Ask the Coach

Repeat Callers

Q. Dear Help Desk Coach:

I manage an active help desk of outstanding engineers. Our main problem with end users is the repetitive calls from people whose issues we’ve already solved, but they keep recreating the same problem. I would estimate at least every engineer on my help desk (18) receives one or more of these frustrating calls every day. How can we make end users more responsible and stop creating the same problem over and over again (or else remember how to fix it themselves).

A. Dear Help Desk Supervisor:

Most help desk professionals feel annoyed at end users who call multiple times with the same issue. Often issues these users call in about can be categorized. Make sure your self support knowledge base includes responses to these questions. Even if your support function does offer self support, there are some end users who will call no matter what. My favorite technique to help educate users on repetitive issues, is to send a follow up email after a support call. Include a link to the answer in the self support knowledge base and provide the user with a written source for problem solving. If your desk doesn’t have self support, ask your engineers to compose answers for the most frequently posed issues by the ‘repeat offenders’ and start a FAQ list, and knowledge base. In addition to providing a link to the solution, your engineers can cut and paste/edit the answers to send to the users. Although emailing a response initially takes more time, it can ultimately cut down on the number of repeat calls. When a user calls (again) about a repeat issue, you can tell the caller you will resend the answer so they will always have quick access to a solution. If the issue is something that user training could resolve, consider creating a tutorial to help end users, or provide a training resource for your user base.