What is the Right-Size for Your Help Desk Services Team?

Help Desk Services Team

Editors Note: This article was originally published on May 8th, 2018 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Do you have a Goldilocks problem with your Help Desk Services Team

Leaner and meaner. Running leaner and meaner isn’t an option in today’s hotly contested marketplaces. It’s a necessity.

For you, that might mean rightsizing your customer service and support center to compete. Right-sizing eliminates wasted resources that have become liabilities and that drain funds you could use elsewhere, such as in sales and marketing.

When done correctly, having the right-size support teams provide the following:

  • Lower costs
  • Improved ticket management and asset management
  • Quick response times and resolve issues faster
  • Increased competitiveness

Most importantly, it positions you to deliver fantastic customer service.

Deliver Excellent Customer Service will increase profits

But deciding on the right resource level for your help center is a challenge. Some information technology companies use ratios based on industry averages to determine what resources they’ll need. For enterprises, for example, the industry average is 70 employees to every help desk technician.

Every Company is Different

Every company is different, so using an industry average may not work for you. It doesn’t work for many other companies. It’s just a guideline. Plus, the more automated tools you have, the fewer support people you’ll need.

Here are some questions you can consider when planning your team size:

1. What is the support team trying to accomplish?
2. What is the best structure for your support team?
3. How many specific and separate roles are necessary to complete the support team goals?
4. How many hours will your support team be available to clients?
5. What the expected average time a support agent will spend with one client?
6. What communication channels will you be using to provide support?

Not having enough technical support staff can hurt your organization big time. For one thing, it cuts productivity and efficiency dramatically. That can impact your company’s production rates and profitability. So, you need to build a strategy for improvement to get right-sizing correct.

Building a Strategy for Improvement

One challenge you face when developing a help desk strategy for improvement is determining where you are. The key to doing that is leveraging help desk data to make informed decisions about resource levels.

Help Desk Data for Services and Teams

Some help centers don’t have a lot of information. Others have too much. You need to find the right amount of data that works for your company.

Some factors to look at to decide where you are with your help center include:

  • Managed help desk call volume — Tracking these numbers gives you an idea of what workload is needed to handle the amount of usage.
  • Time spent on calls — Tracking this time provides deep insight into just how much support is needed to address and resolve technical issues.
  • User downtime — Helps you asses the overall performance of your system. Problems can affect efficiency throughout the chain and eventually cut into the organization’s productivity.
  • Historical information — Tracking this data shows you what trends are occurring, giving you a hard number to use when determining the size of support staff for your organization.

This data helps determine your current situation. That’s something you need to accept before developing a strategy for improvement. Once you accept your current state, you can then decide on what changes you need to make to right-size your help desk services team.

Building a Strategy for Improvement

Below we provide some steps for rightsizing your help desk that you might want to consider when creating your improvement strategy:


The constant barrage of new apps and sophisticated software puts a ton of pressure on IT to address each issue differently. Standardizing on a common on OS, however, offers benefits when rightsizing support.

Standardization also relieves pressure on the help desk to address each issue, makes it easy to develop standardized rules for fixing the problems, and allows help desk, people, to service more machines, which means less effort when it comes to troubleshooting issues.

Plan for spikes in help desk support

It is a common occurrence for your team to receive a spike in inbound calls and support tickets.

An affordable, secure solution for managing these spikes is to use an overflow call center service. This is service provided by a specialized call center that will manage calls you are unable to attend to.

How does it work?

If your team cannot answer a call within a certain period or the call falls outside of business hours, it can automatically be forwarded to a call center where the call is managed.

Diagram explaining the call overflow process for help desks

Restricting administrative control

Restricting control can help reduce the number of help desk people you’ll need to address issues. It also boosts security and makes it difficult for malware to do its work by elevating its privileges and then spreading to other hosts.

Plus, restricting control produces a more stable, predictable, and easier to administer the environment, since it reduces the number of people that can change your OS either intentionally or unintentionally. That in itself could reduce your help desk team’s workload.

Tackle the Top issues First

Once you’ve determined your current state using the metrics above and crafted an improvement strategy, you then need to execute this strategy. Ideally, you want to target no more than three critical issues to resolve at one time.

That simplifies things for you. You’ll have time later on to address other issues that exist. Start by determining how these issues are measured, then outline the new measurements you’ll use to track progress after you resolve the problems.

Distributed support

Having a centralized help desk speeds up the routing of support help to resolve problems, monitor issues, and coordinate other activities effectively. Have distributed support also helps facilitate problem-solving. That, in turn, increases the productivity and efficiency of the help desk’s team members.



Implementing any of these tips can help you right-size your help desk. But to right-size correctly, you need to develop a complete strategy of improvement, then execute it.

Right-sizing can boost the help desk’s productivity and efficiency. That can increase your competitiveness and provide a competitive edge that comes with being leaner and meaner.

In today’s hotly contested marketplaces, running leaner and meaner is not an option. It’s a necessity.