IT Credibility Challenge #4: Stop Thinking of Your Helpdesk as a Helpdesk

What do you want to offer your users that come by? What impression should they leave with? Here are some ideas:

User support area: Users will come to your helpdesk to either get help with a problem they are having, or request IT support for something they need not “submit a trouble ticket” or “log an incident”. These are IT-speak. Get them out of your user interface.

That’s is a good start. Now add two category titles that are action statements:

  • “Get help with an IT problem”; and

  • “Request an IT service”.

Under these two category titles list your set of services in the names that the business has defined/approved. Then anyone that comes here will easily be able to find what they are looking for.

If you are concerned that tickets will get incorrectly routed with this level of abstraction, don’t be. It will only take one step to correct it if it is wrong. In reality, the users are more likely to pick incorrectly from a list of IT-oriented labels anyway, so your chances of correct routing on the first step may even go up.

SLA reporting area: Use some of the real estate to report on SLA performance trends for key business services. Whenever someone comes for help, they will see you are delivering on what you said you would do.

Schedule of upcoming IT projects area: Provide a timeline for new project rollouts, maintenance upgrades, switchovers to a new technology, etc. That will let people know when they might expect good things or be prepared for outages. Giving them a heads up will also let you know before hand if you have scheduled something with particularly bad timing for the business, so you’ll avoid shooting yourself in the foot.

Feedback area: Have a place on your website that allows users to give you feedback—and make sure it works. I’m amazed at how many times I have bad experience with a website and clicked to “give feedback”, but then there is a technical or system problem which prevents me from actually sending then the feedback.

Make this easy, and respond to the comments.

“If you need to talk to a human” area: Have a list of contact numbers for people who need to talk to a human. Don’t make it hard to find as a way to discourage people from calling. One angry executive with an IT emergency who can’t find someone to talk to before a customer presentation can do a lot of damage to your credibility.

If you have made your other interfaces consistent and easy to use, you won’t get too many phone calls, and you will get the ones you need to get.


Don’t leave your company’s perception of your helpdesk to chance. By thinking of your helpdesk as your “storefront”, you will be able to create a user environment which is useful, effective, and easy to deal with, and it will become a primary tool for establishing and maintaining your credibility.

Patty is the CEO of Azzarello Group which works with companies to develop and motivate their top performers and with individuals to create success in their business and career. At 33, she was the youngest general manager at HP. She ran a $1B software IT management business at the age of 35 and was a CEO for the first time at the age of 38. She has been working with CIO’s for many years.