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Helpdesk Software in Education – What can it do for you?

Written by on October 16, 2018

While a student juggles many roles in a university, the institutions that they attend are infinitely complex machines with assets, academic services, administrative functions, requests and other activities, that need to function like clockwork. Handling these assets, services etc. is neither easy nor does it come cheap, which is why institutes need to exercise special care while managing them.

Why use a helpdesk?

The importance of IT in education cannot be understated. From ad hoc requests to dealing with impatient millennials, the job of an IT agent in an educational institute is not easy. After a point, the volume of requests, complains, password resets, and inquiries get so overwhelming that email and spreadsheets are not enough to keep up. Knowledge, services, and information is fragmented. This is where a helpdesk software comes into play. It is a place where data is consolidated and everyone, including the IT agents, faculty/staff members, students, etc. can find the information they are looking for, instantly, anytime. The helpdesk becomes the single source of truth for all parties involved.

 

What can a helpdesk do for you?

Single source of truth:

  • A helpdesk enables a uniform dissemination of information. It allows access to resources to all students and staff members at all times of the day, whether educational or otherwise.
  • Any announcements can be immediately communicated to all involved personnel by updating the announcements section and sending out an email blast. More granular requirements can also be taken care of by having custom lists that can be immediately communicated with.
  • Tickets can be tracked and prioritized according to their impact and urgency and resolved accordingly.
  • With a helpdesk, the communication is not just one way; you can also ask the recipients for their satisfaction with the service provided with a CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) survey attached to the communication. This can help you gain insight into how your team is performing and whether the end users are satisfied with the service or not.

Advanced Reporting:

  • Reporting and analytics play an important role in decision making by providing key insights into the services being provided.
  • Reporting can help increase customer satisfaction by ensuring that agents are not just performing their duties but are concerned about the experience provided as well.
  • Reporting can ensure a fair assignment of tickets among agents. It can also highlight which agent has solved the most tickets and other such insights.

Improved User Experience:

  • A helpdesk provides an always present source of information that can be accessed by anyone.
  • It helps to ease students’ lives by providing them with a singular source that they can approach for any queries and to get help.
  • It creates a conducive environment for agents solving users’ issues by giving them one place to address all user issues.

Consolidated Services:

  • A helpdesk acts as a singular source of service provision. All requests are present in one place, that makes it easy for the institute to keep track.
  • A helpdesk brings fragmented services together, hence making the users’ lives easier.

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Use Cases:

Can Asset Management save money for institutes?

An educational institute manages a lot of assets. From projectors, laptops, software, routers, servers to chairs, desks and even books, these are all assets that are owned and managed by the institute. It is simply not feasible to keep track of, manage, and maintain all these assets using sticky notes, emails or spreadsheets. There are many factors that come into play, including keeping track of contracts, tracking the lifecycle of an asset, adding new assets, and retiring old ones. The tracking, upkeep, and general management of assets is called Asset Management. A helpdesk should have asset management baked into it, as it is an integral part of running an institution. The financial effects of executing asset management efficiently are noticeable and are significant in the long run. With managing assets comes the headache of managing contracts of those assets with various vendors. Ideally, contract management should come embedded into the asset management module of your helpdesk.

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Asset Management allows you to manage your assets throughout the asset lifecycle while allowing you to tie your assets to contracts to make tracking even easier. The asset relationship map gives you a visual representation of how your assets are connected to each other, where contingencies and dependencies are present, allowing you to add, remove or modify assets without breaking anything. Assets can be auto-discovered by a discovery probe that periodically scans your network for connected devices and adds them, along with their related information.

How to leverage a Service Catalog for admissions?

When a new student or faculty member joins, they require a variety of services like dorm allocation, email, calendar, ID cards, computers, software or other academic or educational services. A service catalog is a page where they can pick and choose the services they require, according to their eligibility and then request them. The availability of these services can be tied to an approval process to prevent unauthorized usage.

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The service catalog can also be used to loan out assets, provide services, for example, a student requires an iPad while attending a conference, they can visit the relevant section of the service catalog and request for the asset for a certain period of time. For that time, the asset will be unavailable to other requesters. The loaning of assets can be tied to an approval process in the back, which will prevent unauthorized asset usage.

 

How can Self-Service help students?

The millennial generation does not like being told what to do. Rather, they like to educate themselves on how to do something and get their own hands dirty. This is why self-service is just the thing an educational institution needs present in their helpdesk, to empower the users in finding the solution to their own problems and implementing them on their own, without any external help. An example of this would be: A Knowledge Base article that teaches the user how to reset a printer in case of a paper jam and get it working again. This saves the agents’ time, that can be better used in servicing other requests, solving greater issues or writing knowledge articles. A self-service portal with a smart article suggester built into it ensures that the user can help themselves to as much extent as possible before they submit a ticket that needs agent resolution.

 

Do you need Mobility? Yes, you do.

University students already have enough on their plates; pursuing higher education is hard as it is. Having to visit a support portal to seek help will just add to their unwillingness to adopt a helpdesk. This is why, instead of calling them where you are, you should go where they are. To do this, interaction over a mobile platform is imperative, so that help can be accessed anywhere, anytime, and on-the-go. This would entail, ideally, that the helpdesk is readily accessible through a mobile app, or at the very least, through other internal communication tools, like Slack or Google Hangouts.

A helpdesk mobile app allows you to get to where the helpdesk is needed the most, in the hands of the students. Providing the helpdesk where it is needed the most is the way to proactively address the issue of adoption without having to run multiple campaigns and forcing the adoption of your helpdesk. Native integrations with Google Suite of Apps, Slack, Skype, Zoom, and TeamViewer mean the helpdesk can be present wherever the users are, even Email, allowing your helpdesk to be even easier to reach.

 

Can Automation help your school?

Most of the times, the issues reported to the IT department of an educational institute are mundane requests like password resets. This occupies the IT agents’ valuable time with little return on the effort made. For these kinds of queries/requests, your helpdesk can send an automated/canned response to prevent these requests from occupying the IT agents’ time. These automated responses can be preconfigured to deliver certain instruction on detection of certain keywords or they can be sent with solution articles from the helpdesk’s knowledge base.

This can be useful during peak seasons to filter out the important tickets, for example, tickets regarding financial payment gateway issues, by deflecting lower level tickets to solution articles.

 

What Good is Reporting to a University?

A good helpdesk will allow for reporting on the various tasks being performed through the helpdesk. The reporting should allow for customized reports to be created and exported to various formats and/or sent to your inbox. This can facilitate better decision making and allow for greater insight into where improvements can be made. With the reporting feature in your helpdesk, you can have granular reports, delivered to your inbox, enabling you to keep track of helpdesk productivity and making better decisions. Various metrics can be measured with the dashboards present in your helpdesk. These dashboards can be used to see the live status of the helpdesk as well as to provide a bird’s eye view.

Read how a group of education institutes went from having no performance insights and inefficient performances to clarity about their processes and fair, identical service quality across their academies after a helpdesk adoption.

 

The Freshservice Advantage

Freshservice is an affordable, easy-to-setup, and easy-to-use ITSM software. What that means is, Freshservice is a Single Point of Contact that can be used for managing your requests, services, complaints, knowledge, resources, assets, and much more. Any communication from the institution to the faculty, students, vice-versa or otherwise, can be managed through Freshservice. 

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Cover Image by Nidhi Shah

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