchmark. Think of the last time you were selecting a vendor to perform services for you. Did you ever hear: “We have a best practice for that?” Have you ever said to yourself, or better yet to your vendor, then, show it to me? If you have asked and didn’t get a substantive response,  read on…. In our 20+ years as a hospital IT services company we have collaboratively leveraged our real experiences across our customer base, with our customers’ participation, to compile our top best practices. These provide the foundation of our standard service offering. Every best practice must create one (preferably more) of the following impacts:

  • Improve quality
  • Improve return on investment through decreased training time or handle times
  • Increase first call resolution
  • Increase customer satisfaction
  • Increase improvements to our knowledge base and its utilization.

While the Help Desk Institute and the Service Desk Institute offer standards, certifications and education, these groups do not provide any official governance of best practices. Your organization should have an oversight body that is responsible to ensure that your best practices meet one or more of the above criteria. This may be just one person, but to ensure proper checks and balances, that person or group should work with a learning development expert in your organization, or some other appropriate individual who will be involved in the development, review and dissemination of both new and revised best practices. Having documented, enforced best practices will position your support organization for the future, and greatly increase your users’ satisfaction today. TCO Best Practicepng       The “Total Contact Ownership” best practice defined above, is a good example of a best practice of some service desks, especially those in an outsourced model — but certainly not all. This is an important best practice: it has an immediate impact on client satisfaction and a longterm impact on ROI. It provides for ownership of non-first contact resolution (FCR) issues by the service desk all the way through second level solver groups, to ensure final resolution. This best practice ensures that service requests don’t get lost or dropped through the resolution process, and that users are genuinely satisfied with the results. In addition, another benefit is realized, as the service desk agent follows the resolution through to completion. In that process, he or she is able to gather new knowledge, which will be harnessed for future utilization with similar recurring problems. This  leads to better FCR in the future, which then leads to more client satisfaction. Thus, if your agents are properly trained on the impact this best practice will have, implementing it should provide at least two opportunities to improve and increase customer satisfaction — and ROI. PHS Best Practices Your service desk vendor or your internal support organization should be reviewing their processes quarterly for ways to implement and deliver new best practices. Examples of other best practices are listed at left. Service desk vendors should be particularly focused on the objective of improving ROI for their hospital clients. We provide weekly “Client Care” meetings with every client, where we share input — including soliciting client comments, concerns, information about their internal systems changes, etc. This interactive (and highly popular) program enables us, through our thought leadership and experience, to refine and improve our best practices in ways that can directly improve the hospital’s ROI. If your vendor/partner cannot provide you a defined best practice, will they deliver it? Ask them for it! Ask us!

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