Help Desk Standard Operating Procedures

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Businesses use standard operating procedures to document the steps needed to deliver or complete specific processes or tasks. In help desk terms, SOPs outline how operators should handle customer queries. This allows staff to manage all responses in a structured and uniform way from initial contact to successful resolution.

Initial Contact

Customers call in to the help desk and state the nature of their problem. The front line analyst uses tracking software to collect identifying information such as customer contact details, the nature of the query or complaint and the location of problem equipment. He also notes account/product data such as model numbers, licensing agreement or account numbers, before placing the customer in a queue to the appropriate support center.

Assign Priority

The initial interview assesses and assigns call priority based on criteria that the company has set in place. Priority labels may include enterprise failure, critical situation, regular scheduled service and planned events, for example.

Create Tickets

Customers may have more than one problem, regarding different issues or equipment. Employees write up discrete problem tickets, allowing each issue to move separately on to the appropriate center.


Computer systems that track data provide instant access to technicians who require it. They follow documentation procedures to allow the next technician or manager to see what’s been done on the ticket up to that point.

Problem Solving

The goal of the help desk analyst is to solve the problem to the customer's satisfaction. That entails having a clear understanding of what the customer wants and, occasionally, what she did to find herself in this predicament. SOPs are written to obtain this information. Analysts can then propose solutions. Sometimes this means duplicating the problems for themselves and then working to resolve the issues.

Customer Communication

Customers expect to be reassured that their problems are being solved, not overlooked. Company protocols are typically set up to require analysts to call their customers at regular intervals to touch base with them about their concerns. They document any communication with a customer.

Problem Escalation

Procedures facilitate moving problems to more advanced and experienced teams when initial help levels cannot resolve them quickly. Some companies have two or three levels of technicians to solve problems in particular technical areas.


About the Author

Erin Moseley is an advocate for science education. Since 1985, she has written numerous technical, user and training manuals for major corporations, public agencies and universities. She holds a Bachelor of Science in geology.

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