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How It Works

Team Helpdesk makes working on support requests very easy by seamlessly integrating the process of submitting, assigning, tracking and fulfilling support requests inside Microsoft Outlook and SharePoint!

Team Helpdesk consists of two separate installs managerial and client:


The managerial install is for helpdesk administrator who would configure and maintain the Team Helpdesk folders, drop down lists, templates, FAQs and other helpdesk settings.


The client install is for the technicians to enable them to work on support cases in Outlook with the configured Team Helpdesk folders.

NOTE: Each of this tool is installed on individual computer as an extension to Microsoft Outlook and only relies on Microsoft Outlook for the front-end and your exchange server and SharePoint, as the back-ends.


Step 1. Manager creates a settings database
After the managerial tool is installed, helpdesk administrator will be given a choice of database options where all the settings, templates and other helpdesk data will be stored centrally. Database options include Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Access, Microsoft SharePoint, SQL Server, Microsoft Azure (cloud SQL server).


Step 2. Manager configures helpdesk settings and drop downs
Helpdesk administrator defines drop-down lists such as technicians, callers, problems, assets, as well as emails and SMS templates, predefined replies, messaging options, web access etc. With these global settings, manager can streamline the behavior on how all technicians work on support cases in Outlook.

Administrator can also set the manager add-in to monitor any number of mailboxes and email folders, for automatic processing of incoming emails to support cases. This process cuts the overhead of manually generating support cases from emails, thus diverting valuable human resources to resolving the case. 


Step 3. Manager maps helpdesk fields from Outlook to SharePoint
The next step is for the helpdesk manager to configure a SharePoint list to be used as for storing copies of support cases that were generated in the 'Ongoing Cases' subfolder of Team Helpdesk in Outlook. New fields in the SharePoint list can be automatically created to match the data type and title of the Outlook helpdesk fields.

If the particular mapped field takes a drop down list in Outlook such as Problem Category, Problem Type, Status, Callers Name etc, the same drop down list values would be available in the configured list automatically. Over time, as manager make changes to the drop down lists in Outlook, Team Helpdesk would automatically update the values in SharePoint too.


Step 4: Technician installs Agent add-in portion of Team Helpdesk
The Agent tool consists of an Outlook add-in that has all the logic and functionalities of the helpdesk application. Each technician of the helpdesk who would work on support cases needs to install the Team Helpdesk Agent tool.


After a successful install, you will see that additional menus, toolbars or ribbons are added in the explorer and inspector windows of Microsoft Outlook.

(Note: Apart from the managerial tool, helpdesk administrators also need to install the client tool if they have to work on support cases themselves).


Step 5. Caller submits support request via email, webform or phone call
An end-user experiencing technical challenges can self-service the answer to their problem by accessing the web-based knowledge base (through the Team Helpdesk Customer Web Service site).


If a solution is not found, the end-user requests for support by sending an email, by making a phone call or simply, by filling a web form. These support requests are then logged and converted to cases in Outlook.


Further details and drop-down lists (such as the classification of problems the request falls into) can then be set, by a supervisor or manager.


Step 6. Assign technicians to the case
Typically, a manager or senior technician assigns the best technicians to the case for fulfillment of the service and speedy resolution. Furthermore, in the helpdesk settings, administrator can link and associate individual technician to a caller, or to a problem type such that when a new support request email is received, if there is a match between technician and the caller (read as sender), or if a problem type is found in the email subject, the associated technician will get assigned automatically to the case.

Assigned technicians then get notified through an automated email or SMS. Optionally, the due date of the case is entered into the personal calendar of the technicians' mailbox.


Step 7. Technicians collaborate to resolve the case
The assigned technician then proceeds to fulfill and resolve the case, either in Outlook or via Technician Web Access (TWA). Helpdesk manager may enforce a Service Level Agreement (SLA), set due date and other deliverables on the particular case for the assigned technicians, for quality check purposes. Further correspondence to the caller might follow (in the form of emails, SMS, phone calls). All activities related to the case are logged and technician can fill time spent and assign additional technician if needed. Relevant asset information and fixes related to the case can be accessed and tracked right from the case form itself.
Step 8. Caller follows-up via email
The caller then can escalate, withdraw, reopen or simply track the history of their support cases online with Caller Web Access (CWA).


Alternatively, caller can reply back to email from the helpdesk and the response automatically triggers an escalation on that particular support case. If a response from the caller on an existing case is received, the concerned technicians are notified automatically. If the case has been resolved, Team Helpdesk automatically re-opens and marks it as an ongoing case.


Step 9. Technician closes case after providing a resolution
Certain pre-defined Outlook views can be used to track the progress of cases. Once every parameter of the caller's request has been fulfilled, a case be is closed. The closed case is then moved to the Resolved Cases folder. At the same time, the caller gets notified automatically on the closure of the case.



Step 10. Technician adds resolution to knowledge base
A closed case can be a good source of future reference and technician can create a new knowledge base entry based on the case. It is then available in the list of articles under the integrated knowledge base, categorized and sorted, ready for your technicians to draw from when similar issues arise. Helpdesk administrator can publish these articles on to the Customer Web Service site for providing first level support to potential support requests from end-users.


Step 11. Manager generates statistical and trend reports
To identify problem areas and increase helpdesk efficiency, senior management runs the statistical tool from time to time, collecting valuable intelligence and trends and generating meaningful reports.


For day to day knowledge of the helpdesk, they can generate summary reports to get appraisal on the current happenings on the helpdesk and track recent cases generated, worked, closed or reopened.

Step 12. Manager archives old cases to database or PST
Over time, the Team Helpdesk folders (in Exchange) will be accumulated with support cases mostly resolved ones. Helpdesk managers can either archive the old case items to a PST file or can export the case data to an external database such as Oracle, SQL or Access. Archiving periodically keeps the exchange folder from getting too big and unwieldy, which could cause Exchange/Microsoft Outlook performance to slow down.

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