How our helpdesk team has improved workflows and customer experience
Uninterrupted attention and focus is paramount for the successful completion of web projects. But where do ad-hoc requests fall into that? Rather than working round the “could you please…” and “have you got 5 minutes?” which disrupt a project team’s flow and focus, we decided to change the way we work.
We wanted our clients to benefit from the best of both worlds; receiving reliable, high quality project work, whilst simultaneously being able to pick up the phone and speak to a techie human when they have a query. In order to embrace this dual-purpose for our clients, we knew we had to create watertight processes. Cue the inception of our Helpdesk team!
Now our Helpdesk team is a solid component of Versantus and how we work, we thought it was a great time to write a post highlighting the positive effects the team have on our workflow, and how ultimately this improves our customer experience.
Getting support Done (with a capital ‘D’)
Having a dedicated Helpdesk has meant we get support Done… with a capital ‘D’. With support work scheduled alongside projects, we know we’re not compromising client priorities. Helpdesk project managers keep an eye on all support work whilst, in the support team, we provide swift responses to changing priorities and workloads.
Critical tasks or bugs? Quick turnaround support required? The Helpdesk team can adapt at short notice to react. Rather than scrambling devs, designers and project managers to the scene, work is easily handed over to us.
But what does having a Helpdesk team mean in practise? Here’s how we work in support, and how adopting the same approaches could benefit your organisation.
Letting developers do what they do best: Develop
Clients are happy when their questions are being answered and their projects are moving forward. But when the same developers are required to answer questions and move projects forward, it doesn’t work so well.
As developers, we’re at our most productive when given the time and space to get stuck into a project. For this reason, support work is more efficient when performed by a dedicated team. Jumping between projects and support - especially between different clients - means switching local development environments and ‘headspace’. This is time lost which, in the long run, is money lost. A dedicated support team means us Helpdesk devs can forge a routine through practise and process refinement, so our work is effective, efficient and error-free for whichever client we need to switch to next.
Spread product knowledge
One of the biggest challenges agencies face when development teams and project numbers grow is transfer of knowledge. At what point is it no longer feasible for one person to ‘own’ a project? How do you factor in the time, effort and cost of training another developer instead of just getting the most experienced person to keep doing it all themselves? What happens when the singular project owner is away or otherwise unavailable?
Tricky questions to answer...
We’ve alleviated these issues by transferring and spreading as much knowledge as we can across the Helpdesk team, which fits in naturally with two of our core company values: Learning and Collaboration.
At Versantus we use lots of frameworks and tech, and we have experts in all of them. However, to capitalise on this expertise we also need to pass it on! In the Helpdesk team, we work collaboratively with project developers to solve issues and allow project-specific training to occur. However, as time has passed, this interaction has been required less and less. Knowledge transfer = success!
With all this knowledge, we’re well-equipped to react in the most appropriate way depending on the client and the concern; we know whether we can deal with support autonomously, or when extra help from the wider development team is needed. We think this is the crux of an efficient support team.
Documenting to save time
It’s not enough to simply train up new people; what happens if they are away, or they move on from Versantus themselves (what are they thinking?!)?
What is ideally required is great documentation.
We have extensive internal documentation, and we’re always creating new articles whenever we can. Why figure out the same problem again in a few months' time when you can just look at the notes from the last time it happened? Whilst this may seem obvious, having the time to document these things is often a luxury developers don’t have. By investing in a Helpdesk team, we effectively bought the time required to do this properly - and by our growing catalogue of documentation it has proved to be money well spent.
Helpdesk has been a welcome addition to Versantus: great people doing a great job.
Support work is often overlooked in favour of meatier project work and new clients, but it is critical that development companies - especially growing ones - stay on top of it.
With a dedicated Helpdesk team, we have been able to service our clients even better, and allowed all of our developers to get on with what they are best at: development. So, basically, everyone wins!
Interested in joining our Helpdesk team? Our latest additions to support have been our intern, Andy, and Junior Front-End Developer, Cristiana. However, we’re always on the lookout for digital rockstars, so check out our vacancies and send over your details if you think fixing anything and everything sounds like fun!