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Taming the Help Desk. Geoffrey Sperl Wayne State University ac4434@wayne.edu http://computing.wayne.edu/Help_Desk. tame |tām|. (from the New Oxford American Dictionary , 2nd Edition and the Oxford American Writers Thesaurus ) definition

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Taming the help desk
Taming the Help Desk

Geoffrey Sperl

Wayne State University



Tame t m
tame |tām|

  • (from the New Oxford American Dictionary, 2nd Edition and the Oxford American Writers Thesaurus)

  • definition

  • verb [trans.] (often be tamed)domesticate (an animal) : wild rabbits can be kept in captivity and eventually tamed.

    • make less powerful and easier to control : the battle to tame inflation.

    • cultivate (land or wilderness).

  • synonyms

  • 1 wild rabbits can be tamed DOMESTICATE, break, train, master, subdue.2 she learned to tame her emotions SUBDUE, curb, control, calm, master, moderate, overcome, discipline, suppress, repress, mellow, temper, soften, bridle, get a grip on; informal lick.

Use four steps
Use four steps

  • Plan

  • Train

  • Lead

  • Review

What are the staff s and your needs
What are the staff’s and your needs?

  • What resources do you need?

  • What does the organization need?

  • What gaps can you fill (internal & external)?

Training must start at hiring
Training must start at hiring

  • Good hiring processes are always step one to success.

    • Treat the hiring process like they are applying for a “real job.”

    • Actually read their application materials.

    • Test the prospective employee at the outset to know what they can contribute.

    • Determine if the prospective employee has the ability to work successfully within a service organization

    • Set the organization’s ground rules at the hiring.

Train using two prongs
Train using two prongs

Second Prong: Dynamic

instant messaging



observing/recording calls

First Prong: Structured


ground rules

written processes

written policies

written service levels

written lists of supported products

Accept it you can t train for everything

Accept it: You can’t train for everything

If a major unforeseen issue occurs, incorporate it into later training.

If it’s not big, don’t overcrowd the important training.

Use knowledgebases to cover small training issues.

Sure it s a dictatorship
Sure, it’s a dictatorship

  • ...but it must be a participatory one.

  • Encourage and solicit input and buy-in from your staff during decision-making processes

  • Allow for, and accept, dissenting opinions, but make it known that there has to be sensible justification for you to change your decision.

  • Have an “Open Door” policy and stick with it.

It s not who your boss is but whose boss you are
It’s not who your boss is, but whose boss you are

  • Your staff reflects your abilities as a leader both when they are complimented and when they are wrong.

  • People look to their boss to be their leader. Lead them.

Are you meddling
Are you meddling?

  • Was the training you supplied insufficient?

  • Are your standards unrealistic?

  • Are your employees unable to meet the set standards?

Is everyone working optimally
Is everyone working optimally?

  • Do you need to delegate more work to your staff?

  • Do you need to add training?

  • Do you need to reassign someone to another duty?

  • Do you need to let go of an employee?

To recap
To Recap:

  • Wet hair, lather, rinse, repeat.*

  • * Most forget to repeat - don’t.

The end thank you
The End & Thank You

Geoffrey Sperl

Wayne State University